Whiz Kid: Jake Babendreier

This Cedar Shoals freshman with a gentle soul loves sports climbing and his dog, Zeke.

Each week, Athens Patch will seek suggestions from readers for individual kids, youth groups, teens, and sports teams that wow us with their accomplishments.

Name: Jake Babendreier

Age: 14

Grade: 9th

School: Cedar Shoals High School

Accomplishments: Climbing is a solitary sport. Even in competitions, individual points have not traditionally been combined for a team score. While this is changing, especially in high level national competitions, the climbing that this week's Whiz Kid does is very much a solo endeavor. Jake Babendreier is on the competitive climbing team at and has traveled to Florida, Tennessee and Alabama for climbing events. Everytime he climbs, Jake makes strategic mental and physical decisions that effect his performance as a rock climber.

This 14-year-old is the only child of Martha Facemire and Justin Babendreier. Martha is a preschool teacher at Emmanuel Episcopal Day School and Justin works as an environmental engineer with the EPA.

Jake is quite obsessed with climbing and practically lived at the Active Climbing gym this summer, working as a camp counselor as well as doing his own training. One of the summer's highlights was traveling to New York City to view a professional climbing competition in Central Park. The event was part of the movement to legitimize the sport of climbing and to have it be included in the Olympics. This push is being fueled by USA Climbing and the International Federation of Sport Climbing as well other organizations. Jake definitely sees climbing as a lifelong sport because, "there are a lot of 80-and 90-year-old guys who still climb.”

Jake is a conscientious student who finishes projects on time and is serious about his studies. A recent graduate of Hilsman Middle School, Jake spoke highly of two specific Hilsman teachers: math teacher Mohamed Bacchus and language arts instructor Janet Micheletti.

Jake loves the outdoors and wants to study forestry in college. He has a healthy sense of adventure and a passion for the mountains and the sea. Always willing to try new physical activities, Jake enjoys kayaking, backpacking, hiking, camping, and mountain biking. He likes to surf, sail, and skimboard and wants to try kiteboarding.

Jake and his family look forward to yearly Athens events like Twilight Criterium and . One of Jake's favorite places to eat in Athens is and his eyes lit up when he mentioned chocolate lava cake.

Key to Awesomeness: Jake has a subtle sly sense of humor that doesn't reveal itself until you get to know him. He loves to build and make things with his hands. Jake loves his yellow lab, Zeke, and would take Zeke everywhere with him if he could. At his core, Jake is an old spirit that is kind, patient, helpful, responsible, and giving.


We want to hear about amazing youth in Athens and select one each week as the Whiz Kid. Submit your nomination in our comment box below or email the information to rebecca.mccarthy@patch.com. Be sure to include all of the following information:

  • Nominator's Name
  • Nominator's E-Mail
  • Whiz Kid's Name
  • Whiz Kid's Age
  • Whiz Kid's School
  • Whiz Kid's Accomplishment
  • Whiz Kid's Key to Awesomeness (What makes him/her successful? Please include a 150-word description)
Victoria bolton February 23, 2013 at 05:31 PM
Jacob is a super man! Love him so much! Known him all his life!


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