EUGENE, Ore. – For the remainder of the 2013 season, University of Oregon athletic teams will wear a patch honoring the memory of men’s tennis star Alex Rovello, who passed away May 11 as a result of a diving accident at Tamolitch Falls along the McKenzie River east of Eugene.
The circular black patch with Rovello’s initials in white lettering will be worn by all six of Oregon’s team still in competition this spring, starting Thursday afternoon when the softball team takes the field for the NCAA Tournament against Brigham Young.
Softball players will wear the patches on the back of their batting helmets through the post season, while baseball will do likewise starting with Friday’s series against Oregon State and continuing into the NCAA Tournament.
The men’s and women’s golf teams will wear the patches on their hats and visors as they compete in the NCAA Regionals in Tallahassee, Fla., and NCAA Championships in Athens, Ga., respectively.
Oregon’s men’s and women’s track and field teams will wear the patches on the upper left side of their singlets for both the NCAA Preliminary Rounds in Austin, Texas, and the NCAA Championships June 5-8 at Hayward Field.
The University was granted an exemption by the NCAA to allow the patches to be worn during postseason competition.
A memorial service for Rovello will be held Saturday in his hometown of Portland.
Rovello recorded a 21-8 match record in 2013, playing mostly in the No. 3 and No. 4 spots in singles. He and his partner, Daan Maasland, won 16 matches in the No. 2 and No. 3 doubles spots, tied for eighth most in school history. His sophomore year, he won 21 matches at No. 1 singles, following up on his 18 wins at the No. 1 spot as a freshman.
Rovello joined the Ducks after a successful prep career that saw him go 50-0 in singles and 65-2 overall for Cleveland High School, becoming the first player ever in the state of Oregon to win four consecutive state singles titles. As a prep athlete, Rovello appeared in the June 14, 2010 issue of Sports Illustrated's "Faces In the Crowd".