Seen on the softball field, sprinting around the track or doing crazy ninja moves in the talent show, senior Kelly Jean Gehring is considered by her teammates and classmates as one of Marian’s strongest athletes.
She brings her passion for athletics to every sport she’s committed to, but she also dedicates time outside of school to more adventurous activities. On the weekends, Gehring heads over to Approach Climbing Gym on 72nd and L, and spends her time rock climbing both during and after the softball and track seasons are over. “Rock climbing is my favorite because it’s challenging and something that I can progress in and watch my progress,” Gehring said.
Gehring has been rock climbing since she was 12, for recreational purposes only, but claims that it helps her tremendously in other sports. “It takes a lot of upper body and core strength to do. I can see myself getting stronger the more I do it, as I start completing harder routes,” Gehring said. She travels to Colorado every other month and climbs outdoors in the Steamboat Springs area during the summer. In the past, she has even climbed a frozen waterfall in an outfit complete with pick axes and crampons.
The outfits and required gear are elaborate for boulder climbing as well. Gehring suits up in a harness and climbing shoes for each climb and brings her own carabiners, chalk and belay device. “It’s a fairly expensive sport, but it isn’t a major time commitment, so I just go whenever I want,” Gehring said.
When Gehring isn’t crushing it in centerfield at a softball game or breaking records in the 300 meter hurdle or pole vault on the track, she’s either Jazzercising with friends or running for fun. “I enjoy running during the off-seasons. I ran a half marathon last year, and I’m planning another one this summer after track season,” Gehring said.
Even with her busy and adventurous lifestyle, Gehring still has time for friends and fun. “As far as juggling it all, I’m definitely no superstar. I think that staying busy actually helps me to get my school work done faster because it doesn’t allow me time to procrastinate,” Gehring said. She finds that living a healthy lifestyle helps her to have more energy, and she thoroughly enjoys the exercise she’s doing, so it doesn’t seem like exercise at all.
To the girls that are wanting to get into an adventurous sport or activity and want to incorporate exercise into their routine, Gehring suggests, “Try things that you’re interested in, even if they aren’t the norm or they push you outside of your comfort zone. You never know what sport or activity you might fall in love with until you try it.”
Climbing queen Gehring heads over to Approach Climbing Gym at least once, sometimes twice, a week. A day pass costs $17, or a climber can purchase a $125 10-visit pass. Equipment is also available for rental, but Gehring brings her own. She typically chalks up her hands and heads to the boulder wall first. This wall consists of a variety of courses all with differing levels of difficulty where Gehring climbs without any ropes or harnesses. After contorting her body into strange positions, lifting her entire body weight with her arm muscles alone and completing a few complicated routes, Gehring heads over to top rope. She straps on her harness and hooks herself up to the automatic pulley machine. Top roping is the closest to what Gehring does when she climbs in Colorado. It’s similar to boulder, except the routes are taller and the climber is strapped in. After about an hour, once her muscles are shaking and she’s all worn out, Gehring heads home. alliemorrissey