Cardinal cheerleader's death stuns friends, coaches

Published: Jul. 29, 2014 at 2:49 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 12, 2014 at 2:49 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Sadness spread across the University of Louisville campus and Cardinal community Monday after a beloved student and cheerleader was found dead.

The body of Danielle “Dani” Cogswell, 22, was found at the Cardinal Towne Apartments around 9 a.m.

From UofL President Dr. James Ramsey to Athletic Director Tom Jurich, condolences were given from the Cardinal family to Cogswell's loved ones.

UofL's Head Cheerleading Coach Todd Sharp says Cogswell was not only a world class athlete, but was a beautiful girl inside out, the kind of student you never heard a negative word about.

Associate Athletic Director Christine Simatocolos said of the student athlete's death and how her teammates are reacting, "There's a lot of shock and disbelief and just trying to understand what happened."

Those who knew Cogswell are still trying to wrap their heads and hearts around her sudden death. The Washington native, who transferred from Arizona State University, was part of UofL's top co-ed cheer team. Cogswell was known as a flyer, an athlete who performs a lot of stunts.

Cogswell cheered for Kim Kawachi's Northwest Cheer and Dance All Star World Team in Washington state as well as GymTyme in Louisville Kawachi says Cogswell was an elite athlete and it was her dream to be part of the seven-time National Champion Cardinal team.

"You have one of the best collegiate programs in nation," the Washington coach said of the University of Louisville's Cheer reputation.

Former UofL cheerleader and friend Tyler Janes also coached Cogswell in Washington. He said she was a fierce competitor.

"She trained under Bela Karolyi and she traveled to Australia and China," Janes said. "She was in the junior Olympics."

The two coaches say Cogswell was known for her huge personality as much as her talent.

"She was uplifting to people everywhere and all those around her," Kawachi said. "Everywhere she went, she always had a smile on her face."

Janes added of his friend's death, "It's just very hard, I've gotten call after call from sobbing people who are just not understanding what's going on."

Kawachi's son, George, is a current Cardinal Cheerleader with Cogswell.

“He is beyond devastated," she said of the news. He will remember his vibrant friend, who truly was all about team. "She was always a friend to people," Kawachi continued. "She was that kid on the team that you know is concerned about everybody on the team except herself."

Coach Sharp said many of Cogswell's teammates came up to him Monday night saying they want to be the best athlete and teammate they can be in their friend's memory.

Louisville Metro police and campus police are combining their efforts into the death investigation. Police do not suspect foul play in her death.

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