“It was shocking to hear about,” Wahpepah-Harris said. “He's always been a pretty determined runner. He may not be the fastest but he's definitely a leader on our team.”
Ahearn started running cross country to help him out with soccer, Monnard said.
“He showed a new level of commitment this year,” he said. “There was no question he wanted to be a leader on this team. He really started that in July. He was one of the first ones, if not the first one there when we practiced every morning.
“He showed up not really knowing much about the sport, but it's been amazing to watch him progress in these four years.”
Monnard hadn't publicly announced the captains for this year's team, but Ahearn was one of two he knew would get the honor.
“We went ahead and told his mom and she told him,” Monnard said. “When he returns, we expect him to be one of those captains on the team still.”
A fund has been set up to benefit Ahearn at the Republic Bank and Trust at 401 W. Main St. in Norman.
“We're just going to try to support him and show him how much we all care about him and try to help him when he gets here,” Wahpepah-Harris said.