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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Athletes’ tribute to lost running mate at St Michaels on Sunday

Athletes’ tribute to lost running mate at St Michaels on Sunday

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When you arrive at the St Michaels' meet on Sunday be prepared to donate some money on the way in. There will be a collection for Beyond Blue in honour of Jack Panuccio who succumbed to mental health issues in April. We're asking people to dig deep and donate to a very worthwhile cause.

Read the following article and you'll appreciate the massive affect the loss of Jack means to all those who knew him.

Athletes’ tribute to lost running mate

Special race to introduce track season

By Matt Turner
Messenger Press
18 Oct 2017

Athletes Tomas Semmler, 18, Connor Verrall, 21, Harrison Panuccio, 18, Harrison Hunt, 18, and St Michael's College coach Dylan Hicks are looking
forward to Sunday’s inaugural St Michael's Gift and the chance to honour Jack Panuccio (inset below with Hicks). PICTURE: AAP/SAM WUNDKE

THE first meet of the SA Athletic League season will have extra meaning for a running squad with links to St Michael’s College.

The Henley Beach school will host the inaugural St Michael’s Gift on Sunday and dedicate a race to one of its former students, Jack Panuccio. Jack died in April after battling mental health issues. He was 18.

College Track Club’s Dylan Hicks coached Jack, who was an underage state sprint champion and won the under-18 200m at Flinders University last year.

Hicks, also a St Michael’s teacher, says his former athlete is hugely missed within the squad, which will honour Jack by wearing blue armbands on Sunday.

The meet will also raise money and awareness for beyondblue, and coincides with Mental Health Week.

“Jack was always a super athlete and impressive to watch,” Hicks says.

“He was great to have around, basically absorbing all the experience in the group, and wanted to strive hard and achieve in all areas of his life.

“He was particularly close to a couple of other 17 or 18-year-old boys in my group and I know (his death) hit them pretty hard. Everyone is keen to run, and run well. For me, I just want other coaches, young or old, to appreciate the position that they’re in, and to make sure they keep checking on these young people because sometimes things can slip through the cracks.”

The league opted to move the first meet of the season to St Michael’s because the usual venue, Henley Grange Memorial Oval, was unavailable.

There will be a 100-yard invitational race dedicated to Jack on Sunday, where winners will receive sashes bearing his name.

The St Michael’s track will also be painted blue. “(The squad) thinks this meet is a great opportunity and great cause to raise awareness of the whole concept of mental health,” Hicks says.

“We want to celebrate that he was part of our group and an important part.”

Hicks and his athletes got together within 24 hours of Jack’s death to be there for each other and speak to grief counsellors.

The coach is determined for the memory of Jack, also an ex-Western Districts athlete, to live on beyond Sunday.

“I think it’s important to remember all the great times we had with him, the funny situations he was a part of and how well he was doing.”

Jack’s mother, Mena, says the family is grateful for the support and for spreading the message about mental health.

“There is an alternative and help out there,” Mena says.

Anyone experiencing a crisis can contact Lifeline on 131 114 or at Support for living with depression can be found at beyondblue on 1300 224 636 or

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