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    November 22, 2022 Alexandria, Va. RSS |

    Liberty University’s rock climbing team opened its competitive season with a number of strong individual performances in Saturday’s USA Climbing Collegiate Mid-Atlantic Division bouldering event held at the Sportrock Performance Institute in Alexandria, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C.

    In the Men’s Advanced division, sophomore Dylan Reese, a transfer from the University of South Florida, finished fifth out of 25 climbers. Junior Arabella King also placed fifth out of 12 competitors in the Women’s Advanced division with a total score of 255 points.

    Liberty Head Coach Tyler Campbell gives tips to Arabella King, who placed fifth in the Women’s Advanced division.

    Meanwhile, in the Men’s Recreational division, seniors Kyler Gilbert and Cole Kroner placed third and sixth, respectively, out of 21 competitors. The Lady Flames put four climbers in the top 10 in the Women’s Recreational division, led by junior Megan Dorsey’s fourth-place showing with 790 points. That was the same point total as third-place finisher Evelyn Astorina who won the tie-breaker.

    Freshman Anna Wheat finished seventh with 680 points, followed by seniors Rachel Collier (ninth, 670) and Vanessa Gulchuk (10th, 580).

    “I was pleased with the results,” second-year Head Coach Tyler Campbell said. “For our first competition, I think everyone did well based on their ability.”

    A total of 47 male athletes and 35 female athletes from Liberty, George Washington, James Madison, Penn State, the University of Virginia, and Virginia Tech attended. The Mid-Atlantic Division includes schools from Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.

    Flames graduate Brian Taylor competes in Alexandria, Va.

    “Some schools we normally see weren’t there and others from the Capitol region did show up that we normally don’t see,” Campbell said.

    The Flames and Lady Flames will next compete at a Dec. 3 bouldering USA Climbing Collegiate Qualifier at Crimper’s Climbing Gym in Christiansburg, Va., where Campbell expects to face teams from Virginia Tech, UVA, JMU, and possibly George Washington, the Naval Academy, and Penn State.

    “Next week, we will be working on some power-oriented training and continuing to develop capacity for climbing very difficult moves for short periods,” Campbell said. “At the end of the week, we will have a lower-intensity practice allowing for people to prep and recover for the competition (in Christiansburg).”

    By Ted Allen/Staff Writer

    Campbell (front center) smiles at the season-opening competition, surrounded by his climbing team.