Perkins climbing in Austria before starting collegiate career
September 6, 2017 | Lynchburg, Va.
One week after settling in on Liberty University's campus, freshman Tori Perkins packed her bags again on Friday as one of 10 members of the Atlanta-based Team Stone Summit to compete in the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) Youth World Championships in Austria.
The qualifying round of Perkins' sport division is set for today with the finals on Friday.
"Climbing, for me, it's my passion," Perkins said. "I love competing, I like the butterfly-in-the-stomach feeling. My goal is to make finals in sport climbing and to have a positive attitude in the competition and to be a platform for Christ and to encourage my teammates."
She has traveled around the world to compete on four of its seven continents — all but Antarctica, Australia, and South America. She entered the past two Youth World Championships in Italy, where 51 countries were represented, and China, which attracted over 1,000 climbers, making it the largest competition to date. She has also taken spring break trips to France, Greece, and South Africa with USA Youth Rock Climbing coach Claudio Vidulescu of Romania. Her aspirations are to compete for Team USA at the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo, where rock climbing will make its Olympic debut.
"It's always been a dream of mine to compete in the Olympics, so I would like to pursue that," said Perkins, who admits it will be a challenge to balance her training regimen with her responsibilities as a nursing student at Liberty. "I love sport climbing because it's more endurance-based versus bouldering, which is more power-based. I'm more naturally built for endurance."
|Tori Perkins has visited France, Greece, and South Africa on spring break rock climbing trips.|
Perkins didn't start rock climbing until she was in high school, after previously competing in cross country, but it was love at first summit. She has accelerated in the sport with a steep learning curve and tremendous support from her teammates and coaches.
She approaches the sport as a means to reach others with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
"Definitely, it revolves around bringing glory to God," Perkins said. "That's my platform and that's one of the main reasons I do the sport, to make His presence known in the climbing community."
Besides Vidulescu, Perkins has worked with Olexiy Shul'ga, the top speed climbing coach from Ukraine who stayed with her family in Alpharetta, Ga., for five months last year. She is looking forward to climbing for the Lady Flames as a member of the second-year Club Sports team coached by Elliot Gaunt.
"This is my last year in USA Climbing for youth, but I'm super excited to start training on the team here and to start competing in collegiate this year," Perkins said. "I hope it grows a lot."
Perkins will be complemented by senior Alex Talay on the women's team while Tristan Landon ranks among the Flames' top men's climbers.
"(Perkins) will definitely be one of our strongest, and most experienced, climbers," said Gaunt, who showed Perkins the ropes at the LaHaye Recreation and Fitness Center rock wall and helped train her for this week's competition in Austria. "Victoria and stronger guys will have potential for Collegiate Nationals."
Liberty's first team competition is set for Sept. 16 in Raleigh, N.C.