Former SC softball standout killed while biking across country

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ROCK HILL, S.C. — A former Winthrop University softball standout was killed while biking across the country to raise money for a non-profit she founded.

According to WCNC, 33-year-old Janiva Willis was killed when she and her crew stopped for the day in Hudspeth County, Texas. Authorities said the car Willis was riding in was struck by a tractor-trailer.

Willis and the driver, Jeffery Turner, were killed in the wreck.

Her former coach, Mark Cooker is still reeling from the loss of the player he refers to as his daughter.

“She was once in a lifetime for a coach,” he told WCNC. “She was a tremendous young lady.”

Willis was named the NCAA South Carolina Woman of the Year and even went on to play for the Canadian national softball team.

Cooke said Winthrop has renamed a leadership award in her honor for the work she was doing through her non-profit “I Dream in Colors.”