Sadly, tragedy has struck the Nevada football program.
According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, Marc Ma was one of a half-dozen or so Wolf Pack football players who went paddle boarding Friday afternoon on Lake Tahoe. At some point during the outing, police were called after Ma disappeared.
From the Gazette-Journal:
Ma was with five other Wolf Pack football players, who were on a paddle board trip at Lake Tahoe’s west shore. The group turned toward shore because of high winds that caused 3 to 5-foot swells, authorities said.
“Everyone else in the group had been washed off their boards,” Placer County Sheriff’s deputies said on the agency’s Facebook post. “Mark headed back to shore to get help.”
Obexer’s Marina Sports staff went out on the water to help.
“They had their eyes off of him for two minutes, and he was gone,” Erwin said, adding Obexer’s Marina Sports staff only found his paddle board and life vest in the water.
“Only one of the six was wearing their life vest,” she said. “The biggest take away from this is people have to wear personal flotation devices.”
Firefighters abandoned their search late Saturday night, with Ma being presumed drowned.
He was just 20 years old.
Below is a statement from Wolf Pack head coach Brian Polian.
The Placer County Sheriff’s Office is calling this search one of recovery, not rescue. As such, it is with an incredibly heavy heart that we acknowledge the loss of Marc Ma, a beloved member of our Wolf Pack family.
“Laura and I spent time at the lake today with Marc’s parents, Michele and Michael, and our thoughts and prayers are with Marc’s entire family and friends in Hawaii and with those close to him here in Reno. We share in their devastation and will support them in any way we can. We are thankful for the courageous efforts of search personnel.
“Marc was a very special young man and it was an honor to work with him. He was universally liked and respected by his teammates, coaches and staff. Marc excelled in the classroom and had grown by leaps and bounds in the weight room and on the football field. His easy smile and cheerful demeanor belied a fierce competitive nature that would emerge in practice and excite our team.
“Our team has lost a friend and a brother and we are hurting right now. I have no doubt that we will rally together to love and support one another in manner that will honor Marc’s memory.