‘Loved everybody’

15-year-old who died after playing a basketball game was always positive, friends and family say.

May 22, 2010|By Max Zimbert

CRESCENTA VALLEY — Eighth-grader Tyler Sikora was remembered and celebrated by families, teachers, students, administrators and community members for his friendliness and humor during a candlelight vigil Friday night at Crescenta Valley High School.

Tyler, 15, died Thursday night after a basketball game with his brother, a Crescenta Valley High senior, and their friends. During a break, he collapsed.

“He loved being with his older brother; he worshiped him,” said Tyler’s father, Tim Sikora. “He loved NASCAR and Dale Earnhardt Jr. He’d tell me 15 times a week if he had a new paint scheme, or what he was driving.”


The ceremony was an open microphone, intended as an opportunity for the community to come together, Crescenta Valley High Principal Linda Evans said.

Students dialed emergency dispatchers from the basketball court and began CPR before paramedics arrived, officials said. Tyler had a genetic heart condition, which is a leading cause of death among young athletes, according to a 1996 study by the American Heart Assn.

“They called 911. They asked for help from the adults that were on the track,” Evans said of the students present. “They did all the right things immediately. They immediately recognized something was wrong.”

Tim Sikora called them heroes.

“The boys my oldest son hangs out with — they are the model kids of the school.”

Daniel Bashian, a Crescenta Valley High senior, was playing basketball with Tyler, and was one of a team of students who organized the ceremony.

“Before he walked off the court, he was telling his brother how much fun he was having,” he said.

At an early age, Tyler exhibited the kindness that made him a popular student, said Kristie Colegate, who taught Tyler and his brother, Devin, at Lincoln Elementary School.

“He was well liked by his peers, and quiet,” she said. “I think he’s just a happy kid, one of those kids where the glass was half full. He had a positive attitude about life.”

Counselors and psychologists were available throughout the day at Rosemont, where Tyler was going to graduate in three weeks.

“We’re keeping our doors open for students,” said Michele Doll, the school principal. “We’re trying to take care, in the most personal manner as possible, and making sure we’re here for all of the students.”

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