Rock climbers fix sights on goals through season of training
November 17, 2020 | Lynchburg, Va.
Liberty University's rock climbing team has stayed active as a group climbing out of its facility in the LaHaye Recreation & Fitness Center this semester, and members are eager to put the skills and techniques they have acquired to the test in competition.
"It's been good to get back and have practices, to have a team," Liberty Assistant Coach Tyler Campbell said. "We didn't have any expectations for what we would be able to do with everything getting shut down early, but it's been a great experience to be able to continue doing what we love doing, being involved in climbing, being able to invest in the climbers as college students, but also as athletes."
"It's definitely a little sad that there are no comps this semester, but I mainly joined the team just to get stronger and become a better climber, so I'm happy to be here," Flames senior Will Golden added. "I'm so thankful that we are still on campus and in person because without that, I really wouldn't be climbing very much."
Lady Flames junior Natalie Werking said COVID-19 has turned everyone's worlds upside-down as student-athletes struggle to find a new normal.
"This whole year has kind of been like a give and take and playing it by ear for everyone," Werking said. "Coming into it, we all kind of knew, ‘We don't really know what this is going to look like,' but it's been exciting. We're all having a good time, for sure."
Campbell is cautiously optimistic that the Flames and Lady Flames will be able to compete in some form of intercollegiate events in the spring semester after returning from an extended Thanksgiving and Christmas break.
"We still don't have any idea what competitions are going to look like," he said. "We are waiting for updates from USA Climbing to find out if or when that's going to be something we can do."
Climbers have been given workouts that they can perform on their own from home over the break to strengthen their conditioning in preparation for the spring competition season.
"Overall, this semester is just a really good time for us to hone in on basics and fundamentals so when we come back next semester, we'll be stronger than we were before," Golden said.