Local students climb to the top
The chalk dust has settled at the Grand Junction Climbing Center, and the Western Slope High School Climbing Regional Championships are finished.
On Saturday, Feb. 11, almost 120 students from nine area schools competed for the right to attend state championships. They battled tough boulder problems and tougher roped routes to decide the strongest high school climbers on the Western Slope.
The event was a test of strength, skill, strategy and support. After more than six hours of competition, the results were in. A number of local climbers represented the Roaring Fork Valley well.
Representing Colorado Rocky Mountain School, the overall Western Slope girls varsity champion was Mollie Podmore of Glenwood Springs. She was followed by Jessica Gerstner of Glenwood Springs High School.
The CRMS girls varsity group won the overall Western Slope Championship, with strong showings by Carbondale locals Torrey Sanson in fifth and Lea Linse in the sixth. The girls junior varsity included three more CRMS qualifiers for the state championships in Colorado Springs – Cleo Ulatowski of New York, Heidi Cao of Shanghai and Nicole Lipe of Seattle.
“My inspiration to qualify for the state championship came from a constant reassurance from my coaches, teammates and my parents,” Sanson said. “I am incredibly excited to have the chance to represent them in states.”
Not to be outdone, local boys climbed well also.
Battling 67 boys from the region, Carbondale local, and freshman phenom, Nikken Daniels placed second in the boys varsity division. He was followed by CRMS teammate Sammy Martin in fourth place.
Ben Pope represented Glenwood Springs High School well, placing 10th overall.
The CRMS Oysters’ qualifiers for states were rounded out by Tim Collins of Boulder in 19th place, Raleigh Gambino of West Virginia in 21st, Iain Coolley of Fruita in 22nd and Josh Carter of Boulder in 24th.
Along with other Western Slope qualifiers, the Glenwood Springs High School and Colorado Rocky Mountain School students will travel to CityRock in Colorado Springs to vie for the state championship next weekend. They will face students from three other regions in Colorado.
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