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Northern Valley mourns loss of student, athlete

By DIANE GASPER-O'BRIEN

dobrien@dailynews.net

Chuck Fessenden was looking forward to getting one of his young standout athletes back in the lineup.

Eli Lowry, a sophomore at Northern Valley High School in Almena, had missed the football season because after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee during summer basketball competition.

But Fessenden was counting on Lowry to make it back for a major part of this year's prep basketball season.

"He was updating me about every day about when he could play," said Fessenden, head coach for both football and basketball at the small northwest Kansas school near the Nebraska border. "He kept saying he was ahead of schedule."

Coach and player alike were anxiously anticipating Lowry once again donning the green and white of the Huskies.

High school basketball practice starts Nov. 18.

But the next large gathering in the high school gym will be a sad one for Fessenden and the rest of the Huskies.

They will be attending the funeral of the 15-year-old Lowry, who died Sunday in an automobile accident. His services are set for 2 p.m. Friday.

Lowry was alone in his pickup truck Sunday evening, heading for his home in Prairie View, when he lost control on a curve on County Road West 1300. The pickup entered a ditch rolled, and Lowry died from injuries in the accident, according to a report from the Kansas Highway Patrol.

Fessenden said he was attending a card club with friends when Don Lowry, Eli's uncle, received word "that Eli had been in a bad car wreck."

Grief counselors were brought in from area towns to spend time with students Monday.

"It was pretty somber in school today," said Fessenden, who also coached Eli's dad, Calvin Lowry, in high school. "In a small town like this, everyone knows everybody."