Kevin Gonzalez

Derek Clarkston/Kodiak Daily Mirror Kevin Gonzalez poses in the Kodiak High School wrestling room in 2012. Gonzalez, 20, died Sunday in Anchorage.

The Kodiak High School wrestling program lost a member of its family over the weekend.

Kevin Gonzalez-Bermuduz, 20, died early Sunday morning when the car he was driving struck a tree off Northern Lights Boulevard near the University of Alaska Anchorage, according to a release from the Anchorage Police Department.

Kodiak coach Pat Costello couldn’t believe the news when he heard it.

“It is a sad state for everybody, but especially the wrestling program,” said Costello Tuesday afternoon.

Gonzalez-Bermudez graduated from KHS in 2013, and was a student at Alaska Pacific University.

As a senior in high school he qualified for the 4A state wrestling championships and went 2-2 in the 138-pound classification.

Gonzalez-Bermudez was born in Kodiak but moved to Panama at age 5. He returned to the island as a freshman and immediately joined the wrestling team.

He was a victory shy of reaching the state tournament as a sophomore and junior.

“He was really a nice guy,” Costello said. “He tried real hard, worked hard and guys liked him.”

The initial investigation of the crash revealed the vehicle, while traveling westbound, crossed over the median into the eastbound lanes and hit a tree near Wesleyan Drive.

APD and UAA police responded just after 4:30 a.m. and found Gonzalez-Bermudez dead inside a Toyota RAV4. According to Anchorage TV station KTUU there was no initial indication of drugs and alcohol being involved in the crash.

Gonzalez-Bermudez was the only person in the vehicle, and the cause of the crash is still under investigation, according to the release.

Gonzalez-Bermudez’s younger brother, Bryan, is a sophomore on Kodiak’s wrestling team. Costello said Kevin watched his brother wrestle at the state championships in February.

“It directly affects the team,” Costello said.

Derek Clarkston is a staff writer at the Kodiak Daily Mirror. Contact him at (907) 486-3227, ext. 625.

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