Florida high school cross country runners race for fallen soldier killed in motorcycle accident

Hundreds of cross-country runners took to the track in Clermont, Saturday morning. The high schoolers raced in honor of a fallen soldier, US Army Staff Sgt. Abraham Hammond. Army Maj. Marcus Mustin was one of Hammond’s commanders. "I've served in the army 24 years," he said, "that's the only soldier I've ever lost."

Hammond was killed in a motorcycle accident in February of 2022. Mustin said at the time, Hammond’s wife was pregnant with their child. Members of Hammond’s family kicked-off the morning's event. Mustin said Sgt. Hammond was an avid sportsman. "A fantastic soldier," he said, "he actually liked to run 5Ks, so we wanted to honor him in this way, with the kids running high school, and they run a 5K."

14 teams raced at East Ridge High School. Grant Mollett, the East Ridge girls cross-country coach, made sure the athletes knew why they were there. "I know if he were here with us, he'd have been in awe of the turnout, here. So I told them to keep perspective, every day you're healthy on this earth is a blessing to you."

The runners say they were proud to take part in the race. "Our coach actually told us when he started planning this meet about what we're honoring and what he did to serve our country," said Hanna Warren, an East Ridge junior.

Organizers said they hoped to make the race an annual event. "It feels really cool to be here and honor him," said runner Adriana Mustin, an East Ridge sophomore, "and just let the family know we're here to support them and be kept alive."