Climber girls’ rocky road to national squad



Three Queenstown girls have secured places in the New Zealand Climbing development squad after stand-out performances.

First-time competitor Alisa Schenk took third in the Youth and Masters Bouldering Championships in Wellington at the weekend.

Coach Diego Moyano says he was ‘‘very, very stoked’’ for the 12-year-old, especially given how nervous she had been in the build up.

He was more philosophical about the results for 14-year-olds Lucy Sinclair and Azaria Briscoe who finished fifth and sixth respectively.

‘‘They have been winning or getting placements in other competitions, so it was good for them to learn we can’t win all the time.’’

All three completed five 3m high, technical bouldering climbs on the Saturday to qualify for the final on Sunday.

They were then faced with another five climbs, with nothing but their hands, feet and safety mat for comfort.

Moyano says they’ve all been taking training ‘‘very seriously’’ and it was great for a small town like Queenstown have three athletes make the national squad.

He, Guillaume Charton and Joe Wearne voluntarily coach the girls, and nine others, twice a week because of their ‘‘love of climbing’’ at Basecamp Adventures Queenstown Climbing Centre and the Events Centre in Frankton.

The trio of coaches have been running the youth club for about a year and Moyano says ‘‘everyone is loving it’’.

Once or twice a month, the coaches takes the girls to climb outdoors to help develop their skills.

‘‘We go out to the rocks and pick different locations each time.

‘‘It’s much harder and they are exposed to the elements.

‘‘I think that’s what made the difference for them in the competition,’’ he says, pointing out that many of their rivals may only have indoor experience.

The girls’ focus will now be on doing enough to progress from the development squad to making the New Zealand Team 2021.