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Moore High School runner Yuridia Martinez was always playing sports and helping others

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Growing up, Yuridia Martinez always had her long brown hair pulled back in a braided ponytail.

And that braid was always moving.

“She would be running around,” said Adriana Garza, who was Yuridia’s second grade teacher, then principal at Sacred Heart School. “She was usually outdoors because she loved sports.”

Yuridia would be smiling. Often laughing. Almost always running.

That is what she was doing Monday afternoon when she and several other runners from Moore High School were hit by a pickup truck. She was one of five taken to the hospital with serious injuries, and Tuesday, she died from those injuries.

Her family issued a statement Wednesday.

“We were blessed for 16 years with an amazing baby girl who filed our home and our lives with joy and fun and beauty,” it read in part. “Yuridia had a heart for service and helping people in need.”

Those who knew her saw that giving spirit even at a young age.

Yuridia and her twin sister first started at Sacred Heart in elementary school. The Catholic school about 10 minutes south of downtown Oklahoma City is small, only a little more than 200 students from preschool through eighth grade.

Yuridia was quick to volunteer if anyone needed a hand, and it didn’t matter what the task was. If the maintenance director at Sacred Heart needed help moving a bench, Yuridia jumped in. If the eighth graders planned a celebration for the cafeteria staff, Yuridia pitched in.

It was a picture of Yuridia from that cafeteria party that Garza posted on Sacred Heart’s Facebook page the other day. The principal wanted one that showed Yuridia’s eyes.

“Her beautiful eyes,” Garza said.

They were big and brown and welcoming, but lots of the time, Yuridia wore glasses that would darken in the sunlight. That meant pictures of her often didn’t show her eyes because she was outdoors running around so much.

As she got older, she took some of that energy indoors. Volleyball became a passion. She played for Moore in the fall each of the past two years.

“Yuridia, she was bubbly,” said Chad Mashburn, the athletic director at Moore whose daughter was one of Yuridia’s volleyball teammates. “She was a great friend. She would love on you.”

She wasn’t a natural volleyball player like some of her teammates. Didn’t have the best hops. Didn’t have the strongest spikes.

“But man,” Mashburn said, “she worked at it.”

Last spring, Yuridia even joined a club volleyball team with her sister at the OK Premier Sports Complex. Miranda Zawisza was the coach, and on the first day of practice, she realized she had twins — and a problem.

“I’m not gonna remember,” Zawisza confessed. “So, which one’s older?”

Yuridia’s twin was, and she became Twin One.

Yuridia became Twin Two.

Zawisza laughed at the memory, but the Martinez girls’ impact on the team was no joke. One day, they were forced to miss a match, and when Zawisza told the rest of the girls, they were devastated.

“Oh, my gosh, we don’t know what we’re gonna do,” they moaned. “They’re the best two people on our team.”

This spring, Yuridia decided to join the track team at Moore to keep up her conditioning. The volleyball coaches at the school encourage players to try other sports, and distance running was a way to stay in shape.

But Mashburn, who coached track and cross country before becoming the athletic director, thinks Yuridia might’ve been on the verge of big success in distance running.

“It’s individualized,” he said. “Even though it is a team sport, you still go out and compete against yourself and get better. She had that fight and that will to go out there and do that.

“There’s not a lot of kids that want to go through that pain.”

Yuridia never seemed to see sports as something to overcome. She enjoyed the practices, the competitions, the camaraderie. She loved everything about them.

The only other thing she seemed as enthusiastic about was helping others. Teammates. Friends. Even strangers. In that statement released by her family, for example, it asked for memorial donations to be made to Willow Pregnancy Support.

“Yuridia was passionate about helping pregnant women who were homeless or in need,” it said.

Kindness was one of the characteristics that kept coming up as folks at Sacred Heart talked about Yuridia over these past few days. Garza, the principal, said whether it was students or teachers or staff members, they all remembered Yuridia Martinez’s sweet spirit.

“She was very kind and very sweet,” Garza said. “I don’t remember ever seeing her upset or angry or being rude to anybody.

“She was always smiling.”

Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at 405-475-4125 or jcarlson@oklahoman.com. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK or follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok.

Related Photos
<strong>Those who knew Yuridia Martinez saw her giving spirit even at a young age. [Photo provided]</strong>

Those who knew Yuridia Martinez saw her giving spirit even at a young age. [Photo provided]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-eb8acb6f9ee40b4bc9505ac1e29714ec.jpg" alt="Photo - Those who knew Yuridia Martinez saw her giving spirit even at a young age. [Photo provided] " title=" Those who knew Yuridia Martinez saw her giving spirit even at a young age. [Photo provided] "><figcaption> Those who knew Yuridia Martinez saw her giving spirit even at a young age. [Photo provided] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-81b2fbfab12acd385a12bad4a3bff394.jpg" alt="Photo - [Photo courtesy of Chad Mashburn, Moore athletic director] " title=" [Photo courtesy of Chad Mashburn, Moore athletic director] "><figcaption> [Photo courtesy of Chad Mashburn, Moore athletic director] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-914cf47cbf56d2ee7848e80e43b48a99.jpg" alt="Photo - Scene on Main Street where Moore High School students were run over by a pickup truck Monday, killing two, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]" title="Scene on Main Street where Moore High School students were run over by a pickup truck Monday, killing two, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Scene on Main Street where Moore High School students were run over by a pickup truck Monday, killing two, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-ac26979ab23108b5f5c42e118e27103e.jpg" alt="Photo - Scene on Main Street where Moore High School students were run over by a pickup truck Monday, killing two, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]" title="Scene on Main Street where Moore High School students were run over by a pickup truck Monday, killing two, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Scene on Main Street where Moore High School students were run over by a pickup truck Monday, killing two, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-ddaf64261b7ed102ec797361f5cc4b67.jpg" alt="Photo - A man leaves roses at the scene on Main Street where Moore High School students were run over by a pickup truck Monday, killing two, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]" title="A man leaves roses at the scene on Main Street where Moore High School students were run over by a pickup truck Monday, killing two, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>A man leaves roses at the scene on Main Street where Moore High School students were run over by a pickup truck Monday, killing two, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-25348ad7bd7db4e9bbf52f8445f6e187.jpg" alt="Photo - A man leaves roses at the scene on Main Street where Moore High School students were run over by a pickup truck Monday, killing two, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]" title="A man leaves roses at the scene on Main Street where Moore High School students were run over by a pickup truck Monday, killing two, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>A man leaves roses at the scene on Main Street where Moore High School students were run over by a pickup truck Monday, killing two, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-8e03f2026516b62473d975a6d518acd6.jpg" alt="Photo - Volkswagen Beetle that was hit at 108 Morgan Dr. by the pickup truck driven by Max Leroy Townsend, 57. The scene on Main Street where Moore High School students were run over by a pickup truck Monday, killing two, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]" title="Volkswagen Beetle that was hit at 108 Morgan Dr. by the pickup truck driven by Max Leroy Townsend, 57. The scene on Main Street where Moore High School students were run over by a pickup truck Monday, killing two, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Volkswagen Beetle that was hit at 108 Morgan Dr. by the pickup truck driven by Max Leroy Townsend, 57. The scene on Main Street where Moore High School students were run over by a pickup truck Monday, killing two, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-c3ac1dd027c98f4832c25e601342393f.jpg" alt="Photo - Officers investigate the scene on Main Street where Moore High School students were run over by a pickup truck Monday, killing two, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]" title="Officers investigate the scene on Main Street where Moore High School students were run over by a pickup truck Monday, killing two, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Officers investigate the scene on Main Street where Moore High School students were run over by a pickup truck Monday, killing two, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-a815a528f017f02ded663e8700a2c029.jpg" alt="Photo - Officers investigate the scene on Main Street where Moore High School students were run over by a pickup truck Monday, killing two, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]" title="Officers investigate the scene on Main Street where Moore High School students were run over by a pickup truck Monday, killing two, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Officers investigate the scene on Main Street where Moore High School students were run over by a pickup truck Monday, killing two, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-6d8b6e8544c77b67e1a71657db5df98b.jpg" alt="Photo - Officers investigate the scene on Main Street where Moore High School students were run over by a pickup truck Monday, killing two, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]" title="Officers investigate the scene on Main Street where Moore High School students were run over by a pickup truck Monday, killing two, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Officers investigate the scene on Main Street where Moore High School students were run over by a pickup truck Monday, killing two, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-0ea325e65698d723c8da8a1d4ac98594.jpg" alt="Photo - Moore schools superintendent Dr. Robert Romines talks at a news conference about the Moore High School students that were run over by a pickup truck Monday, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. Behind him is Dustin Horstkoetter, Sgt. Jeremy Lewis and Chief Todd Strickland. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]" title="Moore schools superintendent Dr. Robert Romines talks at a news conference about the Moore High School students that were run over by a pickup truck Monday, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. Behind him is Dustin Horstkoetter, Sgt. Jeremy Lewis and Chief Todd Strickland. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Moore schools superintendent Dr. Robert Romines talks at a news conference about the Moore High School students that were run over by a pickup truck Monday, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. Behind him is Dustin Horstkoetter, Sgt. Jeremy Lewis and Chief Todd Strickland. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-9fedcbb4977313420333a6f9eecc3d35.jpg" alt="Photo - Moore police Chief Todd Strickland and Sgt. Jeremy Lewis talk at a news conference about the Moore High School students that were run over by a pickup truck Monday, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]" title="Moore police Chief Todd Strickland and Sgt. Jeremy Lewis talk at a news conference about the Moore High School students that were run over by a pickup truck Monday, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Moore police Chief Todd Strickland and Sgt. Jeremy Lewis talk at a news conference about the Moore High School students that were run over by a pickup truck Monday, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-57fa652674b81f4dafd4787c14289326.jpg" alt="Photo - Moore schools superintendent Dr. Robert Romines and Dustin Horstkoetter react at a news conference about the Moore High School students that were run over by a pickup truck Monday, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]" title="Moore schools superintendent Dr. Robert Romines and Dustin Horstkoetter react at a news conference about the Moore High School students that were run over by a pickup truck Monday, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Moore schools superintendent Dr. Robert Romines and Dustin Horstkoetter react at a news conference about the Moore High School students that were run over by a pickup truck Monday, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-3da707394737e454ca111ef7e098864d.jpg" alt="Photo - Moore schools superintendent Dr. Robert Romines reacts at a news conference about the Moore High School students that were run over by a pickup truck Monday, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]" title="Moore schools superintendent Dr. Robert Romines reacts at a news conference about the Moore High School students that were run over by a pickup truck Monday, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Moore schools superintendent Dr. Robert Romines reacts at a news conference about the Moore High School students that were run over by a pickup truck Monday, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-3349a07003b28935b4f1039820958681.jpg" alt="Photo - Moore police Sgt. Jeremy Lewis talks at a news conference about the Moore High School students that were run over by a pickup truck Monday, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]" title="Moore police Sgt. Jeremy Lewis talks at a news conference about the Moore High School students that were run over by a pickup truck Monday, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Moore police Sgt. Jeremy Lewis talks at a news conference about the Moore High School students that were run over by a pickup truck Monday, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-7eb0e4ebd0834ee20ec4218acb8d3c8d.jpg" alt="Photo - Moore police hold a news conference about the Moore High School students that were run over by a pickup truck Monday, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]" title="Moore police hold a news conference about the Moore High School students that were run over by a pickup truck Monday, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Moore police hold a news conference about the Moore High School students that were run over by a pickup truck Monday, on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-2f583eb06f48cf1048d0b59b39bb69c0.jpg" alt="Photo - Community members pray during a vigil for students killed and injured in Monday's hit and run incident in Moore at Moore High School in Moore, Okla., Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]" title="Community members pray during a vigil for students killed and injured in Monday's hit and run incident in Moore at Moore High School in Moore, Okla., Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Community members pray during a vigil for students killed and injured in Monday's hit and run incident in Moore at Moore High School in Moore, Okla., Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-d457ceeb407b04d91828572f4ffb028d.jpg" alt="Photo - Community members pray during a vigil for students killed and injured in Monday's hit and run incident in Moore at Moore High School in Moore, Okla., Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]" title="Community members pray during a vigil for students killed and injured in Monday's hit and run incident in Moore at Moore High School in Moore, Okla., Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Community members pray during a vigil for students killed and injured in Monday's hit and run incident in Moore at Moore High School in Moore, Okla., Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-a1a65b364d6f31cd09a63e667f0863f8.jpg" alt="Photo - Memorials are pictured at the sight of a hit and run incident in Moore at Moore High School in Moore, Okla., Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]" title="Memorials are pictured at the sight of a hit and run incident in Moore at Moore High School in Moore, Okla., Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Memorials are pictured at the sight of a hit and run incident in Moore at Moore High School in Moore, Okla., Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-efab5c1901be272078761deac882bb6f.jpg" alt="Photo - Memorials are pictured at the sight of a hit and run incident in Moore at Moore High School in Moore, Okla., Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]" title="Memorials are pictured at the sight of a hit and run incident in Moore at Moore High School in Moore, Okla., Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Memorials are pictured at the sight of a hit and run incident in Moore at Moore High School in Moore, Okla., Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-48bf711d41cc92bc06570d2cbd6ca280.jpg" alt="Photo - Community members pray during a vigil for students killed and injured in Monday's hit and run incident in Moore at Moore High School in Moore, Okla., Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]" title="Community members pray during a vigil for students killed and injured in Monday's hit and run incident in Moore at Moore High School in Moore, Okla., Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Community members pray during a vigil for students killed and injured in Monday's hit and run incident in Moore at Moore High School in Moore, Okla., Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-cf41dbf3d1237437767e15b523b8513e.jpg" alt="Photo - People gather around a make-shift memorials at the sight of a hit and run incident in Moore near Moore High School in Moore, Okla., Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]" title="People gather around a make-shift memorials at the sight of a hit and run incident in Moore near Moore High School in Moore, Okla., Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>People gather around a make-shift memorials at the sight of a hit and run incident in Moore near Moore High School in Moore, Okla., Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-c17da82feb06e26eba5fc5e0c41a62e0.jpg" alt="Photo - Community members pray during a vigil for students killed and injured in Monday's hit and run incident in Moore at Moore High School in Moore, Okla., Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]" title="Community members pray during a vigil for students killed and injured in Monday's hit and run incident in Moore at Moore High School in Moore, Okla., Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Community members pray during a vigil for students killed and injured in Monday's hit and run incident in Moore at Moore High School in Moore, Okla., Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-f880289cb3d1018b8b75a7d7e6cf8601.jpg" alt="Photo - People gather around a make-shift memorials at the sight of a hit and run incident in Moore near Moore High School in Moore, Okla., Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]" title="People gather around a make-shift memorials at the sight of a hit and run incident in Moore near Moore High School in Moore, Okla., Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>People gather around a make-shift memorials at the sight of a hit and run incident in Moore near Moore High School in Moore, Okla., Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-ce85cb04d717e80a363bd463c4fa1e50.jpg" alt="Photo - People gather around a make-shift memorials at the sight of a hit and run incident in Moore near Moore High School in Moore, Okla., Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]" title="People gather around a make-shift memorials at the sight of a hit and run incident in Moore near Moore High School in Moore, Okla., Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>People gather around a make-shift memorials at the sight of a hit and run incident in Moore near Moore High School in Moore, Okla., Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure>
Jenni Carlson

Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football... Read more ›

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