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Celebration of life set for UCSD pole vaulter

A celebration of life in honor of former UC San Diego student-athlete Leon Roach has been set for 6:00 p.m. at the Waterfront Hilton in Huntington Beach on Saturday.

Roach, a sophomore physiology and neuroscience major in Revelle College, was injured while doing a training exercise last Thursday. He passed away at Scripps Memorial Hospital on Saturday.

“Our hearts go out to the Roach family in their time of loss,” UCSD Director of Athletics Earl W. Edwards said. “Leon was a tremendous scholar athlete with an incredibly bright future. We are terribly saddened by the loss of a member of the Triton family.”

As a freshman pole-vaulter on the UCSD track and field team last season, Roach placed fourth at the San Diego City Championships, clearing 14' 5.25". He took fifth at the 2009 California Collegiate Athletic Association Championships in Turlock with a leap of 14' 5.5".

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Roach came from a family of successful pole-vaulters. His father, Leon Roach II, cleared 16' 18.75" inches at the University of Hawaii in the 1970s and had aspirations of competing in the Olympics, while his half-brother Curtis Hendrick cleared 15' 4" inches at Marina High School.

Roach also hit that mark at Marina, which tied for the second best jump in school history.

Roach enjoyed listening to music, playing ultimate Frisbee, riding motorcycles, or spending time with family and friends in his spare time. He had plans to pursue a career as a neurologist.

  • From UCSD Athletic Department