The untimely deaths on Dec. 27 of Discovery Canyon High School juniors Kaden Currier and Avory Kvale, both 17, sent shockwaves through the Thunder community. Emotions ranged from disbelief to sadness.
Currier was a former long-time wrestler for the school, Kvale was a varsity basketball player, and the two were dating at the time they were killed off Highway 105 just outside of Monument.
Currier’s former teammates have bonded in their time of grief.
“It’s helped by getting together with friends,” said junior Tanner Sukle. “Laughing together and crying together and sharing stories. Being around people that are feeling the same way we’re all feeling has really helped me. I know it’s helped a lot of others, too. You can talk about things with them.”
Many of Currier’s former teammates have gathered several times at a memorial near the crash site. They’ve left flowers and stuffed animals while remembering their late classmates.
The crash site is less than a mile from the Currier family home.
“This is super important that we remember Kaden and Avory the way we do because it shows the Curriers and Kvales that they have a whole community behind them,” said junior Colton Hittle, who plans to honor Currier by putting his initials on his wrestling shoes. “We’re here for them no matter what, and we’re willing to drop what we’re doing to come and help them with whatever they need.”
Hittle added that it’s important nobody feels they are alone in their grief.
“I know teenagers don’t like to talk about their feelings much, but everybody needs somebody during this hard time,” he said.
To those wrestlers closest to Currier, they are dedicating this season to him by setting a goal of improving as much as they can.
“We all want to do something amazing, like go place at state or win a state title,” said sophomore Dylan Ruane. “This can give us the energy to be able to be better teammates to each other because we’re all going through our own things right now. As a team, we’re all here to help each other out. We’re a strong family and we all want to push hard to make each other better.”
Currier was a long-time member of the Thunder wrestling program, dating back to his days in elementary school. But a series of shoulder injuries and surgeries ended his career in October when he was no longer able to perform at the high level he was accustomed.
“Kaden had to retire due to shoulder complications,” said Discovery Canyon coach Marques Bravo. “But he was always welcome in the wrestling room. He was always stopping by to work with guys on technique or to give the guys an encouraging word.”
Discovery Canyon senior Patrick Allis is trying to get team warm up t-shirts printed that would honor Kaden and Avory.
“We want to commemorate them and have a sense of having them with us at our tournaments,” said Allis, who won the Class 4A state championship last year at 120 pounds. “It would give us another reason to wrestle hard and remind us how grateful we are to have what we have.”
Sophomore Jett Strickenberger said he fondly remembers the close relationship Kaden and Avory had with each other.
“They were never not with each other,” Strickenberger said. “I didn’t know Avory that well, except that she was one of the nicest people I ever met. And Kaden, I grew up with that guy. I’m going to miss him so much.”
Kaden’s sister, Chloe, is a freshman point guard on the Discovery Canyon girls’ varsity basketball team. Many Thunder wrestlers have vowed to make sure Chloe is cared for in a special way.
“Kaden used to always walk her to class,” Ruane said. “As a team, if any of us spot Chloe we can fill that role and walk her to class.”
Added Sukle: “I can’t imagine what she’s going through. I know she can always come to me with whatever she needs.”
Celebration of life services took place last week for Kaden and Avory. Classes at Discovery Canyon resume Wednesday.
Bravo said the wrestling team cancelled its tournament in Dodge City, Kan., that was set for Sunday. The team’s next meet is Wednesday at Mesa Ridge.