Scott Messick, a Piedmont High School student, went to sleep in his family's Borden Springs home after wrestling practice Friday and never woke up, his mom, Wanda Messick, said. Mrs. Messick said she found him lifeless Saturday shortly before 5 a.m. when she went to wake him up for a wrestling match.
"He was always happy," Mrs. Messick said of her son. "He was friends with everybody; he never met anybody he didn't like."
Multiple attempts to reach the Cleburne County Coroner's office were unsuccessful Saturday, but according to a family statement emailed to The Star Saturday evening, an autopsy is being conducted.
Mrs. Messick said the cause of her son's death is unknown, but added that he said his heart was racing especially fast after weightlifting and wrestling practice Friday.
"Last night when he came in from wrestling practice he showered, ate and sat down in front of the heater, and his heart was beating 90 miles an hour," Mrs. Messick said.
News of Messick's death spread quickly throughout the school community on social networking websites, and by noon his Facebook wall was already filled with comments from his classmates and friends at Piedmont High School.
The family’s statement noted how much he enjoyed hunting and fishing and doting on his niece, Alexis Rayne Buttram.
“He had a heart of gold and would do anything for anybody,” the family statement said.
"It's a sad day for all of us," said Piedmont Superintendent Matt Akin. "Scott was a great kid that everybody liked. It just doesn't seem fair."
Akin said counselors will be on hand at the high school Monday to talk with any students who need help coping with the loss.
Messick's wrestling coach, Harley Lamey, spent much of the day coaching Messick's teammates at a match in Rome, Ga.
Lamey said Messick's death is a difficult loss for the team, and added that the team competed Saturday with the family's blessings.
"His mom told us to go out and wrestle hard for him," Lamey said, and according to Messick’s family, the team won, its members having dedicated their efforts to Scott.
School officials, including PHS Principal Adam Clemons, visited Messick's family at their home early Saturday.
Clemons said Messick was "very pleasant, very respectful," and that he will be remembered by his peers.
"He will be missed," Clemons said. "A lot of our wrestlers thought a lot of him because he was a leader on the wrestling team."
Piedmont High School teacher Rebecca Hudgins has taught Messick since he was a ninth-grade student. She said he stood out among his peers because he was especially respectful of his teachers and willing to put other people's needs before his own.
"He was one of the most respectful, polite young men I've ever met," Hudgins said. "It's really hard on everyone. He was a special young man. We're shocked and sad.”
Hudgins also said that Messick was well liked by his classmates.
"He was a leader in our class," the teacher said. "They all looked up to him."
Funeral arrangements will be announced later through Dansby in Piedmont, according to the family
Staff Writer Laura Gaddy: 256-235-3544. On Twitter @LGaddy_Star.