By Jeremy Balan
Stafone Jackson, a member of Mission High School’s 2010 Academic Athletic Association championship boys basketball team, died on a camping trip of an apparent drowning Tuesday, according to Mission head coach Arnold Zelaya and the Mountain Democrat newspaper.
Jackson, a 20-year-old who was entering his second year at UC Riverside, was on a camping trip with friends at the Union Valley Reservoir in North El Dorado.
According to the Mountain Democrat report, Jackson’s friends called local authorities to report the possible drowning at 12:45 p.m. Tuesday. After initial search crews were unable to locate Jackson, his body was found roughly 150 feet offshore at 3:30 p.m.
“The swim was harder than they anticipated and after resting the group began swimming back,” El Dorado County sheriff’s Sgt. Jim Byers told Jim Ratajczak of the Mountain Democrat. “Approximately halfway back, Jackson began yelling for help and quickly sank before his friends could get to him.”
A two-year varsity football player and three-year varsity basketball player at Mission, Jackson was playing rugby UC Riverside. He graduated at the top of his class at Mission and was volunteering at the Aim High youth program for the past two summers.
“[It’s] really tragic,” Zelaya said on Monday. “[He’s] one of the greatest kids I’ve ever worked with. He was just an outstanding person.”
Update: According to multiple posts on Jackson’s Facebook page, his funeral will be at Little Zion Church at 1245 Divisadero Street in San Francisco on Aug. 12 at 11 a.m.