Safford, Stephens Qualify for Collegiate Nationals

Safford, Stephens Qualify for Collegiate Nationals

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Two members of the Brevard climbing program, Caroline Safford and Matt Stephens, qualified for Collegiate Nationals in the Appalachian Regions following their performance in Nashville, Tenn., at the Appalachian Regional Championships over the weekend.

The Tornados capped off Saturday's event, held at The Crag, with a third place team showing. Brevard finished behind North Carolina and Duke.

"Our climbers showed great tenacity in the face of our most adverse seasons yet," said head coach Travis Gray. "Only seven of our 10 climbers were able to compete, which really put the extra pressure on those individuals to perform and do well. Our third place team finish is something that I am very proud of for our team's legacy and we are excited to use what we learned this season to help us with our success at next year's event."

Safford finished fifth in the speed competition among 10 climbers taking part in the event. She reached the next round of competition based on rules that govern the Appalachian Region, which allow the top five climbers in each category per gender to qualify for Collegiate Nationals.

Safford also enjoyed solid finishes in the sport climbing competition and bouldering competition, finishing eighth place in each. She was the eighth of 12 women in sport climbing and eighth of 19 taking part in bouldering.

Stephens brought home first place in the speed climbing competition, recording the best time of 21 individuals at the event.

Stephens also reached the podium in the sport climbing competition, placing second among 18 males taking part in the event, to qualify for Collegiate Nationals. His performance edged out teammates Jordan Haak (sixth), Sam Schaer (sixth) and Mac Fitzgerald (10th).

Stephens claimed second in in the bouldering competition, which included 33 participants.

The Tornados now turn their attention to Collegiate National Championships which take place at the Momentum Indoor Climbing facility in Houston, Texas on April 20-22.