National Team Trials Happening Now at Sportrock in Gaithersburg

Courtesy Sportrock

Some of the nation’s top climbers will be competing at Sportrock at Rio in Gaithersburg this week.  The USA Climbing National Team Trials will be held at the climbing gym on March 5-8 and the Para Climbing National Championships will take place on March 9 and 10. Per the news release: The USA Climbing National Team Trials will highlight three climbing disciplines–boulder, lead and speed. The top two ranked U.S. athletes after the conclusion of this event will join those who have already been selected to the U.S. National Team in 2024. Athletes from this newly formed national team will compete in the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) World Cup Circuit with the opportunity of competing at the Olympic qualifying series in an effort to fill the two remaining Olympic spots for Team USA.  Rock climbing made its Olympic debut in 2020 and interest continues to grow. Due to its popularity, IOC has broken up rock climbing into two events: bouldering and lead and speed climbing. Speed climbing is a separate event and is particularly thrilling for spectators.

Three of the nation’s top climbers to watch at the USA Climbing National Team Trials at Rio are Noah Bratschi (23) from Potomac, Maryland who regularly works out at Sportrock; Emma Hunt (20) who has already qualified for the Paris Olympics and holds the American women’s speed record; and Kyra Condie (27) who competed in the 2020 Olympic games and is hoping to make the team this year.  Bratschi and Hunt compete in speed climbing while Condie competes in lead (climbing with a rope on a tall wall.)

“These climbers are all amazing to watch,” said Jeff Shor, director of marketing for Sportrock Climbing Centers. “This sport requires an amount of skill, stamina, balance and strength like no other.”

The schedule for the National Team Trials is available at this link. Speed practice begins at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, March 5 with finals taking place at 6 p.m. and a Speed Olympic Format Exhibition at 7 p.m. Awards will follow. On Wednesday, March 6, Lead Semi-Finals climbing begins at 10 a.m. with finals at 6 p.m. Boulder climbing competition takes place on Thursday, March 7 in the afternoon with semi-finals from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and finals at 6 p.m.

The 2024 Paraclimbing National Championships take place on Saturday, March 9 and Sunday, March 10. The schedule for this competition is here. The top three ranked U.S. athletes per gender in each category will go on to represent the U.S. as part of the Paraclimbing National Team.  The sport has seen a massive increase in growth over the past several years and this year’s championship event is expected to be larger and more competitive than ever.  One of the top paraclimbing athletes that will be there is Kyle Long who won the 2019 World Championship in Briancon, France. Long (37) is an operating nurse at Duke Children’s Hospital who had his right foot to amputated when he was 13 due to bone cancer. He started climbing in 2016.

“We are delighted to host these high-profile national championships at Rio,” said Laurie Yankowski, regional director of marketing for Peterson Companies, owners and managers of Rio.

Tickets are available for spectators here:  National Team Trials / Paraclimbing Nationals and range from $15-$20 for the National Team Trials and free to $20 for the Paraclimbing Nationals.

For more information on rio, visit www.riolakefront.com.

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