• Youth show off sportsmanship as well as scaling skills
By Sean Pearson
When Fireweed students Galen Lyon and Avram Salzmann arrived too late to compete in their category at Saturday’s 2013 Climbing Competition at the Bay Club, they opted for the next best thing. Strapped into harnesses and hanging from colorful ropes, the two boys entered the “Fun” category for kids, and easily swept the field of younger climbers to tie for first place.
But, instead of accepting their wins and claiming their trophies, Lyon and Salzmann passed their awards on to their younger competitors.
“I was so impressed with their sportsmanship,” said Homer Wilderness Leaders Executive Director and Lead Instructor Libby Bushell Veasey. “They recognized that they should have been in a more advanced category, so they gave their awards to the younger kids. We decided to give them their own special awards for their display of generosity and sportsmanship.”
The overall positive energy and excitement at the Bay Club were palpable on Saturday, as some 36 climbers scaled the wall in Homer’s 2013 Climbing Competition. Sponsored by HoWL, this year’s event also welcomed members of the Anchorage Rock Gym’s Climbing Team.
And, while she was certainly thrilled with the strong turnout, Veasey said she was most impressed with the “incredible improvement” her students showed in their form and strength.
“Most of the climbers from Homer have been climbing every week with instructors Ben Veasey, Eve Matkin, Jesse Kirby, Davey Baird and me,” Veasey explained. “They have shown incredible improvement since they started climbing in the fall. I was so impressed with their performance on Saturday.”
This year, the award for Volunteer of the Year went to Bill McKenna. Veasey called McKenna, “the backbone of the Homer Climbing Competition,” noting that he has organized all the wall logistics since we started the event in 2010.”
Climbers competed in six different categories, ranging in both age and skill levels.
Homer climbers dominated the Men’s Recreational (top rope) division, with Owen Meyer taking first, followed by Quinn Alward and Zane Boyer.
In the Women’s Recreational competition, Homer High cross-country standout Barae Hirsch took the top spot. Anchorage’s Katie Flagel finished second, and Sarah Wolf placed third.
In the Men’s Open (Lead) climb, Anchorage’s Brady Deal edged Eivin Kilcher for first place. Seth Flagel of Anchorage took third.
In the Women’s Open (Lead), Clare Cook pushed past Anchorage teammates Shiloh Miller and Brenna Petrie for the top spot.
Elias Allen of Homer placed first in the boys “Fun” division, while Lukyan Dax and Ethan Styvar finished second and third respectively. Ruby Allen took first in the girls “Fun” category, with Ireland Styvar coming in second.
Next up for HoWL is DiRtBaG Clean-up Week April 29 through May 4. An annual HoWL tradition, the spring clean-up offers a way for youth participants to earn scholarships for their summer adventures by cleaning up the litter on Homer’s beaches, sidewalks and streets of their community.
DiRtBaGs collect cash pledges from community members and compete with each other to earn the most by picking up the most trash. Everyone who participates gets a free HoWL T-shirt.
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