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    October 21, 2022 Lynchburg, Va. RSS |

    With its first competition less than a month away, Liberty University’s rock climbing team is sharpening its skills to build on its first season under Head Coach Tyler Campbell, when the Flames and Lady Flames sent three student-athletes to the USA Climbing Collegiate National Championships near Philadelphia.

    “This year, we’re kicking it off pretty difficult, doing lots of hangs, lots of hard climbing to really get us stronger and more endurance so we have a better chance at comps this year,” graduate Brian Taylor said beside the LaHaye Recreation & Fitness Center’s Rock Wall. “Our hope is by the end of the season we’ll have at least four people going to nationals. We had three people go last year, so we’ve got to up that goal every year. Personally, I just hope to be one of those people because I think it would be a great experience to go to nationals.”

    Liberty returns an experienced squad with two of its national qualifiers back in action, scaling walls and boulders like veteran alpinists.

    “All but four or five of the athletes are returners, so they’ve been on the team before, they have safe expectations,” Campbell said. “The captains have done a really good job at promoting people getting together and holding people accountable for being at practices.”

    “We are building fellowship and then building up a team that is unified together,” Flames Assistant Coach Noah Kranz added. “We want to get all of our athletes up, obviously doing a lot of comps, but also as a personal challenge, getting stronger as a climber for comps, but also for other projects outside of climbing. Another aspect is we want to prepare our athletes to be trained Champions for Christ, to shine the light and look different at the comps compared to a lot of other schools that are there.”

    Campbell is confident the team can eclipse last year’s level of success, and is equipping his climbers to be ready to peak by next spring.

    “We have 14 athletes and I have completely changed the training program from what we did last year,” he said. “Now we’re doing power endurance, which is a little bit different, but it’s a lot more volume in their training. After (this) week, we’ll be moving into endurance and that will finish our first phase of training. My personal goal this season is to take five athletes to nationals, which will be early spring next year … which I think is really realistic.”

    The Flames and Lady Flames will travel to their first comp on Nov. 20 and conclude the fall semester with a second set for Dec. 3.

    Video edited by Kylee Lilge/Club Sports Video & Media Coordinator