Sarah Shulze: Tribute for the UW-Madison Track Star

sarah shulze

LinkedIn/UW Sarah Shulze

Sarah Shulze was a University of Wisconsin-Madison track student-athlete whose family has created a website to remember her life.

How did Shulze die? What was her cause of death? The family says on a website devoted to support the causes important to Shulze that she took her own life. You can read Shulze’s obituary here.

On April 22, 2022, the family wrote on its website, “The Shulze Family is proud to announce that we have set up the Sarah Shulze Foundation to continue to support the causes most important to our Sarah.”

“The Sarah Shulze Foundation will seek to advance and support Women’s Rights, Student Athletes and Mental Health,” they added. “It is our wish that in lieu of flowers, family and friends offer support to the Foundation, in various ways, in the weeks and months ahead.”

Earlier this year, another student-athlete, Stanford soccer player Katie Meyer, died of suicide, with her death also highlighting concerns about the mental health of college athletes.

Morgan’s Message, a nonprofit organization devoted to student-athlete mental health, wrote:

Morgan’s Message is sending love to Sarah Schulze’s family, the Wisconsin community and all the individuals who knew and loved her fiercely. 🦋 We are equal parts saddened, heartbroken, and frustrated to be sharing a third tribute in a little over a month to honor the life of another beautiful athlete that died by suicide. Enough is enough. Something needs to change, and it needs to change now. We’ve said it before and we will say it again. The mental health crisis among student athletes is a pandemic on its own. One that we are able to impact positively through continued education, awareness and support from loved ones.”

Although the page spelled her name Schulze, Sarah’s last name was spelled Shulze. Morgan’s Message shared a list of names of other student-athletes from around the country who have died.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Calling Her a ‘Power for Good in the World,’ the Family Says Balancing ‘Athletics, Academics & the Demands of Every Day Life’ Overwhelmed Shulze in a ‘Single, Desperate Moment’

In an April 15, 2022, statement posted to its website, the family wrote, “We suddenly and tragically lost our dear Sarah on Wednesday, April 13. She was surrounded by her loving family.”

They revealed, “Sarah took her own life. Balancing athletics, academics and the demands of every day life overwhelmed her in a single, desperate moment. Like you, we are shocked and grief stricken while holding on tightly to all that Sarah was.”

The family noted:

Above all other things, Sarah was a power for good in the world. Her deep compassion was evident in her devotion to her sisters Abbey and Ella, the love her parents felt from her every single day, and the extra care she took in moments shared with her grandparents and cousins. Her service to her community started at a young age through the National Charity League. Sarah was a member of the Oak Park High School Class of 2019 and served her high school’s student body as a member of the ASB for four years.

2. Shulze Was Remembered for Her Adventures & Athletic Talents

According to the family’s statement, Sarah “was a deeply committed friend that could be counted on to take on any and every adventure on a moment’s notice. Some of Sarah’s favorite adventures were trips to Europe, Africa, Alaska and other parts of the U.S., all shared with family and friends.”

The family’s statement continued:

Anyone who knew Sarah knew that her lifelong passions extended beyond family and friends to the track. She began to make her mark as an athlete on her high school track and cross-country teams, competing throughout the country in National and State events. Her devotion and incredible talent for running would culminate in a scholarship opportunity to race for the University of Wisconsin at Madison, an ongoing source of pride for Sarah as she entered her third season with the team.

She was also a member of the Student Athlete Council at UW Madison. During her time in Wisconsin, Sarah loved her internship at the Wisconsin state legislature and volunteered as a poll worker during our last Presidential election. These experiences helped develop her deep love for politics, social causes and women’s rights.

Sarah regarded herself as a champion for all women, as did the many family members, friends, students and athletes who surrounded her.

Sarah’s legacy of compassion will continue as she and her family prepare for the donation of her organs on this Good Friday. The Shulze family will also soon announce a foundation that will be established to continue to support the causes most important to Sarah.

3. The Wisconsin Badgers Said the Wisconsin Athletic Community Is ‘Heartbroken’ by the Death of Shulze, a Junior on the Women’s Track & Field & Cross Country Teams

The Wisconsin Badgers wrote in a statement that the Wisconsin Athletics Community is “heartbroken by the unexpected passing of Sarah Shulze, a junior with the Badger women’s track and field and cross country teams.”

The Badgers continued:

Sarah was a beloved daughter, sister, granddaughter, friend, teammate and Badger student-athlete. We extend our deepest sympathies and sincere condolences to Sarah’s family, friends and Badger teammates during this extraordinarily difficult time. Our primary focus is the support of the Shulze family and our student-athletes.

4. Services for Shulze Were Held in California & at the Student Union

The family declared in a statement on the website, “We are overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and support for Sarah and our family. Thank you to our friends and family that have reached out to help during this difficult time.”

Services for Shulze were held on April 24, 2022, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Memorial Union on Madison’s campus. Services will be held for Shulze in California on May 2.

In high school in Oak Park, California, she helped organize the prom, was a student leader and was a stand-out athlete, according to Yahoo.

5. Shulze Worked as an Intern for the Wisconsin Legislature & as an Election Poll Worker

According to Channel 3000, Shulze was from California and earned “academic all-Big Ten honors in 2020 and 2021 for cross country and in 2021 for track.”

Shulze’s obituary notes, “She was also a member of the Student Athlete Council at UW Madison. During her time in Wisconsin, Sarah loved her internship at the Wisconsin state legislature and volunteered as a poll worker during our last Presidential election. These experiences helped develop her deep love for politics, social causes and women’s rights.”

According to her LinkedIn page, Shulze worked as a legislative intern for Wisconsin State Sen. Chris Larson from October 2020 to May 2021, managing “constituent responses, outreach and casework.” She also “worked closely on policy research, creation, and analysis.”

She was also a camp counselor at the UW-Athletics summer camps in 2019.

She was studying political science and seeking a certificate in Business, and she was a member of UW-Madison’s student-athlete advisory committee. She received a presidential service award for volunteerism.

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