by Hannah Murphy
After 4 months, 5 competitions, hundreds of routes, and a boat load of chalk, there emerged one winner in the WICS 2017 Indoor Climbing Series. The University of Wisconsin La Crosse's LaX Climbing Crew took hold of the infamous "Rock" this past weekend at the UWL Bouldering Competition with a total of 1515 points. Top competitors Saturday included Katie Lawler, Kelly Skaer, Audrey Biemeret, Monika Mann, and Sidney Burleson for the women along with Andrew Nimmer, Frederick Kopff, Jordan Hyzer, Aaryn Schwark, and Eric Hulen for the men.
Around 207 climbers competed in this year's WICS Indoor Climbing Series averaging about 83 climbers per competition. Overall, 16 different universities were represented in this year's series. Of the overall series top 10 competitors in both the men's and women's division, The University of Wisconsin La Crosse's LaX Climbing Crew had two climbers place in the men's division and four climbers place overall in the women's division. These climbers include Jordan Hyzer, Hunter Cottrell, Allison Molitor, Heather Patterson, Ella Luepke, and Hannah Murphy. The LaX Climbing Crew, known for being a predominately bouldering crew, claim this year's series with a triumphant "Sahhhhh!"
On the topic of this year's series, LaX Climbing Crew's Todd Ahlers says, "We have a solid group of climbers with a wide range of climbing skills and we all just stayed groovy and got sendy with it." The retired Alex Perronne says, "I left La Crosse and we finally won. I think it is a sign." UWL junior Ella Luepke says, "Winning isn't that much of a surprise when you look back at all of the hours spent in the gym. The rock is a physical representation of those hours."
When looking to the future, LaX Climbing Crew is predicted to stay just as strong with only a few climbers graduating this May. Overall, the series presented its climbers with countless opportunities to climb hard, send em all, and represent their university's climbing community's strengths. To end with one final note from the LaX Climbing Crew, "We'll see you next year and a big congratulations to all of the climbers in this year's WICS."