Rec center climbing competition brings fun for all ages

Matt Orszag

The Kent State Recreation and Wellness Center hosted the Grassroots Bouldering Competition Saturday morning, which was open to anyone interested in

rock climbing.

The competition welcomed 28 competitors from the University of Akron, the University of Toledo and Kent State, as well as other schools. Competitors of

different skill levels and ages came to try their best at climbing the rock wall. Although the competition offered prizes for the top scores, competitors were mostly interested in having fun.

Kendra Bernheisel, freshman nutrition major, said she climbs for the pure enjoyment of it.

“I usually don’t even turn in my scorecard for competitions,” Bernheisel said. “This rock climbing culture is about having fun, and everyone is so friendly. Everyone tries to encourage each other and help each other out completing a climb.”

Evan Zimmerman, a University of Toledo student, said he climbs about once a week as a hobby.

“Toledo’s wall is nothing compared to Kent,” Zimmerman said. “I have friends that go to Kent State, and we knew this would be a fun thing to do. I’m

no where near the level of some of these climbers here.”

Jackson Tankersley, 13, a seventh grade Akron student, said he has been in over 100 competitions.

“I just like going out here and having fun,” Tankersley said. “I want to go professional eventually.”

The competition had routes with point values ranking from 100 to 500 points, and each gets harder as the value rises. These routes have

problems to overcome and a different strategy to solve each one.

Tankersley said he usually is able to complete routes that have a 500-point value.

Bernheisel said she is constantly pushing herself to her limits, but can only get so far.

“Some of the climbs are just easier for climbers with bigger frames,” Bernheisel said. “I’m smaller, and some of these guys are tall and have a lot of strength to reach and make jumps to complete a problem. It’s really fun for anyone to get involved in though. I know most of the people here, and they all love it.”

Mike McFall, Adventure Center graduate assistant, said he likes the enthusiasm the climbers bring to the competition.

“I think everyone who climbs really has a passion for it,” McFall said. “We put a lot of time into making this fun for everyone, and I think it definitely paid off.”

Contact Matt Orszag at [email protected].