Reno Community Loses Two Long-Time CrossFit Dads in Plane Crash as GoFundMe Set Up

March 5, 2023 by
Courtesy of Alvie Hafen
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On February 24, long-time CrossFit athletes Ryan Watson, a flight paramedic, and flight nurse Ed Pricola lost their lives in a plane crash that was transporting a patient to Salt Lake City, UT.

Though it’s not clear what caused the crash, one of the plane’s wings was found half a mile away from the plane, explained Alvie Hafen, the head coach at Upstate Nevada in Reno, adding that it was “super stormy that day.”

An investigation is ongoing.

About Watson: Watson, 27, was a member of Upstate Nevada, a non-profit affiliate in Reno, and was on his first paramedic shift back after taking some time off after his wife Kailey Watson gave birth to the couple’s first child, Carter, in January.

About Pricola: Pricola, a former marine, was a 32-year-old father, who had two young children—Riley and Everett—with his wife Lauren Pricola, and was a long-time member of Double Edge Fitness in Reno.

A devastated community: Hafen had the pleasure of knowing both Watson and Pricola well. He coached Pricola at Double Edge Fitness for a number of years before moving to Upstate Nevada, where he was coaching Watson up until the accident.

  • “It has been rough. Ryan asked me about three months before his son was born what it was like to be a dad. And I told him it was the best, most rewarding, but fucking hardest thing ever. He laughed and was super excited to be a dad,” Hafen said, wiping away tears. 
  • “I know both their wives pretty well…How do you tell your kids their dad isn’t coming home?”

Stepping up to help: The Reno CrossFit communities have set up GoFundMe’s for both Watson and Pricola in hopes of helping with funeral costs, housing costs, and any other future costs to “offset some of the burden” on their wives, Hafen explained. 

  • As of March 2, Watson’s fundraiser had raised more than $242,000, while Pricola’s had raised more than $72,000.
  • Upstate Nevada also has plans to host a workout in honor of both Watson and Pricola, although the details haven’t been ironed out just yet, Hafen said, as it’s still super fresh.

Though very much deep in grief, Hafen offered these words about his two friends: “Ryan and Ed were the best of us. They lived to serve those around them. Their dedication to their families is unmatched. The world is a little less bright without them in it,” he said. 

The families have asked that their privacies be respected at this time.

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