It is hard to imagine a more difficult 24 hours for the Winona State football team.
The Warriors are grieving the loss of a teammate: lineman Shawn Afryl.
The 22-year-old, who died Monday night in a voluntary workout, was an offensive lineman at Illinois. He transferred to Winona State two months ago to become a defensive lineman. The Warriors coaching staff expected big things of him.
"He was working extremely hard with our guys and we had some very high expectations for him," said WSU Associate Head Coach Cameron Keller.
Keller said the team held a meeting Monday night. They're taking it hard. The number one priority, therefore, is to help everyone cope, overcome and move forward.
"We'll try to do everything we can to make the grieving process as smooth as possible for our players. That's the most important thing for us right now, is to make sure that Shawn's family gets shown the amount of support that they're deserving of and to make sure that our players are allowed to grieve properly and we give them all the resources that are at our disposal to make sure that they heal in the way that's best for them."
Keller said grief counselors met with the players that were at Monday's practice.
There are no immediate plans to honor Afryl, Keller said. However, as he pointed out, it is certainly motivation.