The main governing body of American competition climbing, USA Climbing, recently announced that Rachel Owens has been hired as the organization’s new Collegiate and Paraclimbing Series Manager. The role will entail Owens working closely with USA Climbing’s CEO, Marc Norman, as well as the organization’s collegiate and paraclimbing committees.
Outwardly, Owens will also work with colleges and universities—and, presumably gyms—across the country with a long-term goal of getting climbing recognized as an NCAA sport. Such designation would mean that collegiate climbers would be regulated by the same organization that regulates collegiate football players, basketball players, and other student-athletes. Also, being an NCAA-sanctioned sport would mean that the NCAA would oversee college climbing’s national championships.
Owens will also be working to grow and standardize USA Climbing’s Paraclimbing series on a domestic level with a goal of inclusion in a future Paralympic Games.
In a press release about the hire, CEO Norman said, “Collegiate and Paraclimbing are important, fast growing constituencies within our sport and warrant dedicated support and attention. Rachel [Owens] has an excellent blend of collegiate and NGB experience, and we’re confident she’ll be a tremendous asset as we work to implement our strategies for these two important series.”
The chair of USA Climbing’s Paraclimbing Committee, Maureen Beck, added, “The Paraclimbing community is excited to welcome Rachel to our family. Our growing number of competitors will greatly benefit from having someone dedicated to our discipline. Filling this position shows USA Climbing’s commitment to supporting all of its disciplines, Paraclimbing included.”
The hiring of Owens comes just weeks after USA Climbing also hired Kelly Feilke to serve as the new Vice President of Marketing, Communications, and Development.
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