Friends, faculty remember tennis star Rovello

Credit: KGW file photo 2010

Alex Rovello spoke with KGW after a semi-final round of his final high school tournament in 2010.

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by Michael Rollins

Bio | Email | Follow: @KGWNews

kgw.com

Posted on May 14, 2013 at 11:05 AM

Updated Tuesday, May 14 at 5:39 PM

PORTLAND -- Kind. Joyful. Humble.

These words best describe Alex Rovello, said Cleveland High School counselor Jennifer Van Kopp.

Rovello died tragically last weekend after taking a 60-foot leap off a cliff on the McKenzie River into what's called Blue Pool.

More: UO tennis player drowns after 60-foot leap

"I remember him as never having a bad day, always a smile on his face," she said.

His legacy as a tennis star was initially lost on the counselor. "In fact, I knew he played tennis, kind of," she said, "but I had no idea that he was Alex Rovello, tennis player."

He would be the Alex Rovello that won four straight prep individual tennis titles, leading Cleveland to a team victory his senior year.

KGW spoke with him his senior year in 2010.

"Yeah I was just very happy this was my last semi final in high school," he said, "Just the fact I could pull it out and keep my head together."

The death stunned Cleveland principal Paul Cook.

"Usually when you come back after a weekend you are ready to go and it's the start of the week," Cook said. "There's this hush of solemn, and everyone is in thought and thinking about Alex and his family. It's heart wrenching."

The school will help his family in any way, Cook said. "I can't imagine the loss that his parents are feeling right now and they need to know that whatever we can do, the Cleveland community is there for them."

UO photojournalism instructor Dean Morrison was equally shocked.

"To lose anyone is a tragedy, but he was such an exceptional young man," he said.

A memorial service was planned for Saturday, May 18th.

A fund has been set up in his name for renovations to the tennis courts at the City of Portland's Berkeley Park. Contributions can be made at any branch of Wells Fargo bank.

"You imagine such great things for them," said counselor Van Kopp. "And then it's just boom, cut short like that. It's devastating."

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