November 27, 2000

Freshman Wrestler Dies on Saturday

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At approximately 5 p.m. on Saturday, Graham B. Morin ’04, a student in the College of Art, Architecture and Planning and an up-and-coming member of the Cornell varsity wrestling team, was pronounced dead at Cayuga Medical Center. He was 19.

The preliminary cause of death according to the Tompkins County Medical Examiner’s office was a cardiac abnormality. During a pause in wrestling practice, Morin was struck with apparent chest pains. The wrestling team had conducted a light practice Saturday afternoon, after a two-day respite for the Thanksgiving holiday.

“You could hardly call it a practice. All we did were some light drills and then worked on technique,” head wrestling coach Rob Koll said. “But during a water break, Graham sat down and was struggling.”

As Morin continued to struggle, an emergency call was placed. He eventually lost consciousness before the arrival of medical technicians, who came to the scene within six minutes of the emergency call, said Sharon Dittman, associate director of community relations with Gannett Medical Center. Morin was then rushed to Cayuga Medical Center.

“He was in cardiac arrest when they brought him here,” said Regina Cook, a health supervisor at Cayuga Medical Center who was present when Morin’s ambulance arrived. “The EMTs were attempting to rescusitate him at the time.”

Morin was pronounced dead soon after arrival.

“There’s not a whole lot of information at this point,” said Linda Grace-Kobas, director of Cornell News Service. “The likely cause [of death] seems to be a heart abnormality, but it may be a few days before the final report comes out [from the Tompkins County medical examiner].”

Morin, a native of Bellingham, Wash., came to Cornell with an already distinguished wrestling career. He was a Washington state champion for three straight years, and was named a national All-American twice during high school.

“Graham came here as one of the top kids in the country, a really exciting recruit,” Koll said. “He was a great student and loved the University, both academically and athletically.”

In a news release, President Hunter R. Rawlings III said, “On behalf of the entire University community, I extend condolences to the family and friends of Graham Morin. We are honored to have had him as a member of our community, and our thoughts are with his family at this sad time.”

A memorial service will be held at Sage Chapel on Wednesday at noon. Catherine Holmes MA ’85, associate dean of students and a member of the school’s crisis management team, has been working to help students through the crisis.

“We are working with freshman RAs to get the word out. We met with the wrestling team on Saturday evening, and community support meetings are in the works,” Holmes said.

Any member of the Cornell community looking for support or psychological counseling is encouraged to contact Counseling and Psychological Services at 255-5208, or send concerns to Catherine Holmes at

Archived article by Tom McNulty