Created: June 23, 2021 10:34 PM
(ABC 6 News) - Despite the pandemic, three youth rock climbers at Roca Climbing in Rochester have advanced to the USA Youth National Championships in Reno, Nevada in July.
In the Youth- A Division, Noah Winkel qualified in both ropes and bouldering and is joined by Erik Cmiel who qualified in ropes to make his third trip to nationals. Aidan Khan advanced in ropes in the Youth Junior Division.
"They all buckled down, put their nose to the grindstone and worked really hard that's why we have a much bigger turnout for nationals," Roca owner and coach Jeremy Schaar said.
Roca has never had more than three climbers advance to nationals in a year. This year the team advanced three, all while dealing with gym closures because of the pandemic. Practice and repetition is key in a sport that is all about strength and technique. The team made sure they wouldn't miss out on too much, even building their own rock wall in a garage.
"We decided to name it the weak finger repair shop to see how strong we could get in the month that it was locked down," Cmiel said. "Music going, having fun and just hanging out and climbing and so it was really fun."
In a year unlike any other Roca has still found success, thanks to their love for their sport, and their support of each other.
"I would not be this good if I did not climb with Erik because we've competed back and forth for years and years and years," Winkel said.
Nationals are in Reno, Nevada the week of July 13.
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