Passages: Penn State Commit Marcus Papanikolaou Dies in Car Accident

Photo Courtesy: Chandler Brandes

Passages: Penn State Commit Marcus Papanikolaou Dies in Car Accident

Marcus Papanikolaou, a high school senior at Central Bucks East in Pennsylvania and a sprinter committed to Penn State, died in a car accident on Oct. 13. He was 17 years old.

Papanikolaou was killed in Northampton Township Friday evening in a single vehicle accident in which his car struck a tree.

The family has opened a GoFundMe in his honor.

Papanikolaou was a 10-time medalist at the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) Championships in his three seasons. He finished fourth in the state in the 50 freestyle and third in the 100 free last year. He was second in both in 2022 and as a freshman in 2021 took home third and sixth. He also helped four CB East relays medal at states.

Papanikolaou won four District 1 gold medals, including in the 50 free as a freshman. It’s one of the most hotly contested districts in the state, comprising Philadelphia’s immediate suburbs.

Papanikolaou had gone 20.23 in the 50 free and 44.66 in the 100 free in short-course yards. He was 23.31/51.07 in LCM. He committed to Penn State in part to stay close to home. He also swam for BeFirst Swim Team in Warrington. Papanikolaou was selected to the 2022 USA Swimming National Select Camp.

Penn State associate head coach Dan Carrington posted a message to his Instagram account this week expressing his condolences:

He wrote:

“I am heartbroken for the family of Marcus Papanikolaou, for his teammates and his friends. Marcus was a young man with a genuine smile and eyes (when his hair was short enough to see them) who was a pleasure to be around. He was quiet and thoughtful but when you spoke he listened. Our last conversation was how he submitted his application and was excited for his senior year of high school.

“A loss like this is difficult to understand. Marcus, you are dearly missed.”

Marcus is survived by his parents, Pete and Christina, brother Maximus and many other loving relatives.

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