Vail climbers reach nationals |

Vail climbers reach nationals

Daily Staff Report
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado -Success is in the air, along with a cloud of climbing chalk dust and the sound of psyched kids.

Even with snow on the ground, the children of the Vail Athletic Club are rock climbing, on plastic holds at indoor gyms statewide each weekend as part of the American Bouldering Series (ABS) local competitions.

The VAC Climbing team took 14 to the Boulder Rock Club on January 16, 2009recently for regionals, competing with some of the strongest climbers in the nation, and several of the US Climbing Team members, for a chance to qualify for the National Championship.

The VAC had 14 athletes attend Regionals: Luke Rasmussen, Becca Wirth, Athena Bowe-Janssen, Annika Heid, Logan Jauernigg, Mac Kelsall, Hannah Patterson, Dudley Ottley, Axelina Manning, Julia Heid, Jonah Zeigler, Amalia Manning, Alex Raichart and Abby Townsend. Half of these athletes had never been to Regionals and have been climbing for 3 to 15 months, which is a testament to their dedication and competitive spirit!

Less than half of the competitors qualify for the finals round and only the top-three or -four finishers receive an invitation to the ABS National Championships in Alexandria, Va. The top-three finishers in each gender/age division at nationals are chosen for the U.S. Climbing Team to compete internationally and eventually in the Olympics.

Of the team’s 14 athletes, fivequalified for finals and received an invitation to nationals. Rasmussen and Jauernigg are veterans at nationals, but for Becca Wirth, Mac Kelsall and Julia Heid, this will be their first time. Congratulations to all of the competitors for making the season-long commitment to improve their technique, to get stronger and to put themselves up against some of the best climbers around as well as to coaches Larry Moore and Adam Markert .

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