The Future of Youth Competitions
It was May 2005 and Touchstone Concord was hosting the USAC Regional Competition. The gym was abuzz with 81 competitors from 11 different teams and a large crowd of spectators watching the kids vie for an invitation to Nationals. Competition climbing looked to be on track to become the next Little League, gaining in popularity and participation.
Fast forward two years. Touchstone course setters have once again put up National-level routes in preparation for a strong field of junior competitors, but this year the crowds and excitement never materialized. A precipitous drop in the number of competitors, 30% fewer, begs the question: is there a future for competition rope climbing in the U.S.?
The answer is a resounding yes, if Scott Jenerik, Northern California Regional coordinator of USA Climbing has anything to say about it. Scott has immersed himself in many aspects of the competition scene. He coaches a highly successful youth team out of the Touchstone gyms, sets routes for Touchstone (including setting for the regionals), and of course volunteers much of his time coordinating for the national USAC organization. Given the energy expended by individuals like Scott and the support of gyms like Touchstone who put a considerable amount of time and money into hosting competitions, chances are good that this year's low turnout is a fluke and we'll see even more kids psyched about competition climbing in the coming years.
Although most of the Touchstone gyms did not send Teen Team members to this competition, kids affiliated with Touchstone gyms did incredibly well, taking first in six of the nine divisions. To see final comp results go to USA Climbing's web site.
Of particular note were Concord members Gregor Peirce taking first in Male Youth B, Dakota Schwartz taking third in Female Youth C, and Scott Cory taking second in Male Youth A.
Labels: climbing, comps, concord, Diablo Rock Gym, kids, Scott Cory