Memorial Run pays tribute to beloved wrestling coach
Coming together, running together, helps wrestlers grieve
TINA L. SCOTT
Tristan Brewington is a Merrill High School Junior and a three-year member of the Bluejay Varsity Wrestling Team. He was Team Captain this past year. When he learned Assistant Wrestling Coach Jered Severt had died in a tragic tractor accident on April 19, to say he was shocked would be an understatement. “I was in so much shock I didn’t know how to feel,” Tristan said. “As soon as I could, I called my ma and told her, and we both were just in shock. It just seemed so unreal. I just wish I could have spent one more practice with him.”
At a loss and grieving, Tristan looked for a way to process that grief. Then he had an idea: A Memorial Run/Walk for the Merrill Wrestling Team and anyone else who wanted to come out and run with them to honor and remember a man who gave so much to so many.
“My intention and what I hoped to achieve, was just to give Coach Severt the honor and respect that he deserved,” Tristan said. “He gave so much of his time to wrestling and helping kids. I just wanted to do something in his memory.”
Tristan said his Wrestling Team members felt the same way he did: “Just utterly shocked and willing to do anything for him.”
So after he got the idea, “I talked in a group chat to some of my buddies, and we figured out some details for the run, but then I used our Facebook group for wrestling to spread the news.” It was organized quickly and spontaneously.
On Saturday, April 24, it all came together. Tristan posted a message to Facebook that outlined the impromptu plan and set the Walk/Run for 2:00 p.m. the following day, and encouraged his fellow wrestlers, and anyone else who wanted to come, to join them. “If possible, wear a blue Merrill wrestling shirt,” Tristan’s post said, and it ended with: “Rain or shine, he would do the same for us.”
Sunday, April 25, was a beautiful day. “We had about 15 wrestlers that ran,” Tristan said. “In total there were around 30 people that showed up, either to run/walk or just support everyone.”
“We broke it down into groups,” he said. “We ran 46 laps around the track (11 1/2 miles) for how old he currently was. And we all ran a final lap together as a team.”
Christy Krzanowski Brewington, Tristan’s mom, was there to support her son and the other wrestlers at the Memorial Run/Walk and was happy to see the crowd that had gathered. She thinks her son and the other wrestlers did her, and Coach Severt, proud. It was very emotional, she said. “The amount of support and love from this community (and everyone who knew him) … brought tears to my eyes several times.”
While Coach Severt most recently helped coach the high school wrestlers, “He also helped coach the younger teams, Jr Jays, and K Jays for as long as Tristan has been in wrestling, which is since kindergarten,” Christy said. “And my daughter loved him. He helped her in wrestling several times when she wasn’t understanding certain moves. That’s the ‘kind’ of person that he was! He would always take that extra time with the kids that needed help.”
Tristan agrees. “He was a coach for everyone there,” he said
“I organized this run because Coach Severt did a lot for the team. He would always help those who struggled. He always had a positive attitude. And he was always willing to help with anything he was asked to do and beyond,” Tristan said. “I feel that he was a great coach, dedicated to wrestling and kids, never wanted to us quit, and always told us ‘Never settle with good enough.’”
While Tristan doesn’t believe anyone from the Severt family was able to attend the Memorial Walk/Run, they did thank him for organizing the run at Coach Severt’s service.
“The run definitely helped; it showed me the community we have, and how much we support one another …” he said. And although Coach Severt’s family members were not able to be there on short notice, “… The wrestling family was there, because anyone on the Merrill Wrestling Team is always family to us,” he said.