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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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A&M climbing club dominates in first home competition

Electrical+engineering+senior+Matthew+Masters+climbs+a+route+during+men%26%238217%3Bs+finals+at+A%26amp%3BM%26%238217%3Bs+Student+Rec+Center+on+Oct.+21.
Photo by Elizabeth Robertson, JOUR 359 Contributor

Electrical engineering senior Matthew Masters climbs a route during men’s finals at A&M’s Student Rec Center on Oct. 21.

Texas A&M club climbing swept the podium in the men’s finals while the women took first and third at the BTHO Gravity bouldering competition at the Student Rec Center on Saturday, Oct. 21.
Ranked No. 1 last season by the South-Central Collegiate Climbing Circuit, the climbing team was confident going into this competition, electrical engineering graduate and team president Holly Roper said. Despite Saturday being their first team competition, general engineering freshman Sophia Criscione and electrical engineering senior Matthew Masters both took first place in the advanced category.
The competition began at 9 a.m. with 82 athletes from six Texas universities competing on 35 routes. Each athlete was given a score sheet at the beginning of the session, which was filled in as different routes were completed, Roper said.
“We’re all just trying to get the best score that we can,” electrical engineering junior Amber Chung, who finished third in the advanced category, said.
The top five routes are the athlete’s final score, Chung said. The sport is gaining popularity because it is evolving, according to Olympics.com. All climbing walls have different configurations and “setters” create routes based on difficulty.
Setters even create more difficult routes during competitions when all the climbers are competitive, which was the case during Saturday’s finals, former club member and current setter Jay De Vera said. The psychology senior sets for both the Rec Center and Stone Co. Climbing.
Two Aggie women and five men advanced to the evening finals, where each climber had four minutes to complete three new routes.
“When there’s that timer going, it’s hard to think, and so you just gotta keep trying,” Criscione said.
Masters said he was surprised with his win since it was his first team competition.
“There’s not anything like it because other competitions have a set thing you have to do, but for climbing, the competition has to be created by people,” Masters said.
Climbing competitions are unique because they are physically intense, electrical engineering senior Anna Theodore said, but there is also camaraderie amongst teams. The athletes want other climbers to become better, Theodore said.
In the morning climbs, the goal is to find the “sweet spot” of enough safeties – good scoring routes an athlete knows they can complete – along with harder, higher-scoring routes, chemical engineering junior Robert Turner said.
“I just like any chance to climb,” Turner said.
A&M climbing will compete Nov. 4 at the Stone Co. gym in College Station during the Chalk and Awe all-day bouldering competition. Follow the team @TAMUClimbing on Instagram for updates.
Elizabeth Robertson is a recreation, park and tourism science junior and contributed the piece from JOUR 359 Reporting Sports to The Battalion.

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