Category: Sports

Allie Schrenker – Rugby Queen



The UTC Women’s Club Sports Rugby team has 32 members and Allie Schrenker is their captain. Allie talks about her passion for the sport and what drives her to keep playing.






Cade Deakin ECHO WEBCade Deakin

Cade Deakin is a photographer and videographer based in Chattanooga, who has worked at the student newspaper, The University Echo, while completing a communications degree at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and completed a media internship making promotional photos and videos at Songbirds Guitar Museum.


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Allie Schrenker

Allie Schrenker is a committed athlete studying Communications and Creative Writing at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with plans to graduate in May 2019. She is one of the editors for UTC’s literary journal and is currently pursuing a career in photojournalism.



Copyright 2018, Rising Rock Media, all rights reserved.


chattahooliganposterFINALjpg.jpgThe Chattahooligan feature is designed to do two things: to familiarize the viewer with the Chattanooga Football Club fan base known as The Chattahooligans, and to highlight their influence in the city by showing their support for Operation Get Active (an organization started through the CFC Foundation).  

In this multimedia piece, three Chattahooligans are interviewed at an OGA event, and while each are interviewed separately, they all touch on the importance of building community through organizations like OGA, which emphasizes inclusiveness, and giving everyone the opportunity to participate.  Inclusiveness and opportunity are two core ideals in the The Chattahooligan fan base, and while they are comprised of many members, with each having varying levels of interest in the game, each ultimately share the same passion for cultivating community in Chattanooga.




Meet the Storytellers

savannahcSavannah Champion

Savannah Champion is a Junior at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.  She also works as a Marketing Coordinator for a local infrastructure company, where she utilizes her love for content writing and graphic design to create clear and consistent messaging.


Cade Deakin ECHO WEBCade Deakin

Cade Deakin is a photographer and videographer based in Chattanooga, who has worked at the student newspaper, The University Echo, while completing a communications degree at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and completed a media internship making promotional photos and videos at Songbirds Guitar Museum. 


nik jones portraitNik Jones

Nik Jones is a senior communications student at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with experience in photojournalism. He is passionate about art in its many forms, but more importantly people and the stories they have to tell.




Copyright 2018, Rising Rock Media, all rights reserved.

Climbing in Chattanooga

Caleb Timmerman attempts “Rustoleum” (V6) at the Upper Middle Creek boulders on Tuesday, August 28, 2018. (Photo by Elian Richter)

Climbing has been a part of Chattanooga since the 80’s, but Rob Robinson’s discovery of the Tennessee Wall put the city on the radar of climbers around the nation. In the past five years, the climbing scene in Chattanooga has experienced a surge in its popularity.

Outdoor hobby magazines such as Outside Magazine and Climbing Magazine recognized this boom in attention.  In 2015, Climbing magazine coined Chattanooga, “America’s new climbing capitol.”

Climbers nationally have noticed the endless amounts of climbing that Chattanooga offers and are moving here to pursue it.

Matthew Waits attempts to climb a route named “Jahreusalem” (5.13b) at Deep Creek. Waits was accompanied by his belayer Ethan Ibach and his friend Erin Flettrich on Saturday, September 8, 2018. (Photo by Elian Richter)

According to Chattanooga Climbing Impact Report, climbers had a total economic impact of $694,055 in Hamilton County. Additionally, 16,565 non-resident climbers visited Chattanooga in the 2015-2016 season.

“The influx of climbers is constantly outweighing the exodus of climbers in Chattanooga,” said Mike O’mara, a sales representative at High Point Climbing and experienced traditional style climber. O’mara previously lived in Illinois and would drive eight hours with the sole intent of climbing in Chattanooga. After frequent weekend excursions, he decided to make the leap to move.

“The climbing here was definitely a big factor in why I moved because it’s just that great,” said O’mara.

There are two main contributors to a great climbing environment, the rock composition and accessibility, and Chattanooga checks both of those boxes.

In this region the rock is sandstone, which has a soft but gritty texture like a fine grain sandpaper, and lends itself to better climbing.

“Chattanooga is a great place for climbing for several reasons, the sheer abundance of rock here which allows for new routes and cliff lines to be developed constantly,”said O’Mara. “The rock quality and composition is some of the best in country as far as density and hardness.”

Matthew Waits attempts to climb a route named “Jahreusalem” (5.13b) at Deep Creek. Waits made it to the end of the climb but took a few falls along the way on Saturday, September 8, 2018. (Photo by Elian Richter)

Although rock composition is a major factor for a climbing, accessibility is just as important.

Phil Purney, rock climber of 20 years and local climber of 10,  shed some light on what makes Chattanooga rock climbing unique to anywhere else. “It’s a fun small city, where in just a few minutes, I can be outside, out in the woods,” said Purney. “The access is not common. It’s world class convenient climbing.” Purney specializes in sport climbing, a style that emphasizes moderate to tall climbs ranging from 30ft to 120ft with a few pre-placed bolts in the wall to attach a rope to in case of a fall.

Drew Mayo is a local climber that is recognized for developing much of the Upper Middle Creek bouldering area, located on Signal Mountain. When asked about what makes Chattanooga a great climbing city Mayo said, “It’s the proximity to some of the greatest quality stone and some of the most loved stone.”

Mayo said that when he originally began developing the area, he didn’t intend on telling anyone else about his discovery, but later changed his mind and began spreading the word of this new spot.

“At first it was a selfish pursuit and then it turned into “I want to enjoy this with my friends,” said Mayo. “Only for so long can you sit there in the woods and be alone and enjoy something. Nature’s really enjoyable, but when you don’t have anyone to share it with it kinda feels a little empty.”

Although the future of Chattanooga is uncertain, the climbing community will continue to grow and evolve.


Climber Profile-Drew Mayo

Drew Mayo begins a workout on gymnastic rings in the upstairs training area of a climbing gym on Sunday, September 16, 2018. (Photo by Elian Richter)

Drew Mayo is a local rock climber and dedicated developer of climbing areas in Chattanooga. The Upper Middle Creek boulders on Signal Mountain are one of the most notable areas he has helped to establish.

There are several steps that go into the process of developing a rock climbing area; his first step is to look at and examine the rock.

    “I’d usually just sit there maybe five minutes in front of the rock by myself, just looking and wondering, ‘Can I use that?’, ‘Can I grab on to that?” said Mayo. “If I did end up finding something that was usable, I would take my brush and I would try to clean off any of the lichen or moss.”

Mayo said that since the Cumberland Plateau is home to the world’s largest hardwood plateau forest, the leaf and branch buildup on these rocks can be extremely dense and take extensive amounts of time to clean.

“Usually it was like a two, three day process because once you clean all the leaves and dirt off the top, you throw that to the side, you throw that away, and usually it’s wet,” said Mayo. “So you get all the moss off and the holds that you saw, the incuts and such, they’d be soaking wet; and if you know climbing, you’re not supposed climb on wet sandstone because that’s when it becomes fragile and can break really easily.”

Mayo said at that point, he would have to wait a day, or sometimes several, until the rock was dry enough to be able to try the climb he’d worked so hard to clean.

There are still many undiscovered places around Chattanooga for climbing, said Mayo, and he already has a new location in mind to start developing this fall.



About the Storytellers

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Abby Ray

Abby Ray, a senior at UTC studying Communications and Business Administration, is from Memphis, Tennessee. She currently works as an intern at Delegator, which is a digital advertising agency in Chattanooga. A few of Ray’s passions are working out, watching the Memphis Grizzlies and scrolling through twitter.



Elian Richter

Elian Richter is an climbing instructor and action photographer. Elian works at High Point Climbing gym as a certified instructor and as a backup photographer. He now combines the skills learned from climbing with the skills he’s acquired in photography to do photo shoots for climbers and outdoors enthusiasts.



Ayriel Ayers

Ayriel Ayers is a senior at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She’s skilled in photography, human development, and public relations. As the NAACP President, Resident Assistant for UTC housing, and a Community Service and Membership Development Chairwoman for her sorority, her leadership and positivity characteristics continually pointed her to success.



Copyright 2018, Rising Rock Media, all rights reserved.

Hit Squad: A unique story of brotherhood

King of Hill - TroyStolt (3)
Joseph “2 Fast” Francisco follows through on an uppercut in the fourth round of his lightweight fight against Donte Bryant at Camp Jordan Arena on October 7, 2017. Francisco would go on to win a unanimous decision after six rounds (Photo by Troy Stolt).

The relationship between Roger “The Hitman” Hilley and Joseph “2 Fast” Francisco expands much farther than just any ordinary brotherhood. Their brotherhood feeds off the adrenaline and constant hard work that goes into the sport of boxing.

Continue reading “Hit Squad: A unique story of brotherhood”