Brevard Climbing competes at local gym

BREVARD, N.C. – The newly introduced Brevard Climbing team competed in a local competition hosted at Brevard Rock Gym on Sunday evening. The team had several members place in the top 3, as student-athletes from Brevard College battled against 40 other competitors from the area.

The athletes competed in bouldering competitions, which involve climbers scaling short but challenging routes using balance, technique, strength, and cognitive skills.

Coach Travis Gray was pleased by the dedication his athletes demonstrated during the competition.

“Since this competition wasn’t a requirement of our team members, it was really great to see them taking it upon themselves to compete and support each other,” Gray said. “Initiative and dedication has been our primary focus since we became an official competitive sports team here at Brevard College less than a month ago. Their participation and performance served as a good gauge of where we are in terms of leadership, competition skill, and their head space in a low-pressure atmosphere.”

Lauren Fowler finished third place in the women’s advanced competition. Fellow teammate Sam Munson placed second place in the women’s intermediate group, and Caroline Safford turned in a first place in the women’s recreational event.

Fowler reflected on her third-place performance and the importance of having the support of the team, which she said has helped her perform so well during her three years at Brevard.

“It was really cool to finish third in advanced,” said Fowler. “I really was not expecting that finish at all, and I am grateful to have had the chance to push myself at this competition. At times climbing can be such a mental game. If we feel like we are climbing at a certain level then we get nervous about trying anything harder, but being able to watch so many people I know from the College and community putting it all out there, and giving everything they have, that energy is powerful. It is not something we can just ignore, and it really gets me fired up and passionate about pushing myself to be the best that I can be. Even though we finish the climb as an individual, it takes a community like the one at Brevard College to really get you there.”

The men also experienced success, as freshman Nathan Boepple finished in first place in the men’s recreational competition, and Gabe Braganza turned in a second place finish in the men’s intermediate group.

Freshman Nathan Boepple talked about his first competition, and how the meet was a learning experience.

“It came as a surprise to me that I earned first place in the competition,” said Boepple. “It was a great thrill to hear my name called to the podium. The Brevard Rock Gym competition was my first competition, but luckily, I had supportive teammates on site to educate and encourage me to my success.”

Gray thanked Brevard Rock Gym for organizing, yet another great competition.

“The routes were fun and challenging, and we are looking forward to their hosting of the upcoming USA Climbing-sanctioned collegiate competition this spring.”

The climbers competed individually at this event, but will begin competing as an official team beginning in the spring. They will look to improve on a second-place finish after last years’ regional competition in Chattanooga, Tenn., and then set their sights on a national berth.

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