Led by six seniors who have climbed together throughout their Episcopal years, the girls’ climbing team captured the Washington Area Interscholastic Climbing League (WAICL) championship, winning the team’s first-ever title in a tension-filled season-ending meet.
Episcopal entered the championship with lofty goals, both individually and as a team. The climbers had worked hard all season long to show their skills in front of parents, friends, and faculty. EHS had by far the most fans in attendance, a credit to the team and the athletic department's support. The cheers echoed throughout the gym as the climbers finished each route, so there was no doubt who was rocking the climbs.
Each climber had two hours to try to complete his or her best two top-rope routes and best two bouldering problems. Strategizing using fresh arms to complete top-rope climbs first, most of the Maroon climbers finished their two 40-foot roped climbs early so that they could focus on the bouldering problems. Bouldering was where the most valuable increase in points could be found, and the latter half of the meet would be vital. The short wall problems were challenging, however, so those points were not easy to come by.
Midway into the meet, Mei Kuo '19, captain and senior leader on the girls team, came off the top of a boulder and injured herself. She was not able to finish the meet, meaning that the remaining five girls' scores would have to count (the best five scores from a team of six climbers must count). In addition, they had to bounce back from watching their friend and teammate get hurt and find the strength to rally for her.
The Episcopal girls knew that they could win if they worked as a team and followed the game plan. They knew that they could trust their teammates to get the climbs needed, and believed that if they all were consistent and solid across the board, the team score would be enough. Even when Kuo went out, the girls picked themselves up, shook off their nerves, and gave it all they had. (She even had a great score before she fell and hurt herself with 5.11a, 5.10d, and V4.)
Gracie Guest '19
led the pack, earning second place overall (her second turn on the WAICL championship medal stand) with 52 points. She climbed 5.11b, 5.10d, V6, V6 and beat the third place girl by 9 points. Barrett Carney '19
had her best climbing day ever when it mattered, placing 7th overall with 41 points on 5.11b, 5.11a and dual V4's. Juliet Faris '19
was up next with 38 points. She topped two 5.11a routes and one V4, before finishing a V3 just in time to score her fourth route. Arden Faires '19
and Jane Owen '19
tied with 37 points. They each climbed 5.11a, 5.10d, V3, V4.
More photos from the championship can be viewed on our Maroon & Black Flickr channel