Student shines in Russia

Junior rock climber reflects on world competition


Courtesy of the Wills family

Junior Colin Wills had a tremendous showing in the junior world championships in Russia.

Mia Taylor, Online Editor

 Junior Colin Wills has taken his newfound passion to the next level.

  After two years of competitive climbing, Wills has earned a spot on the United States bouldering team. His skills have allowed him to travel around the world to showcase his talent.

  This past August, Wills represented team USA at the Junior World Bouldering Championships in Moscow where he was joined by elite climbers from 43 countries.

  The competition kicked off with an opening ceremony and was followed by a qualifying round the next day.

 Wills was able to elevate his finish  from last year’s competition.

   “My coach told me I was in second place (in the preliminary round), and I was really surprised since my placement the previous year wasn’t as good,” Wills said. “I was happy to see all the progress I’ve made.”

  Wills’ performance clinched him a spot in the semifinals. After undergoing a frustrating semifinal round, Wills ended up in 19th place in the world.

  It was an outcome that filled him with both excitement and disappointment.

   “Just being able to have that experience at world championships opened my eyes to a whole new level of competition and helped me see what I need to do to compete at a higher level,” Wills said.

  Wills hopes to improve further this upcoming season.


  “Within the next few years I hope to be more competitive in world cups,” Wills said. “I also want to avoid injury so I can continue competing as long as possible.”

  Despite lacking the level of experience of many of his competitors, other climbers said Wills still has a bright future in rock climbing.

  “All of my teammates have been climbing their whole life,” Wills said. “Some even have parents who climbed and introduced them to the sport. Being exposed to climbing at such a young age helps develop techniques necessary to be a competitive climber.”

  Despite his brief climbing career, Wills is a promising athlete. He credits his talent for climbing to the many years of climbing furniture and trees growing up.

  He said his initial experience in a climbing gym was “just an extension of what (he) had been doing before. It just felt natural.”

  Also, one benefit of having started climbing at an older age than most, if not all, of his competitors is that he “wasn’t exposed to all those early injuries that most climbers have to deal with.”  

  Wills plans on avoiding injuries that will cause any setbacks as he heads into the upcoming season. Training four days per week, three hours each session and balancing the stress and workload that comes with his junior year of high school can be a daunting task, but Wills is confident he can take on the challenge.

  “So far my teachers have all been super supportive, which has made a huge difference,” Wills said. “I try to get as much homework done as I can before I leave (for practice). Overall,

it works pretty well.”

For Wills, climbing is not just a sport in which he excels – it is a passion and a portal to experiences he never could have imagined

  Wills also has found a balance between climbing and the rest of his life, and he acknowledges the importance of having fun and not just focusing on the competitive elements of the sport. Whenever he begins to feel frustrated or stressed with the sport, he has a strategy for relaxing.

 “I take a step back and climb outside for a while with friends and remember why I originally got into climbing,” Wills said.

  For Wills, climbing is not just a sport in which he excels – it is a passion and a portal to experiences he never could have imagined. Through climbing, Wills has acquired a network of support from friends and family.

  “He has the brain to solve the problem,” said Douglas Taylor, Wills’ grandfather, “the body to conquer the wall, the conditioning enabling endurance and the heart of a champion.”