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Rowing fundraiser honors student killed, athletes injured in Vero Beach crash

Posted at 6:03 AM, Feb 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-07 21:36:22-05

VERO BEACH, Fla. — The Vero Beach community is coming together to support an out-of-state rowing team involved in a deadly crash last month.

The College of the Holy Cross Women’s Rowing Team from Massachusetts was in town for training when the crash happened.

RELATED: Holy Cross Women's Rowing Team member dead after truck, van collide in Vero Beach

A 20-year-old student, Grace Rett, died in the tragic crash. She held a world record for rowing 62 hours straight on an indoor rowing machine.

A fundraiser that started Friday morning is honoring Rett's life and legacy by having participants row for a total of 61 hours. Participants are each rowing an hour to meet the goal.

You can sign up to participate here.

Stuart McSorley was first to take on the rower at 6 a.m. Friday morning.

"This machine is relentless, as anybody who’s rowed will tell you how hard it is," said McSorley. "It's just you, the machine, and the screen. There’s nothing else.

McSorley powered through 60 minutes of rowing, knowing Grace took on so much more.

"It is very much a mental thing, makes you think of Grace as well," said McSorley. "Maybe through her memory a lot of people will learn to row."

Rett was killed and several of her teammates and coach were injured in the January crash.

Police say the coach, who was driving the team’s van, turned into the path of an oncoming car. Everyone injured in the crash is now out of the hospital.

The fundraiser will support ongoing medical costs for the team members as well as Grace Rett’s family. It will also support efforts to set up a memorial scholarship fund in her name at her school.

The rowing fundraiser will continue until 7 p.m. Sunday.