Eagle Climbing and Fitness athletes shine at American Scholastic Climbing League regional championships
Climbers from all four area high schools will compete at the state championships on Feb. 25
Eagle Valley climbers took second place in the girls high school division of last Saturday’s American Scholastic Climbing League (ASCL) Western Slope regional championships, held at Eagle Climbing and Fitness. The event saw nine Eagle Climbing and Fitness athletes, representing all four area high schools, qualify for the ASCL state championships on Feb. 25.
“The fact that our girls got second to Colorado Rocky Mountain School, that’s a really big feather in their cap going into the state event,” said coach and Eagle Climbing and Fitness owner Larry Moore.
Eagle Valley High School students Iris Sheldon placed third, Reese Manley was 11th and Mary Friery took 18th. It was the first regional the Devils, who were second to Colorado Rocky Mountain School, had the necessary three athletes to produce a girls team score.
“I would say they do have a chance of getting on the podium at state as well,” Moore added. “It’s a culmination of individual efforts but all of those athletes just continue to perform better and better as they get more relaxed in a competitive environment.”
In order to qualify for the state competition in Broomfield later this month, an athlete’s State Qualification Composite Score needed to be the top 10 regionally. Sixty percent of an athlete’s SQCS comes from their best three in-region competition scores from the regular season meets, with the remaining 40% coming from Saturday’s regional, which featured 170 climbers.
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“It was just a great event,” said Moore, who also praised the coaches and route-setting staff that ensured holds were properly assembled and routes were top notch. “The athletes and coaches notice that. It’s why we continue to get this event at our facility. These people are incredibly important to our facility, the growth of the children and the success of the sports and the success of an event.”
Eagle Valley freshman Elliot Gray-Lopresti turned out the top individual performance at the high school level, climbing to second overall. Gray-Lopestri was in a close dual with Colorado Rocky Mountain School’s Devin Bush, an athlete who moved to Colorado from North Carolina to join CRMS’s prestigious climbing team.
“Devin and Elliot are both really strong state contenders for podium at states. They’re both some of the strongest in the entire state,” Moore said.
During the competition climbers select from 20 “routes” and “boulders,” which are ranked easiest (1) to hardest (20). Point values based on difficulty are given to athletes who get to the top of the “problems,” which can be attempted more than once. Bush claimed route No. 20 on his first try.
“Which was absolutely incredible to see; that was an amazing climb,” Moore said. “That’s how he won, but Elliot was right there.”
Gray-Lopresti got boulder No. 19, which Bush failed to climb.
“Seeing his confidence — that young man has just grown into such a great competitor,” Moore said of Gray-Lopresti. “It was great to see him just thriving in a a competitive environment. That was the highlight for me was just to see him smiling so much with his performance.”
Gray-Lopresti, along with Ella Regjo and Dylan Hewitt — who won Saturday’s middle school boys competition – will head to the USA divisional championships (separate from ASCL) next weekend in Oklahoma City.
“So that was really nice for him to have a big successful event this past weekend and kind of ride that success into the next weekend,” Moore said of Hewitt, who almost doubled the second-place score but needed 12 attempts at his most difficult problem.
“Kind of cool to see that process of someone failing over and over and yet learning from each of those attempts and finding success in the end. That was a really cool moment for him in the competition — his confidence has just grown so much,” Moore said.
“As much as we like to see good results, the process of watching a competitive athlete and seeing how they maintain their composure and drive and focus even when things are really challenging for them — that’s the life skill we’re trying to instill in these athletes: persistence and confidence and belief in themselves and being persistent in achieving their goals.”