Student interest in nontraditional sports increases: Rock climbing and Water polo

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Student interest in nontraditional sports increases: Rock climbing and Water polo

CLIMBING AROUND: Climbing club leader Alexa Moy (11) scales a bouldering route while climbing club poses on their first outing.

CLIMBING AROUND: Climbing club leader Alexa Moy (11) scales a bouldering route while climbing club poses on their first outing.

Photo courtesy of Alexa Moy

CLIMBING AROUND: Climbing club leader Alexa Moy (11) scales a bouldering route while climbing club poses on their first outing.

Photo courtesy of Alexa Moy

Photo courtesy of Alexa Moy

CLIMBING AROUND: Climbing club leader Alexa Moy (11) scales a bouldering route while climbing club poses on their first outing.

Madeline Schallmoser, Sports Editor

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Rock climbing will make its Olympic debut at the 2020 Summer Games this July in Tokyo, Japan. Also making its debut is DGN’s climbing club. The club has 33 members and held its first event on Nov. 16. The group took a trip to Vertical Endeavors, one of the best climbing gyms in the country according to Climbing.com 

 Club leader and competitive climber Alexa Moy has been seriously climbing for 6 years. She specializes in bouldering, a form of rock climbing where the climber traverses a rock wall or formation from a low height without a harness. 

Moy enjoys rock climbing’s balance between community and competition. 

You know how other sports are really competitive and there’s always a lot of bad blood, climbing’s never like that,” Moy said. “At competitions, you can feel the energy, but it’s never negative.”

Water polo isn’t new to DGN, but it is relatively unfamiliar to the student body. DGN students have the option to play water polo in DGS’s club, which has been hosting scrimmages in the DGS pool for 7 years. The co-ed club currently consists of 31 DGS students and 18 DGN students. 

Club sponsor and water polo coach Frank Kutcha discovered the sport in high school and playing in college as well as a men’s league after graduation. He has been coaching since 1986, and recognizes the potential of athletes from any athletic background.

”It gives a swimmer an opportunity to put their swimming talents to use in a game situation. This is a team sport, more like soccer or hockey. I have had athletes from all different arenas participate in our program,” Kutcha said.  

Water polo player senior Rebecca Waden has been swimming since the age of 8 and enjoys the change of pace water polo brings. 

“I think it’s fun just because of the competitive aspect. I’ve always been competitive, and so there’s a big difference between swimming a bunch of lengths of the pool nonstop and being in the water but having gameplay,” Waden said.

Both Kutcha and Waden discovered water polo as a means of making their pre-existing involvement with swimming a bit more interesting. Water polo and other non-traditional sports can add a new competitive element to a sport, but can also serve as a laid back hobby. In either case, students are getting up, getting active, and getting out of their comfort zones.