Local Naval Academy freshman dies

May 7, 2008 3:37:26 PM PDT
U.S. Naval Academy officials say a 19-year-old freshman from Pennsylvania has died.

Classmates at the Academy in Annapolis, Md., found Kristen Dickmann of Kennett Square unconscious in her Bancroft Hall room Monday morning. Authorities say she was pronounced dead shortly after noon at Anne Arundel Medical Center.

"It's hard to cope with it all and understand it all when we don't know what happened," Jenna Fink, a high school teammate said.

Kristen made her mark at Unionville High as captain of her volleyball team.

Wednesday, friends described the slender girl as a remarkable mix of fierce competitor, brains and a first rate personality.

"She's the smallest girl, but she just has the fight in her," Alyssa Brown said.

"One of the girls said to me yesterday, that when we first saw her play we were jealous of her and intimidated by her, but then we wanted to become her," Robert Conti-D'Antonio, Kristen's coach, said.

Kristen was a physics major who did differential equations for fun.

She had a goal to fly a naval aircraft called a C-2 Greyhound.

Her principal is a retired Air force pilot, and described her as a natural leader.

"For 19 years of living, she got it. She got life," James Fulginiti, Unionville High principal, said.

Kristen's friends say her smile was ever present.

The Navy says they have not yet determined the cause of death yet. -------- AP contributed to this article.