After a 3-day build up to this event, the day has been a huge success with even more children turning than ever before! This time round, the categories consisted of mixed girls and boys in 5 – 7, 8 – 10 and 11 – 14 years age groups. Problems were set specially for this competition from some of the best climbers and route setters in the UK. Stepping up to set the 8 – 10 years & 11 – 14 years categories were local talents Micky Page and Adam Watson along with our very first female route setter Nicole MacGregor who added some very short reach competition problems to the junior Wall for our youngest competitors. All holds were washed and cleaned until the early hours on Friday morning and a very early start on Friday was required to create all the fantastic competition problems that followed.
At the start of the competition, juniors gathered in the Junior Area to eagerly await the order of the day. Instructor Andy explained the rules to everyone before they set off in their categories to complete their set challenges. In the Junior Wall Area and led by the one and only Andy Musgrove, the ten juniors taking part set to work on their six problems designed especially for this age group with a very short reach between holds. Every single competitor tried their very best, an amazing feat considering some of these climbers are just 5 years old! Long serving Rock Star Katie Orford is the only one who managed to complete the red problem in this set, with Alex Ballantyne putting the skills learned in his regular Rock Stars Class to good use by smearing all the way up to the 6th move on a tricky green problem! In this category, our well deserved winner Peter McGrother achieved 41 points to take the Gold, with Dylan Veide coming in 2nd and Alexander Ballantyne finishing Bronze. All runner-ups took home certificates for their efforts.
The 8 – 10 Years category wins the prize for the largest category in the competition with eighteen juniors taking part! A group this size required three instructors to assist led by Paul Carruthers and Junior Coaches Ryan Jackson and Orrin Walker. DCC regulars and close friends Thomas Dumble achieved 94 points out of a possible 100 taking Gold, with Jonah close behind on 88 points well-deserved Silver! Jonah is possibly DCC’s longest serving child member with almost 5 years climbing experience behind him! Thomas is simply ‘on fire’ at the moment!
An exciting tie for third place meant Kayla Davis, Caitlin Wombwell and Scott Bowes took part in a tiebreaker challenge set by their coach Paul to complete a chosen climb within 2 minutes. All three competitors gave it their all, despite Scott’s efforts he was just unable to reach the last move. Caitlin succeeded in finishing the climb in the last few seconds on her last attempt! Then Kayla amazed everyone by flashing the problem in around 25 seconds! Junior pros! Kayla took the third place bronze medal behind Jonah and Thomas.
In the 11 – 14 years category led by Jens Signer, these experienced climbers impressed their coaches on fifteen problems some of which even our adult climbers would struggle with. DCC newcomer Reece Paterson stormed ahead and earned himself praise from DCC Instructor Andy Musgrove by achieving full marks and 150 points! A new Jens in the making perhaps?! Joe Creffield, one of DCC’s most regular Sunday afternoon climbers took Silver with 118 points and the only girl in this category Megan Hunter made her Dad James proud by finishing Bronze. ‘Girl Power!’
All the children were given a raffle ticket on arrival to win a selection of prizes including chalk bags, chalk and grip savers. Bradley Slater, Thomas Charles and Dylan Veide won some trendy chalk bags. Other winners include Alex Orford taking home the ever-essential climbers chalk and Luke Paxton taking home a very useful grip saver!
We hope that juniors enjoyed themselves today, competitions above all else are intended to be a fun way to apply their skills learnt in coaching sessions. The camaraderie displayed by juniors and coaching staff today is second to none. In November, for the first time we are holding a Junior Winter Bouldering Series with one round taking place each month from November to March. The series will be held on a Saturday and Sunday, juniors are invited to come on either day to compete the problems in their category. Once again, problems will be set specifically for these age groups to ensure they are tailored specifically to their needs. Dates for the series will be released shortly.
All that’s left to say is a big Well Done to everyone involved, and especially our juniors for their outstanding efforts and attitudes towards their sport. Now, did someone say Sport Climbing is being considered for the 2020 Olympics? Look out for these names if climbing makes it into the final cut!