Eagle Climbing + Fitness hosts high school climbing state championships
Eagle Climbing + Fitness hosted the American Scholastic Climbing League’s High School State Championships over the weekend, the biggest event on the high school climbing league calendar in Colorado.
The 10,500-square-foot facility in Eagle opened last year and while owner/operator Larry Moore has brought several large-scale events to the new gym, few have had the excitement and crowds of the high school state championships.
Moore said about 450 to 500 climbers and their families had been in and out of the facility throughout the day on Saturday, many visiting Eagle for the first time.
Among the first-time visitors was 16-year-old Jack Gowen, of Denver, who was crowned state champion over the weekend.
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“I was really surprised by the quality of the setting that they have here,” Gowen said. “I wasn’t expecting it to be that advanced within the setting technique, but it really blew me away, the amount of work that the setters were able to put in, and the amount of creativity they were able to put into the climbs.”
Gowen’s observations are a review Moore has been wanting to hear, as route setting has been a focus of the training at the Eagle gym. During the World Cup bouldering event in Vail in 2019, a group of route setters who were working the event put on a competition route setting clinic for the local workers.
“We timed it so we could have some of the best setters out there come to town just a little bit early, host the (route-setting clinic), and then they were off to Vail to start setting up the World Cup,” Moore said. “It has really added to our overall professionalism.”
Only one route didn’t get completed by competitors on Saturday, the sign of a perfect set-up.
“It’s an art,” Moore said. “It’s very challenging to not make it so hard that it’s not fun for the JV kids, or too easy for the most advanced climbers.”
Gowan said that the gym accommodated crowds well.
“I think that the gym did a really good job with the space that they had available to run a really efficient and well-run comp,” he said.
‘A lot more relaxed’
Gowan started climbing when he was about 12 years old, and has been participating in the scholastic league through the climbing program at Kent Denver since he was a freshman. When he won regionals earlier this season, it occurred to him that he might be able to put up a good result at the state championship, as well.
“It stayed as a central idea in my mind, but I tried not to focus on that goal of winning, I tried to just focus on each individual climb and focus on figuring out each move in the sequence of the climb,” he said. “I really think that it helped me keep a level head, and a straightforward view of the comp.”
Gowan also participates in USA Climbing, a more competitive circuit than the American Scholastic Climbing League, but one where athletes are not trying to achieve a team championship.
“High school climbing is a lot more relaxed, a lot more strategy oriented,” he said.
Eagle County’s top climber for the weekend, Battle Mountain senior Amalia Manning, finished her high school career on Saturday with another podium at the state championship, her third in four years.
Moore said between Amalia Manning, her sister Aiden Manning and local climber Sage Eaton, the team had a shot at winning state. But Eaton ended up taking a fall and breaking her ankle, rendering her unable to compete at Saturday’s state championship.
“At the regional championship, they beat the team that ended up winning state,” Moore said. “So it was a really exciting season for them.”
1 Jack Gowen, Kent Denver
2 Chase Wilson, Denver South
3 Cody Wentler, Denver South
4 Savian Johnson, Fountain Valley
5 Mac Muir, Colorado Rocky Mountain School
6 Jackson Turner, Colorado Rocky Mountain School
7 Maxwell Campbell, Cheyenne Mountain
8 Wiley Holbrooke, Telluride
9 Connor Baty, Castle View
10 Tracy Orvis, Ridgway
11 Cooper Carson, Colorado Academy
12 Henry Palmaz, Aspen
13 Benjamin Dantas, Battle Mountain
14 Zane Mullally, Colorado Rocky Mountain School
15 Logan Righter, Montrose
16 Bowen de Valois, Gunnison
17 Adrian Franz-Garrison, Liberty
18 Eric Yergenson, Montrose
19 Sean Paton, Colorado Academy
20 Zac Holman, Evergreen
21 Nathan Kopacz, Palmer Ridge
22 Jonathan Malavasi, Jefferson Academy
23 Ash Brown, Montrose
24 Benjamin Cross, Palmer Ridge
25 Logan Seymour, Cheyenne Mountain
26 M’so Jones, Colorado Rocky Mountain School
26 Bodi Dallas, Colorado Rocky Mountain School
28 Luke Richards, Front Range Christian
29 Morgan Crosby, Gunnison
30 Albert Burkle, Fountain Valley
31 Joseph Mason Weaver, Mountain Vista
32 Makar Shpilenok, Fountain Valley
33 Jarrett Vidmar, Liberty
34 Jacob Thomassens, Fountain Valley
35 Aiden Hughes, Rock Canyon
36 Reilly Kaczmarek, Fountain Valley
37 Cameron Hermes, Roaring Fork
38 Jonas Jensen, Golden
39 Mike Xie, Colorado Rocky Mountain School
40 Finn Phillips, Northfield
41 Max Elder, Kent Denver
42 Sam Stier, Palmer Ridge
43 Nate Mount, Gunnison
44 Nathan Wilking, Rock Canyon
45 Dante B Cometto, Front Range Christian
46 Wyatt Schmitt, Denver South
47 Harris May, Colorado Academy
48 rent Hanney, Palmer Ridge
49 Will Savage, Mountain Vista
50 Sam Frain, Mountain Vista
51 Tannyr McKesson, Mountain Vista
52 Hayden Wolfe, Colorado Academy
53 Nyklas McKesson, Mountain Vista
54 Aiden Shanks, Jefferson Academy
55 Ammon Woodland, Montrose
56 Benjamin King, Cheyenne Mountain
57 Seth Gerow, Golden
58 Rowan Bourke, Telluride
59 Mark Hartlaub, Palmer Ridge
60 Daniel Havlat, Golden
61 Torin Monthathong, Denver South
62 Patrick Kruse, Cherry Creek
63 Andrew McCormick, Mountain Vista
64 Sawyer Greer, Cherry Creek
1 Ceci Davies, Clear Creek
2 Amalia Manning, Battle Mountain
3 Sonja Kainulainen, Colorado Rocky Mountain School
4 Aiden Manning, Battle Mountain
5 Emily Hartley, Rock Canyon
6 Ceri Evans, Evergreen
7 Margalit Goldberg, Denver South
8 Margo Salyers, Arapahoe
9 Audrey Safer, The Vanguard School
10 Adli Gates, Ridgway
11 Kaishya Desai, Mountain Vista
12 Lydia Loken, Gunnison
13 Aspen Kimlicko, Fountain Valley
14 Emily Koontz, ThunderRidge
15 Anabelle Copeland, Front Range Christian
16 Maya Magee, Fountain Valley
17 Alice Amdur, Colorado Rocky Mountain School
18 Grace Harrington, Basalt
19 Ellie Prehn, Golden
20 Autumn Christeson, Cherry Creek
21 Brooklee Baybeck, Golden
22 Ciara Gavaghan, Cherry Creek
23 Quinn Williams, Coronado
24 Chloe Bailey, Unattached – SOCO
25 Bridgette Sauter, Mountain Vista
26 Charlotte Luth, Northfield
27 Emily Merwin Olk, Denver South
28 Agnes Mortensen, Fountain Valley
29 Stella Guy Warren, Colorado Rocky Mountain School
29 Nicole Peirson, Colorado Rocky Mountain School
29 Willa Schendler, Colorado Rocky Mountain School
32 Megan Neubaum, Montrose
33 Kathryn O’Hayre, Gunnison
34 Britania Van’t Land, Coronado
35 Kayla Bolane, Ridgway
36 Martina Ritz, Gunnison
37 Arabella Ernst, Front Range Christian
38 Elaina Phiel, Northfield
39 Aidan Patrick, Cherry Creek
40 Chocie Landvik, Jefferson Academy
41 Nikki Harris, Aspen
42 Kaia Schiff, Cherry Creek
43 Kassie Yeager, Montrose
44 Sarah Hartman, Montrose
45 Layla Esrey, Fountain Valley
46 Frances Healy, Cherry Creek
47 Sophie Knuettel, Fountain Valley
48 Kaiya Vierra, Jefferson Academy
49 Abby Klapp, Palmer Ridge
50 Sienna Sundeen, Front Range Christian
50 Maya Magallanes, Jefferson Academy
50 Selene Li, Colorado Rocky Mountain School
53 Marian Prather, Jefferson Academy
54 Sage Cramer, Cherry Creek
54 Olivia Lindsay, Delta
56 Hailey DeYoung, Castle View
57 Claire Schell, Fountain Valley
58 Charlotte Kropf, Cherry Creek
59 Katie Baker, Liberty
60 Lauren Meyer, Mountain Vista
61 Lily Brace, Castle View
62 Zoe Rawls, Mountain Vista
63 Maddie Dunn, Fountain Valley
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.