Not many 16-year-olds can say they’ve been involved in their sport for 13 of those years. Ceri Evans, a sophomore at Evergreen High School, has been a rock climber since her parents took her to the …
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Not many 16-year-olds can say they’ve been involved in their sport for 13 of those years.
Ceri Evans, a sophomore at Evergreen High School, has been a rock climber since her parents took her to the Buchanan Rec Center climbing wall when she was 3. She began climbing competitively at age 9, and last month, she took third place out of a field of 63 girls in the American Scholastic Climbing League High School State Varsity Championships in Eagle.
“I really like the physical aspect of it,” Ceri said. “I’ve never really liked team sports, but I don’t like being completely alone. With climbing, I can be on a team for a gym but be ranked myself.”
She also likes the variety because no two climbs are the same.
She is not only an indoor and outdoor rock climber, but in December, Ceri took on ice climbing. And last spring, she participated in the “American Ninja Warrior Junior” TV competition.
Ceri and Dale Evans, her coach and dad, hope that with Ceri’s success and a little promotion, they might be able to put together a team at Evergreen High School next year. Ceri would like to be more than a team of one representing her school.
Dale called Ceri very self-motivated.
“My wife Cindy and I laugh all the time that she has no idea what she can truly accomplish,” Dale said.
Climbing is a family affair, with Ceri and her parents routinely driving to Earth Treks Golden to climb, both as practice for Ceri and as a good workout for Dale and Cindi.
The American Scholastic Climbing League was formed in 2018, with Colorado divided into four regions. This past year, a few small meets were held before the state competition.
Ceri explained competition climbing: “As the (climbing) route difficulty increases, feet holds get smaller or disappear with a similarly greater reliance on smaller handholds that can be reduced to small pinches or one finger holds. The challenges emphasize weight distribution, balance, planning and technique to address the route-specific geometry.
“Each route uses a defined scoring system with the harder routes being associated with the highest point totals, thus the highest points determine the top finishers.”
Ceri explained that the high school climbing world is small. Climbers get to know each other, and they help each other by providing pointers to get through difficult climbs.
“It’s a really great sport, and the community is so nice,” she said.
Dale added: “In a lot of cases, they get to see each other in the gym. They’re rooting for each other.”
Competitive climbing can be for everyone, Ceri noted, from novices to experienced — and it’s a great full-body workout.
Dale added that he thinks competitive climbing is also important for its social aspects since climbers talk as they wait for their next climb.
“There are not many sports where you can do three hours of intense physical effort, but it’s low pressure and you’re socializing,” Dale said. “It’s a really unique sport in that respect.”
Ceri and Dale hope to inspire others to join Ceri on the climbing wall, with Dale having big dreams to organize practices including weight training, running and climbing.
Dale said climbing is different from other sports.
“I grew up playing baseball, football, pretty much every sport,” Dale said. “The structure of practices for climbing is more outcome based. You’re only climbing against yourself.”
He says if you can climb a ladder, you can climb a rock wall, and indoor climbing is done in a safe, controlled environment.
Ceri hopes to climb competitively during the remainder of high school, climb outside more and meet more climbers.
Dale said Ceri has expressed interest in having a van to travel the country to climb at different locations, though she has set her sights on attending the Air Force Academy to become a mechanical engineer, fly fighter jets and become a member of the Space Force.
“(Climbing is) a lot of fun for us, and our biggest goal is to get other people to be able to experience this,” Dale said. “A lot of kids are looking for something. It’s a great sport for them to look at.”
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