‘Always with us’: Amherst 2023 graduates remember Talon Trampe
AMHERST, Neb. (KSNB) - It’s been almost three years now since tragedy struck Amherst. ‘Team Slink’ continues with heavy hearts.
“We’ve found ourselves down in a lot of situations,” Amherst boys basketball coach Eric Rippen said.
Those situations going far beyond the basketball court, back to June of 2020 when the life of blossoming freshman Talon Trampe was cut short.
“We’re always out there playing for a fellow teammate,” Rippen said. “They’re just never going to give up. We’re always going to keep fighting for Talon and for everything, just for each other.”
Trampe was a freshman playing on varsity in 2020 and, long like a slinky, he was on pace to set the school’s single-season blocks record.
“We always knew he was going to be the guy,” Amherst junior guard Tayje Hadwiger said. “He was a good basketball player.”
But a February diagnosis with Marfan syndrome put him on the bench.
“Marfan syndrome is not a thing people know about,” Amherst senior guard Scout Simmons said. “I had never heard of it up until Talon got it. It never crosses your mind that this could happen.”
In May, Trampe opted for surgery, but heart complications led to his death in June. He was just 15-years-old.
“My mom came downstairs and I was sitting on the couch,” Amherst senior guard Nolan Eloe said. “When she told me I just didn’t really know what to do. I knew Talon wouldn’t want us to mourn about him. I knew he’d just want us to have the happiest life we could have.”
“They had to go through something that high school kids shouldn’t have to go through,” Rippen added. “Two of them were pallbearers for their best friend’s funeral.”
“You don’t really have anyone to talk to that’s been through it,” Simmons said. “There’s not many people who have been through that.”
The Broncos took their collective pain and sculpted it. In every season since Trampe’s death, ‘Team Slink’ has won at least 20 games.. It culminatedinto a special run this past season.
“I think we knew over the summer that this season would be our pretty good chance to make a run in Lincoln,” Simmons said.
That’s just what they did. The Broncos won 26 games before finishing as the class C-2 state runner-up in their first state championship appearance since 1987.
“I know Talon would be super proud of these guys,” Rippen said. “We told him we were going to get a state championship trophy and we didn’t get that, but this is a pretty good second option.”
Trampe would’ve been a senior this year who graduated earlier in May, likely breaking records on the basketball floor along the way. Instead, he left a legacy of a different kind. The Amherst seniors in his class are carrying his memory with them.
“It’s been really cool to be in the class knowing that he would be here if he could and working hard,” Simmons said. “Just trying to do that every day for him.”
“You’ve just got to go into every day with a good mindset and be thankful for what you have, who you have and the people you love,” Hadwiger added. “Always be there for them.”
We’re entering a new era of Amherst basketball and the team wrapped Trampe’s jersey around their newest trophy in their final act together.
“Wherever we go, he goes with us,” Rippen said. “And the group was going with the trophy back here and he was going to come right along with those guys. He’s always with us. We’ll never forget about Talon. No one is ever going to forget.”
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