LINCOLN -- As Michael Monteleone’s teammates choked back their tears Tuesday, hundreds of mourners attended a memorial ceremony only a day after the 14-year-old suddenly collapsed and died during baseball practice.

Principal Robert Martin said word spread quickly that students wanted to hold a memorial for the freshman student after his sudden death.


"A number of students approached me and asked if we could have a ceremony," he said. "The school community is going through a grieving process for this beloved student right now."

With the weather cooperating, students and their families packed the yard in front of the high school to remember Monteleone and be together. Following a series of speakers, a candlelight vigil was held.

Monteleone’s father also attended the ceremony. He didn’t speak at the podium, but did hug many of his son’s friends and classmates.

Sean Cavanaugh, who coaches Monteleone’s junior varsity baseball team, told the crowd that the young student-athlete was an enthusiastic and competitive player.

"I have no answer as to why Michael left us, but I do have comfort in knowing that Michael was in one of his favorite environments, on the ball field," he said.

Cavanaugh himself had to fight tears as he spoke about Monteleone, saying he is "grateful and happy that I was able to know this young man."

Monteleone’s baseball teammates wore their red Lincoln High School jerseys, and many sported wristbands with the initials "M.M." written on them. The team announced that it would dedicate the season to Monteleone.

One of Monteleone’s friends, who also played baseball, gave a short, but emotional speech about the teen.

"Michael looked up to the upperclassmen, but now we know that he is looking down on us," he said.

Monteleone’s uncle also briefly addressed the crowd and thanked Lincoln for its compassion.

"It’s really a special town they have here. ..Your compassion and sympathy means very much to the family," he said.

According to police, Monteleone was running on the baseball field during practice Monday afternoon when he suddenly collapsed. An athletic coach began giving CPR, but was unable to revive him, police said. He was later pronounced dead at Landmark Medical Center in Woonsocket.

Martin said Monteleone was a healthy young man who excelled in sports and was an honors student. He also said reports that Monteleone had gone to the school nurse’s office earlier Monday were untrue.

"Michael did not go to the nurse," Martin said. "He was in good health."

School officials said that counselors were brought to the school on Monday and Tuesday to help grieving students.

The state medical examiner’s office has not yet announced a cause of death.

Lincoln officials, upon hearing of the student’s death, canceled Monday’s scheduled Financial Town Meeting. It is now scheduled for May 17.