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Seton Hill lacrosse coach's loving nature cherished during funeral

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Saturday, March 23, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

BALTIMORE — Many mourners wore crimson and gold scarves, ties or ribbons pinned to jacket lapels and blouses as a nod to the women's lacrosse team that Kristina Quigley loved to coach. They exchanged handshakes, tissues and tight, lingering hugs.

Quigley was remembered Friday as a deeply caring woman of faith who adored her job as head coach of the Seton Hill University team.

More than 400 people packed Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church to standing room-only for a funeral Mass for Quigley, 30, and her unborn son, Jackson, who were killed March 16 in a bus crash along the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

“Her love was unstoppable. Everybody she looked at, she cared about,” said Nick Trionfo, one of Quigley's brothers, in his eulogy.

“This past week has been unbearable and astonishing at the same time,” Trionfo said, noting that people across the nation have reacted with the empathy that Quigley would feel in such a tragedy.

People have offered support in photos posted to a Facebook page, “Play 4 Seton Hill,” that shows lacrosse players around the country donning crimson and gold ribbons — the Griffins' team colors — and in the more than $57,000 donated to a scholarship fund for Quigley's husband, Glenn, and their 2½-year-old son, Gavin.

The Rev. Richard Poetzel, an associate pastor at Our Lady of Fatima, is Glenn Quigley's cousin. Poetzel told mourners he officiated at Kristie and Glenn's wedding in August 2008 and baptized Gavin in 2010.

“Today, when we come (together), it's a very sad occasion, a very difficult occasion,” he said. “We have questions. Why did this happen? Why would this happen?”

Poetzel said he found out about the crash last Saturday on the national news.

“I was surprised and shocked when they put up the photo of Kristie,” Poetzel said. “Kristie let her light shine in her love for the cross, in her love for Glenn and Gavin.”

Seton Hill lacrosse players, some with bandages still covering cuts and scrapes, entered the church together wearing their white lacrosse jerseys under black jackets.

The team draped their crimson jerseys over the front pew.

“My sister loved all her players so much. She talked about you girls all the time,” Trionfo said to the team. “We all said how lucky she was to do something she loved to do.”

Quigley, a Baltimore native and Duquesne University graduate, was in her second season as head women's lacrosse coach at Seton Hill.

She was traveling with the team to a match against Millersville University when their Mlaker Charter & Tours bus veered off the roadway around 8:50 a.m., one mile east of the Carlisle interchange, police said.

Bus driver Anthony Guaetta, 61, of Johnstown, a graduate of St. Vincent College, also died in the crash.

Freshman Amanda Michalski of Coon Rapids, Minn., remains in Penn State Hershey Medical Center. She is in good condition.

Before the final funeral prayer, a special song was sung for Quigley that moved many in attendance to tears as the final lines were sung:

“May your heart always be joyful. … May you stay forever young.”

Kari Andren is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2856 or kandren@tribweb.com.

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