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Ohio State group hopes to climb into club sport status

Athan Burlotos, first-year in ecological engineering, boulders at the Adventure Recreation Center. Credit: Karlie Frank / Lantern reporter

Athan Burlotos, a first-year in ecological engineering, boulders at the Adventure Recreation Center.
Credit: Karlie Frank / Lantern reporter

A new climbing and bouldering sport club could be joining the ranks of the 61 existing club teams at Ohio State.

Athan Burlotos, first-year in ecological engineering and leader in the effort to create the climbing and bouldering sport club, said the club’s goal would be to provide an outlet for students interested in competitive climbing.

“We want to regiment training, get motivated guys and girls to push themselves, have fun and compete,” Burlotos said. “And climb, that’s what it’s all about in the end.”

Bouldering involves climbing shorter routes closer to the ground without a rope and using more “dynamic moves,” said Chris Ritner, a third-year in materials science and engineering and another member of OSU Mountaineers.

Burlotos said he got the idea for the team when he noticed OSU did not already have one at the Fall Semester involvement fair.

He has been a member of the OSU Mountaineers club — which is a student organization, not a registered sport club — since the beginning of the school year.

Burlotos said the Mountaineers and the sport club would have different focuses.

“Mountaineering Club has many climbers in it, but the focus is on outdoor trips. The club climbing and bouldering team will be centered on training for and competing in climbing and bouldering competitions,” Burlotos said.

Ritner went to the club’s first meeting Feb. 4 after seeing Burlotos’ initial post gauging interest on the Mountaineers’ Facebook page. After the meeting, Ritner and Burlotos teamed up in efforts to spread the word about the club.

Burlotos met with Molly Camp, sport club supervisor for the Department of Recreational Sports and a third-year in human development and family science, Jan. 28 to discuss the process of registering a sport club team.

“I was really excited that Athan came into the sport club office to talk about starting a competitive climbing club. I know little about climbing and bouldering so it serves as an opportunity for more than just members to learn about this sport,” Camp said in an email.

Camp works with students in sport clubs weekly and said while nothing like this team already exists, she could see it growing.

“There is a potential for the club to be successful in acquiring members because OSU has a diverse population of students,” Camp said.

According to the sport club manual, before becoming a registered team, clubs must meet certain requirements, including being a current registered student organization in good standing for at least two consecutive semesters, having at least 15 active, full-time student members and having a nationally recognized governing body for the corresponding sport.

Burlotos said he hopes to become established as a student organization this semester so by spring 2015, the club can apply for sport club status.

Once that status is attained, the Competitive Sports Office gives each team an administrative compliance score based on several criteria including membership, fundraising, club exposure and reputation, community support and compliance, as listed in the Sport Club manual.

The score then dictates “club priority in funding, facility space and overall club standing,” according to the manual.

Ritner said he plans to have the team attend competitions, which are typically indoors, monthly once it’s formed.

“There’s typically three groups for competitions — novice, medium and advanced,” Ritner said. “For each route, you get a score based on your performance, and at the end they total that up and announce individual winners (for each group) and team winners.”

Team prizes are usually money, Ritner said, and men and women compete separately.

Burlotos said he does not expect to receive a hefty budget from the Competitive Sports Office but is excited for the other services offered.

“You get discounts on transportation (if approved services are used) and if we want to have a competition here, they (Recreational Sports) help sponsor that,” Burlotos said. “They help you organize fundraisers, too, and I already have a few ideas, like (a) movie screening.”

Burlotos said any given budget as well as fundraising proceeds would be used to pay for competition entrance fees and transportations costs.

He said he can’t picture the club spending much of it on equipment because most climbers already have individual preferences for gear, but said chalk bags — situated around the climber’s waist and holding the drying agent necessary for a good grip — could be purchased if enough money is raised.

Burlotos said the team would have to look outside of the Big Ten for competitions, though.

According to the Big Ten sport club websites, Nebraska is the only school with a team dedicated to climbing, while Purdue has an “Outing” club that climbs, among other activities.

Tyler Schoeppner, fifth-year in engineering physics and secretary and trip coordinator for OSU Mountaineers, said the team’s formation could have a positive impact on the Mountaineers.

“We have all these competitive climbers already who do their own thing and this can show the talent in our climbing community at OSU,” Schoeppner said.

Burlotos said a faculty adviser has not been chosen yet, but members are in talks with an associate professor from the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Developmental Economics.

Rebecca Joseph, a second-year in speech and hearing sciences, said she could see the club easily gaining members.

“It’d be successful because I know a lot of people who climb at the Adventure Recreation Center,” Joseph said. “You don’t really think of rock climbing as a club sport so it’s cool it’s starting up.”

Though he said only Mountaineers have expressed interest so far, Burlotos doesn’t want other students to feel discouraged from joining.

“It’s not meant to be just Mountaineers,” Burlotos said. “Anyone who wants to can join. You don’t need to have prior experience.”

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