A tennis player from the University of Oregon drowned this weekend after jumping off of a 60-foot cliff into Blue Pool on the McKenzie River.
Alex Rovello, 21, was at the river with his friends on Saturday afternoon. Witnesses said that the young tennis player hit the water with his face and chest and never returned to the surface.
Friends tried to rescue Rovello from the water but they were unsuccessful due to the 37-degree temperature of the water. It also took a long time for witnesses to get help since there is no cell service in the area. A witness had to run more than two miles before successfully reaching 911.
Director of Athletics Rob Mullens said: “Alex was so much more than a dedicated and exemplary student-athlete at the University of Oregon. He was a son, a friend, a teammate, a leader, whose warm personality brought everyone together and whose contributions to the extended Oregon community will resonate long after today. On behalf of the UO family, we extend our sympathies to Alex’s family, and we will honor his memory each and every day.”
Sgt. Dave Lawler with the Linn County Sheriff’s Office said that alcohol was not a factor in the young tennis player’s death.
ESPN notes that Rovello had a 21-8 match record this season. He also won 16 doubles matches with partner Daan Maasland. At Portland’s Cleveland High School, he became the first boys player to win four singles state titles and ended his high school career with a 50-o record.
UO tennis coach Nils Schyllander said in a statement: “The Oregon tennis family is devastated by the loss of Alex. He was an amazing person and teammate and his spirit will live on forever with all of us who were fortunate enough to have known him. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his parents, Geri and Jim Rovello, and to the entire family.”