BBA 4th, LTS 5th in rock climbing competition

RUTLAND - Both the Burr and Burton Academy and Long Trail School rock climbing teams came up just shy of punching their ticket to the State Championship on Tuesday night at the last competition of the regular season.

BBA finished with 94,075 team points in the Regional West League - 1,250 points behind 3rd place Mill River - and Long Trail finished with 88,745 points to take fifth place in the league behind BBA.

The top three teams from the Green Mountain Rock Climbing Center in Quechee and the top three teams that compete at the Green Mountain Climbing Center in Rutland advance to the State Championship. This year Rutland High School, Black River High School, and Mill River Union High School advanced from the Rutland gym.

BBA finished in 6th place at Tuesday night's competition with 18,025 team points with LTS not far behind with 17,600.

"It was a challenging night last night," said Long Trail coach Scott Worland. "Some of our top climbers did not have the time to finish their fourth climb, because they count your top four climbs, and so that set our scores much lower than they would have been."

Several of Long Trail's climbers were trying some of the more difficult climbs. While in some cases Worland said the students completed three of the "complex, difficult climbs" they didn't finish the fourth.

BBA coach Andrew MacArthur said that his students experienced the same thing throughout the course of the night.

Another challenge the two teams had to adjust to as well was a change in climbing routes. That, combined with the lack of time that the athletes have spent in the gym due to weather recently, MacArthur said he felt led to scores that were a bit below average for the team. However, MacArthur said that he noticed some improvements individually.

"My climber Tom Leiter scored 3,500 points and that's the first time he's done that. That was a big day for him because he's come a long way this year and shown a tremendous amount of improvement," said MacArthur. "Overall, the team has done an outstanding job this year and I think last night was not telling of that because of the circumstances, but overall just vast improvements this year."

The improvements have been recognizable both in body awareness and ability, MacArthur said as some of his climbers have gone from climbing 5.5 or 5.6 climbs to 5.9 or 5.10s.

"Those are tremendous gains. The climbs get harder and more challenging," said MacArthur. "The simple fact that we've taken some climbers from 5.6 and through their hard work they've gotten to 5.10 or 5.9 is a tremendous accomplishment. So, we've taken some very novice climbers and turned them into rock climbers."

Rocky Yi was Long Trail's top climber of the night, scoring 3,975 points for the team. BBA's top climbers were Bowie Pugliese, who scored 4,025 points, Alex Blanco who scored 3,700 points, and Leiter. Rachel Senecal, Elijah Hanson and Olivia Mancivalano all scored 3,400 points each for the Bulldogs.

Looking ahead to next year, both coaches believe that their high school teams will be in even more competitive than they were this year.

"Last year I think we had two or three of our top climbers graduate. So, we have a new high school team, a number of people that are interested in climbing and showing a lot of promise." said Worland. "We have young, new climbers that I think are going to do well next year and so that will make our high school stronger."

BBA's team - which just completed its first full year of competition- is young with only four juniors on this year's team. The team's youth is a strength, MacArthur said as having freshmen or sophomore climbers provides more time for them to develop. In part because of that, MacArthur said he expects growth out of the team next season and he already has some goals in mind that he would like to achieve.

"I have high goals for us next year. I want to improve on this year's score. I want to place in top three," he said "I think we can do it with the group we have. I think they're a dedicated bunch."


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