Park City remembers Erica Knell |

Park City remembers Erica Knell

Erica Knell (second from left, top row) poses with her dance team at PCHS last spring.

Erica Knell has been described by family and friends as a beautiful girl and talented athlete. On top of that, she was an individual, full of energy, with a unique disposition. According to Hilary Hays, Park City High School (PCHS) principal, Knell was an intelligent individual with a bright future.

Knell passed away the evening of Friday, Sept. 5, as a result of injuries sustained in an automobile accident. She was traveling from Salt Lake City to Park City on I-80.

Knell grew up in Hong Kong and was raised in a family that spent a lot of time traveling the world together. She graduated from Park City High School in the spring of 2008, one year ahead of schedule, and had just begun studying at the University of Utah.

Knell was an outstanding athlete. She was an integral member of the PCHS dance club and an aerials skier with FLY Freestyle, a local team. When she was younger, she was a successful gymnast and trained with the Chinese national team.

Hays said Knell was "always an individual, and friends with everyone. She wasn’t just part of one group of friends." Knell valued her education and Hays thinks she most likely would have studied dance and international business.

Knell’s father, David, a Chinese teacher at PCHS, said that his daughter was always first to offer hugs and say, "I love you," and that she was always one to look you in the eye with sincere interest. David said that Knell had a way of "flipping the table." When people came and asked Erica questions about herself, she would steer the conversation to talk about others.

Brooke Calhoun, one of Knell’s close friends and a teammate on the dance team, said that Knell was good at everything she tried. "If she kept dancing, she could’ve been one of the best in the world, or if she wanted to pursue ski jumping she could’ve made the U.S. Ski Team and the Olympics."

Calhoun said that Knell was always a happy person with a positive attitude and encouraged everyone else on the dance team.

Jerry Grossi, Knell’s ski coach at FLY, described Knell as one of the best athletes that he’d ever worked with. Knell was a pretty girl with a sweet disposition who was "admired by a lot of people for her talents and skills and for just being her," he said.

Mick Berry, Park City Freestyle Team coach, said the whole U.S. Ski Team had been watching her and that she was next in line to be named to the team. Berry said he watched Knell become really excited and committed to the sport of aerials over the summer. "It’s just such a shame when something like this comes and takes her away," he said.

Knell was at PCHS last Friday, wishing students luck before an assembly. "Erica will be a huge loss to our community," Hays said.

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