The White Spider Climbing Squad is made up of 18 super talented climbers, aged from 7 to 17. They’ve got tons of climbing experience between them, and it’s been an honour watching them progress and compete. 2021 was an incredibly successful year for the Squad – and they’re bringing that success with them into 2022! Due to their achievements at various competitions like YCS, the British Lead Climbing Championships (BLCCs) and the Junior British Bouldering Championships (JBBCs) – our squad now has not one, not two but a whopping TEN climbers who have made the GB National Development Squad.
We’d like to say a massive congratulations to Joey Howells, Oliver Rae, Sebastian Edgington, Jessica Ward, Sam Weatherstone, Monty James, Tom Bouwknegt, Iggy Rinaldi, Lucy Garlick and Isabella Edgington! These White Spider Climbing Squad members will now be part of the GB National Development Squad, meaning they will compete in national and possibly international competitions in the future! They’ll also attend GB training camps as part of their new training pathway.
These selections have come about due to the Squad’s competition results over the past four months – based on YCS, the BLCC’s, JBBC’s as well as some of last years competition results. This is a HUGE achievement both individually and for the White Spider Climbing Squad as a team – over half of our Squad kids are now part of the GB Development Squad! As a result, we’d like to say a huge thank you to all of the Squad coaches who put so much of their time and effort into the squad, as well as the regular route setters who put so much time and consideration into setting routes for these kids!
Oliver Rae is super excited: ” I have worked really hard this year, so it was the best Christmas present ever to hear that I had been offered a place in the GB Development Squad. Thank you to all of my coaches, my squad mates and my parents for taking me to all the training and competitions. I am so proud and I cannot wait to meet the GB coaches to learn more!”
In total, the Squad achieved 44 podiums at the BMC’s Youth Climbing Series, making this years competition the most successful YCS we’ve ever had! We took 11 of the Squad members to the YCS Grand Finals, and came away with TWO National Champions. This just shows that hard work, dedication and enthusiasm for the sport pays off!
Joey Howells, one of the younger members of the Squad has decided that him being chosen for the GB Development Squad is a “life-changing experience”. His parents are thrilled to see Joey progress in his climbing: “He has gained so much from his coaching and training at White Spider. His climbing has improved massively, but more than that, he has gained some amazing friends. He is surrounded by such a positive atmosphere where he gets incredible support from his coaches and teammates. We are just incredibly grateful to everyone who has supported his love of climbing”.
The Squad didn’t stop there, and they absolutely crushed it at the BLCCs and the JBBCs. We came away with another two National Champions, 5 podium places and some very happy climbers!
Monty James, who came 3rd in his category at the JBBCs is “so happy and pleased to be in the GB team”. Monty’s parents have been regulars at White Spider for a while now: “Monty has thrived in the White Spider Competition Squad as a result of excellent and supportive coaching. The coaches have helped him to improve both his capability and technique. The squad has such a fantastic atmosphere, everyone is so committed and focused, but also friendly and encouraging. All of this aided his competition performance and subsequent selection to the GB Development Squad. We are so proud of his achievements and excited for the future.”
Of course, the Squad Coaches are all incredibly proud of their climbers – but Guy Davenport, the Head Squad Coach couldn’t be happier: “I am so proud of this achievement. To get over half of the squad into the GB National Development Squad is not only a testament to how hard the kids have worked, it reinforces the standard of youth coaching at White Spider. It also underpins our reputation for producing and nurturing the best young climbers in the country. I am incredibly grateful for the support of the management as well as our world class route setters for providing an environment for these climbers to realise their potential.”
We can’t wait to see what heights the Squad climb to this year (sorry, pardon the pun!). Keep up with their progress on the White Spider Climbing Squad Instagram below – 2022 is going to be their year!