A star tennis player at the University of Oregon drowned on Saturday afternoon after jumping off a 60-foot cliff.
Alex Rovello, a 21-year-old junior, hit the water at Blue Pool with his face and upper chest. Sgt. Dave Lawler said Linn County Emergency Dispatch was contacted when Rovello failed to surface.
There were other athletes, including UO football players, at the scene. Efforts to rescue Rovello were unsuccessful because of how far he had gone beneath the water. Blue Pool is located in an area that does not receive cellphone service and a witness to Rovello’s plunge had to run more than two miles before he was able to get service to call 9-1-1 for help.
Dive teams and search and rescue teams found the victim dead at the bottom of Blue Pool about 30 to 40 feet beneath the surface. It is not believed that alcohol was involved.
Rovello was ranked number one in the Pacific Northwest and 24th in the nation at one time. He was a key member of the Ducks’ team, compiling 39-27 singles and 36-18 doubles records in his first two seasons, Corvallis Gazette-Times reported.
“Alex was so much more than a dedicated and exemplary student-athlete at the University of Oregon,” Director of Athletics Rob Mullens said. “He was a son, a brother, 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.” (Ryan Kang/Freelance)
“R.I.P. Alex Rovello,” University of Oregon associate head tennis coach Jonas Piibor posted on his Facebook. “I love you like my own son.”