WILMINGTON, Ohio (WDTN) - WIlmington College held a service celebrating the life of junior Jenna Parlette Thursday.
Parlette, 20, had been in critical condition since arriving at the hospital after collapsing during an intercollegiate cross country meet August 31 at Franklin College in Indiana.
The standout runner was leading the race and within sight of the finish line when she collapsed.
A former coach told 2 NEWS doctors later discovered Parlette had a genetic disorder in her liver and believe it was the cause of her epilepsy and an irregular heartbeat. Parlette had a pace maker implanted while she was in high school.
Wilmington College President Jim Reynolds alerted the campus of the tragic development late Tuesday afternoon. He shared that a number of faculty, staff and students spoke with him earlier in the day about how much Parlette meant to them and how hopeful they were for her recovery.
"Jenna was a wonderful student who left an indelible impression on many who she knew on campus," Reynolds said. "We all grieve for a life lost so early."
Jenna's college coach was first to speak during the ceremony.
"Jenna was out there doing what she wanted to do," said Ron Combs. "Jenna was a runner. She said you couldn't stop her even if you wanted to. I know Jenna is in a better place. She had limitations but she made choices in her life because those things were important to her. She wanted to be runner. The race will never be over for Jenna. She is a runner. That was in her heart and I think she'll run forever."
Parlette holds the school record in both the 5,000 and 10,000-meter runs in track, and is a five-time All-Ohio Athletic Conference designee in track and cross country. She was named All-Great Lakes Region after the 2012 cross country season.
Also, Parlette earned Academic All-OAC status and was an All-Academic selection by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches' Association.
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