Monday, February 6, 2012
By RyAnn Lugo
February marks the start of one of the most exciting events of the year, the Collegiate Climbing Series! If you are a college student, CCS is a great opportunity to not only test your growth as a climber, but also meet awesome people and represent your university. Each season consists of 5 local competitions all over the state and this year’s kick off will be hosted, once again, by Vertical Ventures of Tampa, on Saturday, February 4th.
Like ABS or SCS, the Collegiate Climbing Series is an extension of USA climbing, and is, for the most part, a team-based top roping competition. In the past few years, the number of competitors participating has been growing rapidly. Mike Roller, Aiguille member and one of the coaches for the UCF climbing team, has seen this growth. “Since its inception,” says Roller, “the level of competition from the first year to now has definitely increased. The first nationals barely had 50 participants from a hand full of schools. This past year, there were well over 100 participants from schools all around the country.” He also speculates that, as youth climbers from SCS begin climbing in college, the level of competitors in CCS will continually improve. This is possibly also why Florida has become one of the most competitive regions and, of the Regional and National competitions thus far, UCF has managed to place first in all three.
With that said, there is a lot of expectation placed on the UCF climbing team this year, which was directly reflected in the team tryouts, held this past January. Roller provides a little insight on how the coaches went about their selection. “Our team is broken down into two components,” he says, “sponsored and non-sponsored climbers. Anyone at UCF who wants to put in the time is a part of our team, but those members who excel at "tryouts" are considered our "sponsored" climbers, though the only differentiation in our eyes is sponsored climbers get their entrance fees covered.” Based on that, it is clear that when it comes to practice, everyone is equal. This season, UCF hopes to continue their tradition of success. The team has been meeting twice a week for intense conditioning but, according to Roller, it’s the off-season training that, when it comes time to push through that crux move, will provide the climbers with a deep reservoir of strength to draw from. “We are extremely proud of every member who has been putting in a lot of time and effort to improve their climbing,” Roller states, “In particular, our girls are monsters on the wall this year. They are crushing hard and giving the guys a run for their money.”
For anyone interested in what it takes to be on the team, Roller explains that the coaches are simply looking for people who are wiling to put in the work. “No one on our team is a professional climber,” he points out, “and odds are no one will become one. Our team is made of college students who simply want to be the best climbers they can be, and Evan and I try to give them the tools so they can do that. In the past, we have always been very proud of the time and effort the UCF climbers have put in, and we are confident that this years team will live up to that precedent.”
Interested in joining the team? You can visit their website and send them a message, or you can come to practice on Wednesday night or Sunday morning and speak to either coaches, Mike Roller or Evan Jones.
Interested in participating, but not with a team? You can register individually! There's no better way to test your abilities, while getting awesome beta, than rubbing elbows with some of the most dedicated climbers in the state.
Registration is $25, by calling (813) 884-ROCK, or you can pre-register online for a discounted price of $20. A valid student ID, is required to register, so make sure you have it and/or can provide a copy. Also, please note that, in order for the points earned to apply, you must be registered at USAclimbing.org.
This season's CCS Comps in Florida:
4-Feb-12: Vertical Ventures/University of South Florida
18-Feb-12: Gainesville Rock Gym/ University of Florida
3-Mar-12: On the Edge/Florida Institute of Technology
17-Mar-12: The Edge/University of North Florida
31-Mar-12: Aiguille/ University of Central Florida
21-April 12: (Nationals) MetroRock in Boston, MA
If you have any questions, you can contact the regional coordinator, Caleigh Louis, at CaleighJL@gmail.com.
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