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Friends, coaches remember "superstar" Glendale tennis player who was "extraordinary" leader

Paul Nahon fell to his death while climbing a Colorado mountain

August 16, 2013|Mary Moloney, Chris Replogle, Gene Hartley | KSPR Reporter, Web Editors

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, Colo. -- Former Glendale tennis state champion Paul Nahon died after falling about 150 feet on Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park.

That peak reaches 14,259 feet.  Park rangers received a 911 call on Thursday morning that a man had fallen from The Narrows on the Keyhole Route on Longs Peak. The route had ice in several spots at the time. Park officials say the man survived the fall, but bystanders reported he had multiple injuries.

An off-duty park volunteer and his climbing party performed CPR, but the climber later died.

"There's stretches of that that's maybe 6 or 8 inches wide with maybe a 200 ft drop, so if it was icy or snowy there and you slip on some lose rocks, you can easily fall there," explained Dan Nash of Satori Adventures and Expeditions. "Along the Narrows, there are areas where it's 5 or 6 feet wide and there's areas where its 10-12 inches wide in a lot of areas."

High winds kept a helicopter crew from recovering his body. Recovery efforts were scheduled to resume Friday, but were stalled when another climber fell in the same area. Park officials say parts of the Keyhole Route may be temporarily closed during air operations.

Nahon won back-to-back state tennis titles in Missouri's Class 2 as a Glendale Falcon in 2010 and 2011, the year he graduated.  He finished his career with a record of 117-7, which the Springfield News-Leader reports is the most tennis wins ever by a high school player in Missouri.   The Falcons won three conference and district team championships while Nahon was there.

Nahon was born Sept. 17, 1992. He was about to attend Colorado College in Colorado Springs to study the international political economy and environmental studies, after studying two years at University of Richmond in Virginia to study international business. Nahon also had a LinkedIn account that has other information about his life.

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt issued this statement on Friday morning:

"The Nahon family has been part of my life and career during all my time in public service.  Paul's grandmother, Sharon Nahon, ran my Springfield office when I was secretary of state and for the 14 years I served in the U.S. House of Representatives.  I've known Paul since he was born, and he worked in my Washington office this summer, where he did an outstanding job - as was the case in everything he pursued.  From tennis, to academics, to his friends and family, Paul was a young man with limitless potential.  I talked to the Nahons last night, and along with my entire family, I am thinking about them as they deal with this tragedy."

Douglas Elly coached Nahon in tennis since Paul was nine-years-old. He said he couldn't believe the boy with so much promise is gone.

"He wanted to live life to the fullest and in a respectful manner. He appreciated everybody's input, he listened to them, and he wanted to make a difference. You know, that for me, that's a big one," said Elly choking up. "He was an old soul, you know. Paul got it, he just understood life."

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One friend put it best as he remembered a favorite quote of Paul's. "f you're too afraid to get high, how do you expect to get to heaven?" That friend said he has no doubt that's where Paul Nahon is right now.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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