Skip to main content

'She was so loved': Totino-Grace football manager dies of cancer

  • Author:
  • Updated:

Rachel Woell, the manager of the Totino-Grace High School football team, went to what would be her last football game Friday night.

“We wanted to have her do what she enjoyed doing and that was being with her fellow football players. We went to the game last night, came home at halftime, and we were in the house a minute or two and (she) passed in our arms,” Jamie Woell, Rachel's father, told FOX 9.

The 17-year-old senior died after a long battle with brain cancer.

Her mother, Yvette Woell, wrote on her CaringBridge page Saturday morning that she had died the night before, writing "She was wise beyond her years and she loved with all her heart. She reminded us always to remember 'everyday is a gift' and she touched so many lives by her gentle and caring ways."

Rachel Woell was a beloved member of the Totino Grace community and an inspiration to those around her – and this football season was dedicated to her.

When she was in elementary school, she was diagnosed with brain cancer. She had been in remission until last fall, and this summer, she learned there were few options left to treat her brain tumor, WCCO says.

"None of this is surprising, but it is still heartbreaking,'' Totino-Grace High School football coach Jeff Ferguson told the Pioneer Press. "She was at every game and every practice. Her devotion and dedication to the team was incredible. She embraced being on our team with great passion. She wasn't a figurehead; she was not the mascot. The relationship she had with the coaches and players was genuine. She was so loved.''

Woell, and Totino-Grace running back Kez Flomo, were named homecoming king and queen – he pushed her wheelchair at the coronation, the Star Tribune reports.

Last December, more than 1,000 students and staff members rallied around Woell by creating a video to the tune of the Katy Perry hit, “Roar."

“It was just so beautiful to see a community come together and love another person the way they loved her. They were showing her everything she'd given them, and they were giving it back,” Yvette Woell told FOX 9.

A reviewal is planned for Thursday at Totino-Grace, with a funeral mass Saturday. Washburn-McReavy Hillside Chapel in Minneapolis is handling the arrangements.

"The funeral isn't on Friday because she wouldn't have wanted anything to disrupt our game," Ferguson told the Pioneer Press.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-08-07 at 11.43.15 AM

Deputies fatally shoot man in Wright County

Police claim the man, who had allegedly been experiencing a mental health crisis, was armed with a knife.

Ambulance hospital emergency

17-year-old killed in northern Minnesota crash Saturday

The other drive involved in the crash, a 75-year-old man, sustained life-threatening injuries.


Alcohol a factor as driver rolls ATV into corn field, injuring 3

The crash occurred in Lake Lillian Saturday night.

Minneapolis police

Man dies after being found shot at Minneapolis' 38th and Chicago

Responders were called to the scene early Sunday morning.

Screen Shot 2022-08-07 at 6.34.12 AM

7 children arrested after 'disturbance' at Cabela's, escape in stolen vehicle

Employees called police saying the children were stealing goods from the store.

Screen Shot 2022-08-06 at 6.16.49 PM

Fire sparks evacuation from apartment building, man arrested for arson

Police and fire crews responded to the fire just before 9 a.m. Saturday.

Flickr - utility pole power line

Morning storms cause power outages, ensuing problems in Eagan

There have been reports of disabled traffic lights and issues at local businesses.

kim crockett facebook sos

GOP nominee questions if those with disabilities, non-English speakers should be able to vote

Crockett made the comments in a 2020 radio interview following a ruling from the Minnesota Supreme Court.


Jury: MN pharmacist did not violate woman's rights by refusing her morning-after pill

Gender Justice, the advocacy group that brought about the lawsuit, says it will appeal the decision.

Screen Shot 2021-10-04 at 3.03.13 PM

Revival to close its original Minneapolis restaurant

Don't worry – it's bringing the chicken to its nearby BBQ joint.