by Dalton Carver
Student athletes ranging in experience levels will have an opportunity to show off their climbing skills at this weekend’s home climbing competition at Ridgway Secondary School. Just the second meet of the year, the competition will continue to lay the foundation for each climber’s improvement and discipline.
The team is led by a veteran coaching squad of Lance Sullins, Craig Spearman and Amber King. Sullins has been with the team for about three years, while the other two have been leading it for four.
The trio has coached climbing teams which have included athletes that have journeyed to state competitions and finished in the top 10 in the region. This year, they’re mentoring a group of younger climbers, but the goals are the same – helping each climber improve over the season and providing a lifelong form of recreation.
Although there are competitions throughout the season, Sullins and Spearman said the meets are more community-oriented as opposed to competitive.
“At the competitions, kids from different schools are cheering each other on and coaches are helping kids from other schools,” said Spearman, who is in the assistant coach role this year. “It’s really about personally getting better and more of an everybody pushes each other mentality.”
The 18 climbers this year are led by seniors and team captains James Northey, Owen Juell, Johnathan Bruss and Sam Scherner, a first-year climber. Spearman said about three-quarters of the team has climbing experience, but the remaining quarter joined the team for a new experience.
“They’ve taken it upon themselves to try a new sport and get involved with the team, which is pretty cool,” he said. “There’s a really cool climber community ethic that is pervasive in the gym, which is what we want to produce in kids.”
“Some of the kids show up to tryouts and they’ve never put climbing shoes or a harness on,” said Sullins, leading this year’s team as the head coach. “They’re brand new.”
Since tryouts earlier this fall, the 18 athletes have been honing their skills at practice. However, training sessions aren’t always as simple as...