HURST – A North Texas cycling community is mourning the death of a young college athlete.
Megan Baab, 19, of Hurst was killed Thursday afternoon after a truck hit her while on a training ride in rural North Carolina.
“He hit her head on,” said her father, Chris Baab. “It was devastating.”
He said the driver was a fellow college student who fell asleep and crossed the center line. Local reports say the driver, Mitchell Epley, was charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle.
After graduating from Hurst’s L.D. Bell High School, Baab was about to finish her first semester at Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, North Carolina, 120 miles north of Charlotte.
The young student was a freshman attending the college on a cycling scholarship.
“We all remember Megan as a bright and bubbly member of our campus community,” said college president Barry Buxton in a statement.
Baab was a member of her college cycling team, often training for hours a day, everyday. Her school reports she competed on the national level at the USA Cycling National Championship.
“Cycling is in her blood,” her father said, himself an avid cyclist. “She loved the thrill of riding and having that wind in her hair.”
Before leaving for school, she was a fixture in the Hurst cycling community. She rode with Team Bicycles Inc. out of Hurst for at least five years, where she was known as an aggressive athlete who could hold her own against the male riders.
“She was always out there setting an example,” said her friend James Ryan, 15, who rode with her in the Texas High School Cycling League. “For me personally, she was usually what I set my sight on.”
Her father say she had just made Team Kenda, a professional female cycling team that travels the country to compete in races.
“She was on a trajectory where anything was possible,” said Andrew Armstrong, director of the Texas High School Cycling League.
Friends and family are planning a memorial ride in Megan Baab’s honor at 10 a.m. on Sunday at the Hurst location of Team Bicycles Inc.