Coronado High student ranked among nation’s top sport climbers

       Alex Reich finally listened to his dad. And he's glad he did. Alex Reich on a climb.
Courtesy of Alex Reich and School District 11
       The 18-year-old Coronado High senior had been getting fatherly invitations to go sport climbing, but “I never took him seriously,” he said. Finally, at age 16, Alex accepted. “It was just fun for me,” he said. “Once you get the bug, you keep going.”
       Alex kept going so productively that scarcely a year later, last July when he was still 17, he took seventh place out of more than 400 competitors in the National USA Climbing competition in Boston.
       The way the event works, each climber goes up the same route. The farther a climber gets, the higher he places, Alex explained. Most of the time, especially with skilled climbers, “a matter of inches decides the place.” A similar judging technique was used in his qualifying event at the regional level.
       Asked why he thinks he's gotten so good so quickly, all he could point to is his love of the sport. “It's not about being good,” he said. “I would compete even if I wasn't successful.”
       As a result, all he was really focusing on during the Boston competition was “pushing my personal limit,” Alex recalled. He hopes to go back next year and do even better.
       There's nothing fancy about his training. Other than some body-strengthening work, Alex simply climbs as much as possible - three to six hours a day, when he can. He's tried just about every route in the area, as well as many around the state. Some of his favorite areas are in 11-Mile park, off Shelf Road and near the town of Rifle (where there are highly regarded overhanging limestone faces).
       The only substantive injury he's had was about a 20-foot drop when a belayer let go of his rope in a Garden of the Gods climb. Fortunately, Alex came out of it with just a bruised foot.
       In addition to continuing climbing, Alex plans to go to CU-Boulder next year, majoring in biology or environmental science.

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