Head Coach - Matt Ferrara

Head Coach Matthew Ferrara is a Paul Smith’s College graduate with a B.S. in Recreation Adventure Travel and Eco-Tourism. It was in the Adirondack Mountains where Matt focused on training and coaching climbing as a profession. Shortly after his time in the cold mountains, he moved back to his hometown of Connecticut to create a competitive climbing team based in New Haven. It was there that he coached for a number of years, leading his team to USAC Nationals.  Matthew is a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer and Nationally Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist. He has extensive experience as a wilderness field instructor, working with youth at risk in a wilderness setting.  Matthew uses a scientific approach to the physical aspects of training youth competitive climbers and a more holistic approach when it comes to the mental and emotional aspects of his coaching. Everyone wants to be heard, feel validated, and have their basic social needs met. Matthew is a true mentor in every sense of the word. His breadth of experience and unparalleled style of coaching provides his climbers with the edge needed to be top performing athletes, competing at a national level.  Matthew has had the opportunity to work with the climbing teams and climbing programs of Paul Smith’s College, Yale University, Southern Connecticut State University, West Chester State University, and he is now the Professor of Rock Climbing at Kennesaw State University.  Some of Coach Matt’s favorite climbs & climbing accomplishments:  Second ascent, Always at Fight Weight, V10 Guilford, CT First ascent, Clowns Might Try to Eat You, M6 Adirondack Mountains Medieval Times 5.11b King Wall, Adirondack Mountains Touch of Class 5.9+ Moss Cliff, Adirondack Mountains The Streak 5.13a Big Wall, Birdsboro PA Forearm Frenzy 5.11c Chatfield Hollow, CT Epinephrine 5.9 Red Rocks, NV Middle Teton, Grand Tetons WY

Head Coach Matthew Ferrara is a Paul Smith’s College graduate with a B.S. in Recreation Adventure Travel and Eco-Tourism. It was in the Adirondack Mountains where Matt focused on training and coaching climbing as a profession. Shortly after his time in the cold mountains, he moved back to his hometown of Connecticut to create a competitive climbing team based in New Haven. It was there that he coached for a number of years, leading his team to USAC Nationals.

Matthew is a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer and Nationally Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist. He has extensive experience as a wilderness field instructor, working with youth at risk in a wilderness setting.

Matthew uses a scientific approach to the physical aspects of training youth competitive climbers and a more holistic approach when it comes to the mental and emotional aspects of his coaching. Everyone wants to be heard, feel validated, and have their basic social needs met. Matthew is a true mentor in every sense of the word. His breadth of experience and unparalleled style of coaching provides his climbers with the edge needed to be top performing athletes, competing at a national level.

Matthew has had the opportunity to work with the climbing teams and climbing programs of Paul Smith’s College, Yale University, Southern Connecticut State University, West Chester State University, and he is now the Professor of Rock Climbing at Kennesaw State University.

Some of Coach Matt’s favorite climbs & climbing accomplishments:

Second ascent, Always at Fight Weight, V10 Guilford, CT
First ascent, Clowns Might Try to Eat You, M6 Adirondack Mountains
Medieval Times 5.11b King Wall, Adirondack Mountains
Touch of Class 5.9+ Moss Cliff, Adirondack Mountains
The Streak 5.13a Big Wall, Birdsboro PA
Forearm Frenzy 5.11c Chatfield Hollow, CT
Epinephrine 5.9 Red Rocks, NV
Middle Teton, Grand Tetons WY

 
 

Asst. Head Coach - Vinny Varsalona

Assistant Head Coach Vinny Varsalona is a full-time student at Chattahoochee Technical College pursuing a degree in microbiology. He is native to Kennesaw, having lived here his whole life. He began climbing in early 2015 after visiting Escalade with his Scout group, though he chose to take it quite seriously in late 2016. Vinny is not somebody who you can describe as a “natural athlete.” He bounced around sports for a little while, though his true love has always been playing music. Climbing lends itself to creative thinking and attention to detail much like music. Once Vinny made this discovery, he fell in love with the sport.  Having a less than athletic background, Vinny started from the ground up with climbing. With that he understands the value of hard work and is extremely patient and thorough when explaining new skills and tasks to those he teaches. He takes a musical approach in his teaching; do it slow until you can’t do it wrong, and commit to what you’re working on until it is complete.  In addition to climbing, Vinny is a classical guitarist, and working toward his glider pilot’s license.  A few of Coach Vinny’s favorite climbs are:  Manute Bol V6, Stone Fort, TN Stretch Armstrong V6, Stone Fort, TN Alligator Sit Vweird, Boat Rock, GA Bum Boy V3, Horse Pens 40, AL Sternum V5, Stone Fort, TN

Assistant Head Coach Vinny Varsalona is a full-time student at Chattahoochee Technical College pursuing a degree in microbiology. He is native to Kennesaw, having lived here his whole life. He began climbing in early 2015 after visiting Escalade with his Scout group, though he chose to take it quite seriously in late 2016. Vinny is not somebody who you can describe as a “natural athlete.” He bounced around sports for a little while, though his true love has always been playing music. Climbing lends itself to creative thinking and attention to detail much like music. Once Vinny made this discovery, he fell in love with the sport.

Having a less than athletic background, Vinny started from the ground up with climbing. With that he understands the value of hard work and is extremely patient and thorough when explaining new skills and tasks to those he teaches. He takes a musical approach in his teaching; do it slow until you can’t do it wrong, and commit to what you’re working on until it is complete.

In addition to climbing, Vinny is a classical guitarist, and working toward his glider pilot’s license.

A few of Coach Vinny’s favorite climbs are:

Manute Bol V6, Stone Fort, TN
Stretch Armstrong V6, Stone Fort, TN
Alligator Sit Vweird, Boat Rock, GA
Bum Boy V3, Horse Pens 40, AL
Sternum V5, Stone Fort, TN

Coach - Liam Aguilar

When he isn’t coaching or climbing, Coach Liam is a full-time student at Kennesaw State University. He hopes to graduate with a Bachelor's Degree in Exercise Physiology and go on to a graduate program for Physical Therapy. He discovered climbing in late 2015 at the KSU Recreational Center and has been hooked ever since. He follows a very strict workout regime that consists of climbing and lifting weights. His self written routine has allowed him to make enormous strides both in his climbing and in the weight room. He hopes to apply the knowledge he has gained both in his education as an Exercise Physiology student and in his own experiences training as a climber to his coaching.  Some of Coach Liam's favorite climbs include:  Grimace V8, Stone Fort, TN  Now and Zen V7, Stone Fort, TN  Toothfairy V7, Stone Fort, TN  Sherman Photo Roof V7, Rocktown, GA  Nosecandy V6, Rocktown, GA  Hammerhead V5, Horse Pens 40, AL

When he isn’t coaching or climbing, Coach Liam is a full-time student at Kennesaw State University. He hopes to graduate with a Bachelor's Degree in Exercise Physiology and go on to a graduate program for Physical Therapy. He discovered climbing in late 2015 at the KSU Recreational Center and has been hooked ever since. He follows a very strict workout regime that consists of climbing and lifting weights. His self written routine has allowed him to make enormous strides both in his climbing and in the weight room. He hopes to apply the knowledge he has gained both in his education as an Exercise Physiology student and in his own experiences training as a climber to his coaching.

Some of Coach Liam's favorite climbs include:

Grimace V8, Stone Fort, TN

Now and Zen V7, Stone Fort, TN

Toothfairy V7, Stone Fort, TN

Sherman Photo Roof V7, Rocktown, GA

Nosecandy V6, Rocktown, GA

Hammerhead V5, Horse Pens 40, AL

 

Coach - Hallie Settle

 
Coach Hallie is a part-time student at Georgia Highlands College with plans to transfer to the University of North Georgia to Major in Exercise Physiology and Physical Therapy. Her first experience with climbing was in Sand Rock, Alabama when she had the opportunity to go camping and climbing with some family friends. She hopes to continue furthering her climbing skill as well as helping those on the team further theirs. She is especially excited to bring some “girl power” to Team Escalade in the hope of bringing other young girls to realize their strength and potential.  Some of Coach Hallie’s favorite climbs are:  Super Mario V3, Rocktown, GA  Low and Slow V4, Hospital Boulder, AL  Swingers V3, Stone Fort, TN  Wasatch V4, Rocktown, GA  Makin’ Waves V2, Rocktown, GA  Slippery When Wet V2, Hospital Boulders, AL

Coach Hallie is a part-time student at Georgia Highlands College with plans to transfer to the University of North Georgia to Major in Exercise Physiology and Physical Therapy. Her first experience with climbing was in Sand Rock, Alabama when she had the opportunity to go camping and climbing with some family friends. She hopes to continue furthering her climbing skill as well as helping those on the team further theirs. She is especially excited to bring some “girl power” to Team Escalade in the hope of bringing other young girls to realize their strength and potential.

Some of Coach Hallie’s favorite climbs are:

Super Mario V3, Rocktown, GA

Low and Slow V4, Hospital Boulder, AL

Swingers V3, Stone Fort, TN

Wasatch V4, Rocktown, GA

Makin’ Waves V2, Rocktown, GA

Slippery When Wet V2, Hospital Boulders, AL

Club Coach - Dan McAstocker

Club coach Daniel, better known as Dan, is a full-time student at Chattahoochee Technical College. He is pursuing a teaching degree in Elementary Education, with the possibility of becoming a special needs teacher. He started climbing three years ago when he was introduced to Escalade and hasn’t stopped since. Dan wasn’t raised in the great outdoors, but has found a passion for hiking, camping, climbing, and anything that gets him outside. He focuses on fun and introducing strong fundamental techniques to his climbers. His main goal is for each climber to find the confidence in themselves so they can further their interest in and passion for climbing.

Club coach Daniel, better known as Dan, is a full-time student at Chattahoochee Technical College. He is pursuing a teaching degree in Elementary Education, with the possibility of becoming a special needs teacher. He started climbing three years ago when he was introduced to Escalade and hasn’t stopped since. Dan wasn’t raised in the great outdoors, but has found a passion for hiking, camping, climbing, and anything that gets him outside. He focuses on fun and introducing strong fundamental techniques to his climbers. His main goal is for each climber to find the confidence in themselves so they can further their interest in and passion for climbing.