Trigger warning: This story contains content regarding the untimely passing of a Cuesta College student.
It’s been nearly three months since the passing of Cuesta College student athlete Estefania Cerna Arroyo, and the cause of death remains unknown.
Since September 25, and as recently as Dec. 12, The Cuestonian made efforts to uncover further information on the passing. The Santa Barbara County Coronerâ€™s office said the investigation into the cause of death of Arroyo remained pending. They directed further inquiries to Raquel Zick, Public Information Officer for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, who did not respond to repeated attempts for comment.Â
As of now, the cause of death is still unknown.Â
Arroyo, 18, a student athlete at Cuesta College who played on the womenâ€™s water polo team, passed away on September 25.
â€œIt pains us deeply to inform you of the loss of one of our current water polo students, Estefania Cerna Arroyo,â€ said Elizabeth Coria, Interim Assistant Superintendent/Vice President of Student Success & Support Programs at Cuesta College, in an email statement. â€œEstefania, 18 years old passed away on Saturday September 25, 2021. Estefania began their educational journey at Cuesta College Fall 2021 majoring in Biology, with aspirations of attending Medical school to become a surgeon. Estefania is survived by her mother, father, step-father and siblings.Â
â€œOur thoughts and deepest sympathy are with the family during this difficult time,â€ Coriaâ€™s email statement continued. â€œThe loss of one of our students is an incredible grief, but no one has to bear this loss on their own. Our Student Health Services Team is available to provide access to mental health services.â€
Lanni Hardin, a second-year member of the Cuesta Womenâ€™s Water Polo team, spoke fondly of her former teammate.Â
â€œOne of the most purely kind people Iâ€™ve ever met,â€ Hardin said.
The Cuesta Womenâ€™s Water Polo team hasnâ€™t played since September 17, and no new updates have been posted on the teamâ€™s official website since October 8. The team is currently 4-4 but their schedule indicates that the remainder of the season is cancelled.
Rich Firman, Head Coach of the Cuesta Womenâ€™s Water Polo team, commented on the teamâ€™s loss, and overall difficulties theyâ€™ve recently faced.
â€œEveryone is shocked, I think the sentiment is, â€˜How could this happen?â€™ We just don’t understand,â€ Firman said. â€œThe team is really feeling the impact of Estefaniaâ€™s death, in combination with all the stresses due to COVID it’s been a tough couple of years. Iâ€™m really seeing the impact on the players.â€
Arroyo is survived by her mother, father, step-father and siblings. The family has established a GoFundMe page in her name to accrue funds for the memorial.
Daniel Burg contributed to this story.