Sydney Hennessey, 15, was a standout performer for the Rock Wall Climbing Gym at the SFU competition. (Contributed)

Climbers prepare for provincial championships

Team from Rock Wall Climbing Gym in Maple Ridge

Athletes from the Rock Wall Climbing Gym in Maple Ridge have had a great competition season so far, and are now putting their focus into preparing for the provincial championships later this month.

Coach Christy Spurrell explained the last competition for the team was at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby on March 25, where 31 Rock Wall athletes were in attendance. This was the last local event of the season for both the speed climbing discipline, in which climbers race to the top, and the difficulty discipline, in which climbers get one try to get as high as possible on a very difficult route.

The Rock Wall team had a great showing at the SFU competition with many podium finishes, particularly in the speed climbing discipline, she said.

One of the major standouts at SFU was 15-year-old Sydney Hennessey.

“Hennessey has been working very hard this season and her progress has been showing in her competition results,” said Spurrell. “At this competition, everything came together and she was able to climb to her full potential and walk away with first place in difficulty and third place in speed – an impressive performance and her best of the season.

“Hennessey is definitely one to watch in the upcoming provincial championships and plans to compete in the national championships in May.

Other great performances were, in speed:

• Avery MacDonald, second, and Sienna Chow, third, in youth D 11 and under,

• Mina Edwards, second, and Teagan Chow, third, in youth C 12-13,

• Connor Jones, first, in youth C 12-13,

• Emi Takashiba, first, and Alexis Binder, second, in youth B 14-15,

• Guy McNamee second in youth A 16-17,

• Teyha Rogers second in junior 18-19,

• Hayden Jones first in both junior 18-19 speed and open male,

• Christy Spurrell first in open female,

• Gabrielle Bastiaanssen first in recreational female.

And in difficulty:

• Teagen Donnelly, second, and Avery MacDonald, third in youth D 11 and under,

• Gabrielle Bastiaanssen second in recreational female.

Next up for the Rock Wall team is Speed Climbing Provincials on Vancouver Island on April 14. At this competition, athletes will race head-to-head up a 15m (50ft) wall. The competition takes place on a pre-set climb – the same one that is used in international competitions (including the Tokyo 2020 Olympics).

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