MILTON, Ga. – Competitive rock climber Jeremy Heit, a freshman at Milton High School, will compete for the USA Climbing Team in the 2012 Youth Pan American Championship beginning Nov. 21 in Santiago, Chile.
“[My coach has] been very strong, really pushing me harder than I ever thought I could be pushed,” Heit said.
Jeremy will compete with five other U.S. climbers in his age group in the speed category and possibly in sport or bouldering.
In order to train, he participates in a climbing team at the Stone Summit Climbing and Fitness Center in Doraville, Ga., the largest indoor rock climbing facility in the country. Jeremy trains three to four times a week with his coach Claudiu Vidulescu, who also coaches the Youth USA Climbing Team.
As for the future, Heit does not intend to rock climb professionally. Academics have always been a priority for him, and he hopes to continue to pursue his education and eventually enter an occupation such as business. However, he intends to continue climbing for the rest of his life, claiming that it is in his blood.
Heit began climbing at the age of 7 when his parents spent three hours trying to get him down from a rock climbing wall at a birthday party, and he has not lost interest since.
“He started the sport with passion, and it’s never left him,” his mother Stacey said.
Climbing has become a family sport over the years, and Heit’s three sisters often join him in practice. The Heits even have a rock climbing wall in their attic for extra practice.
Heit said he enjoys rock climbing because it is a mental as well as a physical challenge.
“It’s an individual sport, which means that any mistake is all on me, but yet again, all the success is on me, too,” he said.
Through rock climbing, Heit has learned to accept failure to display sportsmanship.
“You’re not always going to get it, but if you don’t put in the effort that it takes, then it’s not worth it,” he said.