By Jordan Unger
The Andrews Student Recreation and Wellness Center hosted its annual University Climbing Series bouldering series competition at the rock wall last Saturday.
As part of the series, the competition invited students from other universities to Youngstown State University in order to test their rock-climbing skills and engage with the climbing community.
YSU is one of four colleges that take part in the northern division of the University Climbing Series. The other universities that participate are Kent State University, Slippery Rock University and the University of Akron. Students must compete in three of the four competitions and the final competition to be eligible to win the series.
The next competition will be held at Kent State on Feb. 20. The remaining competitions will follow every Saturday thereafter. The final will be held at Rock Mill, the newly built bouldering gym in Akron, Ohio, where the winning climbers will receive prizes provided by the organization’s sponsors.
Nearly 50 students participated in the competition and was the biggest competition that YSU has hosted.
Lindsay Basile is the student head of the rock wall staff on campus. Basile said that the greatest benefit of participating in the bouldering competition is to meet new students with similar interests.
“It creates a community atmosphere between the people,” Basile said. “It’s an up-and-coming sport, but it’s getting more popular.”
The competition was divided into two flights, each lasting three hours. Climbing routes were marked with duct tape and scored for difficulty rating. Students had the three hours to climb the routes and their top five scores determined their ranking at the competition.
YSU climbers placed 21st, 26th and 29th out of 32 in the men’s standing and 9th out of 12 in the women’s standing.
Basile said that although it’s a competition, it is also a social event where the climbers get different perspectives.
“It’s not as much treated like a competition as it is a way to work on routes with other people and get input,” Basile said.
Isaac Sarver is a student from the University of Akron who participated in the competition. He said that his previous experience at the competition series have always been positive.
“The first year that I did comps, I came to YSU and thought that it was one of the friendliest competitions of the series,” Sarver said.
Michael Bowman, director of Adventure Recreation and Aquatics on campus, said he is proud of his staff, especially during competition settings.
“I would put my staff up against anybody,” Bowman said.
Collin Pope is amongst the YSU rock wall staff and said that he enjoys the chance to meet new people every semester, whether it be on the job or during competitions.
“In my opinion, it’s the best job on campus,” Pope said. “The people and the environment are what really do it for me.”
Bowman said that the goal of having the rock wall be used by students for recreation and competition is to give them a unique experience in a safe place.
“What we’re trying to do is give college students an experience … ,” Bowman said. “We try to do it in the safest and friendliest environment possible.”