By Hannah Fierle, Staff Writer
It’s Halloween weekend and groups of friends are hanging out, rocking some festive costumes and… rock climbing.
On Sunday evening, Miami’s Outdoor Pursuit Center hosted Nightmare on Oak Street, a Halloween-themed rock climbing tournament. All students were welcome to attend, regardless of their rock climbing experience. For those not participating in the climbing, the event featured other Halloween activities and goodies, including a costume contest.
Held in the basement of the Rec Center, the OPC’s event was a spooky sight, decorated with streamers, lights and other Halloween adornments. While many of the spectators were wearing costumes, so were the participants.
“The tournament aspect was fun because it made it more competitive,” said junior Kyle Oosterhouse, who helped to plan the event. “Rock climbing is kind of individual in nature and you don’t typically compete against others, so this was something different.”
The tournament was divided into four sections with four climbers on each segment of the rock wall. Participants had five minutes to scale each section and move on to the next.
“It’s stressful with the timing because there’s such a sense of urgency in a sport that is usually very casual,” said Oosterhouse.
The nearly 40 participants were able to compete in beginner, intermediate and advanced levels of climbing. First to third place winners were recognized, both for men and women. Prizes for winners included gear and equipment such as climbing bags, shoes and jackets.
While many of the participants were experienced climbers actively involved with the OPC, many participants registered the day of the competition. There were also students from different schools who attended.
With many ties at end of the competition, a sudden death round was necessary in the men’s beginner and women’s advanced categories. The winners were Doug Foster and Sarah Smith in the advanced level, Mitchell Singstock and Danielle Georgeoff in the intermediate level and Hunter Smith and Taylor Staton in the beginner level.
“It was an especially close competition for the women, and I ended up winning in a three-way tiebreak by only one move,” said winner, Sarah Smith. “This was also my first time competing in a climbing competition so I was pretty happy about the result.”
“It was great to have such a wide range of students,” said Tim Posey, Assistant Director of the OPC. “There were people who had climbed a few times to very advanced climbers.”
In his first year at Miami, Posey was very pleased with the turnout for both participants and spectators.
“We wanted to get people involved because rock climbing is such an accessible activity here at Miami, but it can seem intimidating at first,” said Posey. “Aside from being a great workout, it’s a really great community to be a part of.”