Death is terrible. Suicide is worse.

Sarah Devens was a junior at Dartmouth College, a varsity athlete in three sports, the girlfriend of Scott Dolesh, the daughter of Sally Willard and Charles Devens Jr. Her nickname was "Devil." She was an All-American girl. Occasionally, she'd wear a Stars and Stripes do-rag during field hockey games.

On July 10, 1995, she asked a friend to go mountain biking with her. The friend accepted, but Devens never showed. It's hard to ride a bike after shooting a hole through your chest with a .22 rifle.

Devens did not leave a suicide note (or, at least, she didn't leave one that was made public), so we may never be completely sure why she took her life. However, we do have a pretty good idea.

Devens didn't just play three sports; she was very good at them. In the fall, she was an All-Ivy-League field hockey player; in the winter, she played ice hockey, where she was the ECAC Rookie of the Year in 1992-93; and spring was the season of her best sport, women's lacrosse, in which she was an All-American in 1995. It's quite rare for collegiate athletes to letter in three sports — one sport will keep you busy year-round, with the off-season workouts and practice sessions. This is especially true at the Division I level, the highest level in the NCAA, of which Dartmouth is a member.

Moreover, since Devens was a star athlete, she was inivited to U.S. Olympic trials (in field hockey and ice hockey), summer training camps and the like. And at Dartmouth, Devens was a captain of all three teams, which carries the implicit obligation to set an example for your teammates. So she'd be the first one on the practice field and the last one off it.

Basically, Devens was overworked.

"She's a year ahead of me, and when I went to Harvard, I was thinking about playing three sports. I talked to her, and she said, 'No way. Don't do it. It's just not fun.'"
—Childhood friend Daphne Clark, as quoted by Sports Illustrated

Two weeks after her death, Sports Illustrated turned Devens' death into national news by writing a three-page feature article on her. A month later, in the August 21, 1995, edition, SI printed a few letters from readers, one of which read:

It's disappointing to see such a fine female collegiate athlete receive attention only when tragedy strikes. An article about Devens should have been written long ago. May she rest in peace.
Julie Stocker, Pittsburgh

Sources, more info: (original SI article)

Again: Rest in peace, Sarah.

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