James Madison University softball star dies at 20

Lauren Bernett was just named the Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Week before her passing

JMU announced the 20-year-old softball star passed away.

HARRISONBURG, Va. – James Madison University announced Tuesday that one of their own has passed away.

Lauren Bernett was a JMU softball player known for being a standout in the program.

The 20-year-old star was just named the Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Week on Monday before her passing. This comes after the weekend series where she went 7 for 9 with seven RBIs, four runs scored and a home run.

The sophomore catcher was a big part of the JMU run deep into the 2021 Women’s College World Series.

JMU President Jonathan Alger and JMU Director of Athletics Jeff Bourne issued a joint statement to the campus community, saying, in part:

Dear JMU community,

Our hearts are aching, hearing the news of the loss of one of our student-athletes. Lauren Bernett was a high-achieving member of our softball team and a great ambassador of JMU and our athletics program. She was a key member of our 2021 Women's College World Series team as a freshman catcher last year.

College athletics is great because of the people with whom we get to interact every day. We are a tight family. We are grateful that Lauren has been part of our JMU Athletics community and will always consider her to be a Duke. We will miss her dearly.

Our thoughts are with her family; her coaches, teammates and friends; the rest of our department staff and student-athletes; and the entire JMU community. JMU Nation is a close community, and we grieve together.

The statement also included counseling resources, which you can find here.

Officials have not disclosed a cause of death or any additional details.

The Dukes canceled their doubleheader against Longwood scheduled for Wednesday in light of the news.


About the Authors:

John serves as the Sports Director at WSLS 10. From Virginia Tech, to NASCAR and everything in between, WSLS 10 Sports covers the names making big plays in the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB.

Nicole Del Rosario joined WSLS 10 in August 2020.