'Lauren would want us to go out there and compete'

EUGENE, Ore. - Students waved signs and wore t-shirts with the number 51 on them at Saturday night's Acrobatics and Tumbling meet at Matthew Knight Arena between the University of Oregon and Concordia University Wisconsin.

Lauren Jones wore No. 51 for the Ducks. She moved to Oregon from Georgia for college and to compete on the acrobatics team.

The 18-year-old died Tuesday from meningococcemia, a contagious bacterial infection.

The same infection has sent three other Oregon students to the hospital this year.

Lauren's friends and teammates told reporters Friday that this meet and the rest of the season will be dedicated to her.

"It definitely drives us to be better because we knew that Lauren would want us to go out there and compete to the best of our abilities," said Sydnee Walton.

"Sydnee, who was closest to her since a young child, is going to be wearing her jersey," said head coach Chelsea Shaw. "That will be for her as well."

Jersey patches with the letters "LJ" will be worn by the entire team for the rest of the season.

The Ducks won the competition Saturday in front of the largest crowd ever to attend a home meet.

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