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by Terri Hogan
Senior Staff Writer
From playground monkey bars to becoming the 2018 World University Bouldering Champion, Megan Lynch has climbed her way to the top.
Lynch, 20, of Brooke Manor Estates, earned the title at the 2018 FISU World University Championship in Bratislava, Slovakia, on June 22.
Lynch said she is still “over the moon” that her dream of becoming a world champion is a reality.
“It’s exciting and still feels pretty incredible,” she said. “I definitely don’t take anything for granted. I put in a lot of hard work for training and everything just fell into place that day.”
Bouldering is a climbing discipline featuring walls up to 25 feet high, no ropes or harnesses, and a crash pad underneath to catch falls.
To qualify for the World University Climbing Championship, Lynch had to place in the top five at the USA Collegiate National Championship, held in April in Katy, Texas.
She finished in second place, securing her bid to the World Championship event.
Lynch was one of six women competing in Bratislava. The competition involved a series of climbs. She did not complete her second climb, but she did not let that discourage her.
Due to the language barrier, Lynch wasn’t sure how her performance ranked.
“I didn’t care about knowing my score; I just wanted to focus on doing my best,” she said. “I knew going into the last climb anything could happen.”
When she learned she finished first, she burst into tears.
“That moment was the most pure joy I have ever experienced,” she said. “The biggest dream of my life had come true. I still get goosebumps thinking about it.”
She trains at Earth Treks Rockville, which she calls her “favorite place in the world.”
Mark Podrabinnik is Lynch’s coach, former teammate and one of her biggest climbing inspirations. He has trained with Lynch for about seven years at Earth Treks.
“Megan totally deserves this,” he said. “She is by far the hardest working person I have ever met, always has a smile on her face and always stays positive, no matter what.”
“I always knew she had it in her,” Podrabinnik added. “She’s been working really hard towards this and her work finally paid off. I am really happy for her and can’t wait to see what she does next.”
Lynch trains for five to seven hours about five times a week.
“It requires taking care of myself, heathy eating and getting good sleep,” she said. “Everything in my world revolves around climbing. It is what I live and breathe for.”
After graduating from the Academy of the Holy Cross in 2016, Lynch took a gap year and then decided to take another year to focus on climbing and figure out her plans for the future.
“Taking another year and being at home was the right thing for me, personally,” she said.
This fall, she will attend Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., where she will study exercise science.
While there, she will continue to climb at a nearby gym, working with a USA Climbing Coach.
“Climbing is something I will do for the rest of my life,” she said.
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