By Mike Malleay

Special to the Arizona Daily Wildcat

Several UA rock clibmers will test thier skills against the country's best this weekend.

Professional climbers from around the country will compete at the Summit Hut Desert Draw, a national sport climbing competition at Rocks 'n' Ropes climbing gym, 330 S. Toole Ave. Competition begins tomorrow morning at 8:45 and runs through Sunday afternoon. Admission is $3 per day and $5 for the weekend.

"This is one of the biggest events on climbing circuit this year," gym manager Mitch Gregorie said. "We're talking about Olympic-caliber athletes."

Four UA students who placed in the top three of their class in the Phoenix Bouldering Competition last weekend will compete in the Desert Draw.

Meryl Singer, a nursing senior, finished first in the women's in-state master class.

Dana Witney and undeclared UA sophomore Julie Vithoulkas finished first and third, respectively, in the women's in-state 20- to 24-year-old class.

Dean Brault, a first-year law student, placed third in the men's in-state 20-24 open class.

Singer, who has climbed for two years, said she expects to learn a lot from the competition. She decided to compete in the women's elite class, which will test her abilities on a more difficult route against top competition.

Bobbi Bensman, a UA graduate who now lives in Salt Lake City, is the favorite in the women's elite division. Bensman, 32, is third in the current American Sport Climbing Federation rankings and has won numerous national events.

Scott Franklin, of Bend, Ore., the ASCF's top-ranked climber, is the favorite in the men's elite division. participation from 22 of the top 50 male climbers and seven of the top female climbers in the ASCF rankings. Notable climbers include Ghia Phipps, Hans Florine and Tony Yaniro. Read Next Article