-Several weeks ago, the WFPF announced some big news… the first ever WFPF sanctioned collegiate competition, to be held at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. Here is the announcement that was the preview to the historic event that has changed the world of Parkour in universities in the United States forever!
When the WFPF first announced our “College WFPF” (which is now “USAP College”) initiative several years ago, we got some questions from the international Parkour community- namely, why were we starting such a program! Our response to that question was that the responsibility of the WFPF to be there to answer questions and help where there is a “need” and in the United States, there was an incredible need in the University Parkour community. Circumstances relating to the growth of the discipline of Parkour vary greatly depending on the country. In the United States, organized sports at the University level is a huge part of the university experience as well as the American way of life. Many universities and colleges around the United States were accepting Parkour on campuses, while others were banning Parkour altogether. We felt that we could educate and mentor university students on how to get recognition from their universities by educating the universities about what Parkour is and how it could be practiced safely at the college level… and it worked!! We now have a growing group of universities in the USAP College community that is growing and thriving with new college Parkour clubs coming on board every month! https://www.facebook.com/USAPcollege?fref=ts
Lots has happened in the last few years including WFPF sanctioned collegiate jams at University Massachusetts- Amherst and Indiana University, however it took Conner Hjellming, the college Parkour club director at University of Wisconsin- Platteville to get the first WFPF sanctioned collegiate Parkour competition and community jam up and running! It took place on September 12th and 13th of 2015 and was an overwhelming success!
Here’s a little rundown of the event at University of Wisconsin- Platteville:
-The first ever USAP College Parkour Invitational on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville hosted by Avialae Parkour comes to a close. Eight colleges were represented including the University of Connecticut, Indiana University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaigne, Waubonsee Community College, Boston College, Western Technical College (Wisconsin) and the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.
-The top three for the competition at the first ever USAP College Parkour Invitational 2015 on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. Third, Pavel “Pasha” Klopov (Waubonsee Community College); second, Conner Hjellming (University of Wisconsin-Platteville) and first, Zach Kekac (University of Connecticut).
-After the challenge and speed rounds Pavel “Pasha” Klopov and Larry Le tied for third following all three rounds and had to compete in a challenge round “Playoff”! AND, in the spirit of Parkour they helped each other in that final challenge round!!! Loved that!
-Carly Foor from University of Wisconsin- Platteville was the only woman to make the finals! Congratulations Carly!
-A great wrap up video of the first ever University Competition sanctioned by the WFPF, USAParkour, and USAP College and hosted by U Wisconsin Platteville’s Team Avialae. Who will be the next University to get one of these going on their campus! The WFPF and USAP College is there to sanction and support you!! Thanks to Know Obstacles Media for the great video:
-A great article by University of Wisconsin- Platteville newspaper, the Exponent, who covered the event in for the university.
And a word or two from the top finishers and Greg Milano (USAP Collegiate co-director).
Zach Kekac (1st place):
“The event was spectacular. I was completely shocked when I walked up to the course, I didn’t expect it to be so expansive. The Avialae crew did a wonderful job organizing and hosting the event as a whole, and it’s a memory that will sit safely in my mind forever. The weekend was composed of the most important things that Parkour means to me; awesome people, adventure, and of course plenty of jumping. I hope I’ll be able to compete in the next Collegiate Competition wherever it’s held, and I hope to see everyone that I met from this event there too!”
Conner Hjellming (2nd place and UW Platteville Parkour director):
“This wasn’t just a competition for me but a chance to make a difference in the parkour and college community. To see the difference be made for all of these athletes this weekend was an unforgettable experience!”
Pavel “Pasha” Klopov (3rd place):
“It was my first competition in the US, and the experience that I got is incredible!!! The atmosphere was awesome, and I like the way how people support each other! People without knowing each other cheer for each other, and that’s what I like in competition atmosphere.”
Larry Le “4th place):
“It was the most fun and fulfilling first time experience, I have never had that much fun before!”
Greg Milano, USAP College co-director:
“This was the first of many USAP College Parkour Invitational weekends insured by USA Parkour and sanctioned by the World Freerunning Parkour Federation. The first ever USAP College Parkour Invitational has shown what is possible when a university and a national organization works together to manage concerns over property damage or injuries to parkour club members. Through the hard work, determination and perseverance of the parkour club members at UW-Platteville a thoroughly organized event like this came together. It is our hope and vision that this invitational will become an annual event, held on college campuses around the country and will give students a chance to celebrate the college parkour community. The UW-Platteville club (Avialae Parkour), specifically their leaders Conner Hjellming and Asa Krueger have set the bar high for future college parkour events but have also paved the way for the next invitational. This invitational weekend is an opportunity for college parkour athletes to travel to other college campuses, train parkour on a different campus, share ideas among other college parkour athletes and even get the chance to partake in a friendly collegiate parkour competition.
As a former college parkour club leader at Boston College, before joining USA Parkour and WFPF to become the director of their college division, it is amazing to see and a dream come true to be a judge in a competition designed specifically for college parkour athletes. Parkour is an activity that promotes personal growth and bettering yourself through sport. It is only natural that parkour is thriving on college campuses across the country. Parkour is about problem solving, adapting to those situations around you and about working hard to see your true potential. College students share these goals and experiences everyday while in school. The future is bright for college parkour.
It is our goal to one day provide scholarships to college parkour athletes. We see this invitational weekend growing to include seminars specifically for college parkour club leaders, in areas which may include leader certification, recruiting and marketing, how to structure a parkour practice, funding, insurance and event sanctioning, including how to hold a USAP College Parkour Invitational on your campus!”
Carly Foor, finalist-
“I have always been interested in movement and finding new ways to express myself. I have realized through my experiences with dance, martial arts, color guard, and parkour that parkour creates the most room for individualism. The first collegiate parkour competition really solidified my love for the sport and its community. Never have I felt so accepted and encouraged in a competition setting. It was as if we were all on the same team competing for a team score rather than against one another. I cannot wait to see more events like this in the future.”
Caitlyn Stickel, Greg Milano, and Robbie Corbett
Make sure you “like” the USAP College on facebook:
And also the WFPF!!!