Sophomore Ava Kovtunovich has been rock climbing with her parents since she was 2 and a half years old and began competing seven years ago. For the last two years, she has been on the climbing team for the MAC.  Ava says she loves that competitive climbing is unique and what she likes most about it is “you don't really have opponents, you're just trying to do your best along with everyone else. People are always welcoming and supportive and cheering each other on regardless of whether you're on the same team or not.” The support and camaraderie make her team “like a second family.”

Already an accomplished climber, Ava made podium at the Youth Nationals in early 2020, earning her a spot on the Youth National Team and an invitation to compete in the Youth World Championships last summer. Due to the pandemic, she was unable to travel to the competition in both 2020 and 2021. Ava has also represented the United States at the Pan Am Games in Ecuador and says, “it's exciting to compete at that level with some of the best climbers from other countries.”

Ava is now considered old enough to compete on the adult circuit of climbing and will be competing at the Open Nationals this month. This will be Ava’s first time competing against Olympians and World Cup level climbers, so she is “putting in a lot of training with hopes of making the Youth National Team again,” so she can compete at the Youth Worlds next summer.

We are all wishing Ava the very best as she competes at the Open Nationals next week and are proud of all that she has accomplished so far.