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Missouri man killed in Colorado climbing fall was former state tennis champ

A 20-year-old climber killed in a fall at Rocky Mountain National Park was a two-time Missouri state tennis champion and a state record-holder.

The National Park Service said Friday that Paul Nahon, of Springfield, died Thursday in Colorado after falling about 150 feet from the Narrows on the Keyhole Route on Longs Peak, which is more than 14,000 feet tall. The route had ice in several spots.

Park officials said he survived the fall, but bystanders reported Nahon had multiple injuries. An off-duty park volunteer and his climbing party performed CPR.

Nahon, a 2011 graduate of Glendale High School in Springfield, won state tennis titles in 2010 and 2011 and also holds the record for most tennis wins in Missouri Class II high school history with an overall record of 117-7. Glendale won three conference and district championships during Nahon’s time.

Nahon had transferred to Colorado College for the upcoming semester.

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said Friday that Nahon worked as an intern in his Washington office this summer. Blunt said he had known Nahon since birth, because Nahon’s grandmother worked in his Springfield office when he served as a congressman and as Missouri’s secretary of state.

“From tennis, to academics, to his friends and family, Paul was a young man with limitless potential,” Blunt said in a written statement.

Springfield school board member Gerry Lee said Nahon was very talented.

“He was a tremendous athlete, tremendous student and a great kid,” Lee said. “It’s a great family. This is tragic.”

Matt Pearce, the assistant superintendent in nearby Republic, was the principal at Glendale when Nahon was there. He said Nahon had a bright future ahead of him.

“I want to wish his family and friends lots of prayers and sympathy,” he said. “It’s a devastating loss to lose someone at such a young age.”

The recovery of Nahon’s body was delayed Friday when park rangers tended to another climber who was injured after falling about 50 feet, park officials said.

Information from: Springfield News-Leader, http://www.news-leader.com

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