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South Dakota State University cross country and track and field student-athlete Phillip LaVallee died Thursday afternoon in a car-pedestrian accident near Otsego, Minn.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Phillip's family, his teammates and coaches during this very difficult time," said Justin Sell, director of athletics. “He was a model student-athlete and a great teammate to everyone in our cross country and track and field programs. He loved being a Jackrabbit and the entire SDSU community shares in this tragic loss."

LaVallee was training for his sophomore season and was expected to be a key contributor this fall for the Jackrabbit cross country team. During his freshman season, LaVallee finished 15th overall at the 2012 Summit League Championships in helping SDSU claim the team title for the third time in four years. He also finished fifth in the 800-meter run at both the league indoor and outdoor track and field championships.

He also was honored as a Summit League Distinguished Scholar and was named to the Summit League Honor Roll for academics while majoring in civil engineering.

The incident remains under investigation by the Wright County Sheriff’s Office and the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office.

Mass of Christian Burial is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at St. Henry Catholic Church in Monticello, Minn. Visitation is from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the the church and again one hour prior to Mass on Wednesday. Peterson-Grimsmo Funeral Chapel in Monticello is handling arrangements.


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