Student dies in collision

The first word that comes to sophomore Jake Hoskins’ mind when he hears Raina Esparza’s name is “angel.” Esparza died June 14, in a collision on I-35 after the driver lost control of the SUV and it flipped, landing its side. Esparza was not wearing her seatbelt.

Hoskins and Esparza were cousins, best friends and rivals at their local boxing club.

“The impact she had on the gym was so big. Out of the ring she was a doll, and in the ring she was like Mike Tyson. She even competed in the National Championship and won 15-3,” Hoskins said.

The day Esparza died, Hoskins had texted her before football camp, but when she didn’t text back, he knew something was wrong. Then football coach Angelo Giacalone called him out to talk to him.

“When I first heard the news, my stomach dropped and my heart slowed down. My first emotion was rage, like, ‘Why couldn’t it be me?’ It had been the worst experience I’d ever gone through,” Hoskins said.

The funeral was held June 16.

“The funeral for me was so hard,” Hoskins said. “It was the worst pain watching someone I loved so much get put into the ground at such a young age.”