In a school filled with plenty of varsity sports teams, a great achievement within Montclair State University athletics might come from a team of just one.
Senior Amanda Martino has her eyes set on the biggest stage rock climbing has to offer at the collegiate level. While technically not an officially registered team at Montclair State, Amanda has been representing the Red Hawks in the sport and has now reached the incredible achievement of competing in the USA Climbing Collegiate Nationals in Bridgeport, Pennsylvania.
To reach a level as high as the Collegiate Nationals, Amanda had to put immense time and effort into perfecting her craft. The senior first started her rock climbing journey at the age of 12.
“I did a camp at a gym in [Fairfield, New Jersey], and climbed all summer and really liked it,” Amanda said. “At the time, I was trying to do dance competitively, but I really liked rock climbing so I tried out for a team in September and made it.”
This instant attraction to the sport would be the beginning of a journey and training regimen that would mold her as a person.
“Nowadays, I train four or five times a week,” Amanda said. “Usually people train with their teams, but since Montclair State doesn’t have a team I do all my training on my own.”
Amanda used to belong to a formal team when she attended the University of Vermont but transferred to Montclair State after a semester.
“To be able to live at home; train more, since with my car I could drive to my gym; and be a part of that community I was so close with for a while, it was just better for me athletically and academically,” Amanda said.
Amanda’s dedication to her rock climbing has given her essential qualities off the wall as well. Her mother Annie Martino and father Bob Martino are proud of what their daughter has accomplished in the sport.
“For me, it’s her dedication, her leadership, the way she reaches while training and practices — it’s just a part of her now,” Annie said.
Her father said the sport is a motivation for Amanda.
“I think it’s an inspiration for her and a confidence builder,” Bob said. “It makes her very proud and creates a lot of goals for her that she always strives to meet.”
With all these skills and life attributes picked up along the way, Amanda now sees them all come to a head as she sets her sights on the Collegiate Nationals.
The competition is a landmark achievement for the years of hard work and discipline she has put into the sport.
“Being able to compete in this competition is an extremely proud moment for me,” Amanda said. “I am really excited to compete at the highest level.”
While this competition is the end of the road for Amanda at the collegiate level, the senior does not foresee her rock climbing journey ending after this. Amanda also spends time coaching at the Gravity Vault gym in Montclair, New Jersey.
“I have been coaching for a couple of years now and it definitely means a lot for me to coach,” Amanda said. “I am really close with a lot of my old coaches and have some very important relationships with them, so it really means a lot for me to form those relationships on my team and help them reach their goals.”
Amanda’s drive and dedication to her sport and representing the Montclair area is something that cannot be understated, and she hopes to make everyone proud as she embarks on this major competition.
The Collegiate Nationals will take place from April 20 to April 24. Amanda looks forward to climbing to the next step in her journey and making her school a champion, registered team or not.