The inspiring story of the great Cal women's crew coxswain Jill Costello has been well-documented. Costello led the Cal varsity 4+ both to a fourth place finish in the 2008 National Championship and second place in the Pac-10 Championships. In 2009 she led them to first place in the varsity 4+ Pac-10 championships and another fourth place finish at Nationals. Finally in 2010, she led her varsity 8+ boat to a Pac-10 championship and fourth place in the 2010 National Championship. Her career at Cal was one of the most decorated in crew history, and she was named Pac-10 Athlete of the Year in her final season.
A month later, she was gone.
Costello's real battle as a Cal Bear came outside the water, as she battled lung cancer to the very end. That's where the real story begins, and that's what ESPN featured yesterday. Check out the video after the jump.
For those who want to read more on Costello, you can check the California Golden Blogs tribute of her many incredible accomplishments in life that extended beyond the boat. These accomplishments involve the setup of a lung cancer foundation, the completion of her Cal degree in political economy, and set up the Team Jill tradition that will ensure her teammates, friends and Golden Bears will help fight lung cancer.