Teenager dies during soccer team practice

By Melissa Pinion-Whitt , Staff Writer

Happy thoughts of summer vacation should have been running through the minds of students as they left Ganesha High School on Wednesday.
But for some students on the last day of school, those thoughts were clouded by the death of one of their classmates.

A 14-year-old boy, identified by coroner's officials as Luis Miguel Flores of Pomona, was practicing with a soccer team at Ganesha when he collapsed and later died Tuesday evening.

The teen, whose friends called him Miguel, was warming up with the team by running around the track when he fell, friends said.

"Everybody thought he was just playing around until my friend went up to him,' said teammate, Darwin Barcenas, 16. "He wasn't breathing, he was just twitching. I just kept yelling 'Miguel! Miguel!' but he didn't hear me.'

Flores' cause of death was unknown Wednesday, but emergency personnel said it didn't appear to be heat-related.

Los Angeles County firefighters came to the school at 1151 Fairplex Drivejust after 6 p.m. and found the boy on the track.

They performed CPR on him, but couldn't get a pulse, paramedics said.

"From what the kids say, they did one and a half laps around the track and he collapsed,' said paramedic Tom Merrill. "He wasn't hot to the touch or sweaty. I'm not a doctor, but I can pretty much rule out it was heat-related.'

Paramedics took Flores to Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 6:36 p.m.

Richard Martinez, spokesman for the Pomona Unified School District, said school officials were also unsure about what might have caused the boy's death.

"I don't want to speculate. I don't know if he had some pre- existing medical condition,' he said.

Psychologists and counselors came to the school Wednesday to help grieving classmates, Martinez said.

Friends said Flores was an honors student who typically received As and Bs in his classes. He was a quiet, calm boy who never caused problems in school.

Barcenas said he went to John Marshall Middle School with Flores as well. They had known each other since about the fourth grade, he said.

Natalie and Michelle Cuevas, 14-year-old twins, waited for a ride outside the school Wednesday and were dealing with the shock of Flores' death.

"We still can't believe it because we just saw him in school,' said Michelle Cuevas.