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Brooke Manor’s Megan Lynch takes on new heights in rock climbing

Brooke Manor’s Megan Lynch takes on new heights in rock climbing

by Terri Hogan
Senior Staff Writer

Ever since she was a young child scaling the playground, Megan Lynch has reached for the top.   Her climbing career began on the monkey bars, moved on to training at Earth Treks in Rockville, and now has her competing internationally as one of the top rock climbers in her age group.


Lynch, 18, of the Brooke Manor community, recently returned from the National Youth Climbing Championship in Salt Lake City, where she competed in hopes of earning a spot on the USA Youth Climbing team for the second consecutive year.

While that did not happen, she finished in 11th place out of more than 50 climbers competing in “bouldering.”
The climbing discipline features walls up to 25 feet high, with a crash pad underneath to catch falls. While bouldering is her favorite, Megan also competes in “ropes,” where climbers take a rope up with them and attach it to clips as they scale a wall that is usually about 50 feet high.

Lynch’s training leading up to nationals was intense and included climbing at Earth Treks for eight hours a day, five days a week.

“The past few months were basically climbing, eating and sleeping,” she said.   She was initially disheartened by her results.  “Dealing with failure is not easy, and the hardest thing for me as an athlete,” she said. “I was disappointed that my performance didn’t showcase the effort I put into training and preparation. But other times that has showed, and I know it will show in future events.” She looks at her performance philosophically.  “At the end of the day, I have climbing and will continue to have climbing,” she added. “This performance does not affect the great things I have done with climbing.”

Her coach, Justin Wyse, is in awe of Lynch’s dedication to climbing.   “When I first met Megan, it was the introduction to a whole new level of what it means to challenge oneself,” he wrote as part of an award nomination form. “I remember when she first bounced into the Timonium gym after I had just moved here from Washington State, skipping around the gym and looking at every single climb and talking to every single person with a relentlessly positive attitude. She then proceeded to hop on some of my projects and completely squash them with minimal effort.” He added: “From that point on, I knew that it would be an amazing challenge to try and coach someone with that much talent, and to push her higher than any level I had ever achieved myself.”

In November, Lynch competed as a part of Team USA in the International Federation of Sport Climbing World Youth Climbing Championship in Guangzhou, China, where she placed 17th in ropes and 23rd in bouldering.
“That was the trip of a lifetime,” she said. “It was so much fun and the pinnacle of what you can achieve as a youth climber. Being there and making friends from across the U.S. and around the world will be something I will cherish forever.”

Following China, she competed in regional and divisional championships, to qualify for nationals. She maintained a perfect season, with not a single fall during competition.

After returning from Salt Lake City, Lynch took some time off.  “It was very much needed,” she said. “The skin on my hands hurt.”  However, she couldn’t stay down long, and is ready getting back into it, just to have fun — “rock climbing for the sake of rock climbing.”

It’s not all for fun, as she plans to compete in the upcoming ropes season this summer, which will be her final opportunity to compete as a youth.   Her mother, Patty Lynch, said that Megan does not like to brag.
“But as you know, parents do,” she said. “Climbing is a cool sport and is different to talk about, and people are always fascinated when they hear about Megan and the climbing world.”   Megan confirmed that while many people participate in it, it is not very well known.

Megan Lynch attended St. Jude Regional Catholic School and graduated from The Academy of Holy Cross in 2016. She is taking a gap year before starting at Loyola University Maryland, and said that while at college she plans to continue climbing at Earth Treks’ locations in Columbia and Timonium.

“I plan to keep on climbing until my body doesn’t let me anymore,” Lynch said.   Her coach has no doubt about her commitment.

“Over the years, Megan’s psych level on the sport has never wavered. If anything, she continues to bring more energy to the sport with each practice and competition,” he wrote in the award nomination. “The amount of effort Megan puts into this sport is astonishing and incredibly motivating to see as a coach.”  He added: “Megan continually makes sacrifices to put her heart and soul into the sport.”

Terri Hogan can be reached at [email protected].

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