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Virginia Tech wrestler Darren Hankins dies in drowning accident

Late Virginia Tech wrestler Darren Hankins in action, and in tribute image from Hokies wrestling website
Late Virginia Tech wrestler Darren Hankins in action, and in tribute image from Hokies wrestling website
Both photos courtesy of Virginia Tech, used with permission

Darren Hankins, a Virginia Tech wrestler, died in a drowning accident in a quarry outside Blacksburg, Va. Wednesday night, according to the official Hokies wrestling website. He was 21.

The Chesapeake, Va. native drowned while swimming on private property in a water-filled rock quarry off of Lusters Gate Road in Montgomery County.

The Blacksburg Volunteer Rescue Squad was dispatched at 6:31 p.m. Upon the squad’s arrival there was no activity on the water, said Blacksburg Volunteer Rescue Squad public information officer Chelsey Williams

Williams said that a dive team recovered Hankin’s body around 7:30 p.m. and determined he was deceased, reported the “Collegiate Times.” The Virginia Tech student paper went on to say that Hankins had been submerged for a minute and a half when the call came in, according to a release from the Blacksburg Volunteer Rescue Squad.

“Darren Hankins was very special to our wrestling program and our entire athletic department,” head coach Kevin Dresser said. “As a father and as his coach, this is something that we would hope no family would have to go through. Our hearts and prayers go out to the Hankins family at this time. Darren was a wonderful young man. Virginia Tech Wrestling was a better place because of Darren Hankins.”

Virginia Tech Director of Athletics Whit Babcock also offered support to the family and the Hokie wrestling team.

“The Virginia Tech Athletics family suffered a great tragedy this evening,” Babcock said. “Darren was a wonderful representative of the wrestling team and of this university. Our hearts go out to his family, our Virginia Tech family, and his countless friends during this difficult time.”

Hankins, a junior, had not competed during the 2013-14 season after having knee surgery. In 2012-13, he was 14-13, scoring two major decisions, two technical falls, and one pin. As a freshman in 2011-12, Hankins was 4-9.

At Hickory High School in Chesapeake, Hankins was the Group AAA state runner-up at 215 pounds in his senior year. He finished fourth in the nation at the high school nationals.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.