Johnathan R. "Johnny" Fiebelkorn, a 17-year-old member of the Akron Tigers Central High School wrestling team, was killed on Saturday morning in a crash in Alden just one week before he was to begin his senior year continuing as team captain, the fourth year he would have held the position.
His coach since the seventh grade, Danny Klonowski, said Johnny was like a little brother or son to him and he was devastated by the news.
He said Johnny held the record for most wrestling wins at the school and still had his senior year ahead of him. He also had been to the wrestling state tournaments three times and had been voted most valuable player in his junior year on the Tigers team.
"This was going to be our best season in the history of the school. He was by far our most accomplished and best wrestler, but it was not just his wrestling. He really had the character you'd want your son to have," said Klonowski.
In addition to wrestling, Johnny also had been captain of the football team, a Student Council member and a member of the 2015 Homecoming Court. He also enjoyed four-wheeling and deer hunting.
According to Klonowski, Johnny had been a rear passenger in a vehicle being driven by his older brother Matt Fiebelkorn at about 1 a.m. Saturday on Peters Corners Road in Alden.
He said the vehicle rolled over after crossing railroad tracks, causing Johnny, who was not wearing his seat belt, to be partially ejected from the rear window.
Scott Zylka, a spokesman for the Erie County Sheriff's Office, said deputies responding to a rollover accident found the vehicle in a ditch and the victim pinned underneath the vehicle. The victim was freed, but was declared dead at the scene, Zylka said. The incident remains under investigation by the Sheriff's Crash Investigation Unit.
Johnny's brother, Matt, a wrestling alumni and recent graduate, and a cousin, Josh Cummings, also a member of the Akron wrestling team, survived the crash without serious injuries.
"We are all trying to lean on each other as a wrestling family," said Klonowski. "We are pretty tightknit group."
He said his team was "a wreck" and had met together, along with the Fiebelkorn family, on Saturday and Sunday to support each other. The group also took a ride to the crash site on Sunday afternoon and had a memorial there, he added.
A corn roast fundraiser also was held at 6 p.m. Sunday in memory of Johnny at the Newstead Fire Company, 5691 Cummings Road. Friends, family, teammates and anyone impacted by the tragic loss was invited to attend.
The Akron High School posted a notice on its website Sunday morning extending their prayers and thoughts to the family, friends and teammates. The school also will have counselors available throughout the day for students and parents on Monday in the high school cafeteria. They will be available beyond Monday, as needed, according to the school.
"Matt is pretty devastated. It's good he came (to my house) today. He was smothered with support from his former teammates," said Klonowski.
In addition to his brother and cousin, Johnny also is survived by his parents, Russell "Rusty" and Lori, and three grandparents, Shirley Cummings and Marge and Bill Kingsley.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday in the Ross Funeral Home, 10 Eckerson Ave., Akron.