My last Youth Bouldering Nationals were held a few weeks ago, and I have to say that I am so sad it’s over. I’ve looked forward to going to this competition every year since I was 11. It’s pretty sad, and a little scary, saying goodbye to that stage of my life.
The comp started out much smoother than adult nationals. I didn’t miss my plane, I got a full night’s rest, and even had a few real meals, but qualifiers still did not go too well for me. There were four problems, and nearly everyone flashed the first two. The next two were on the slab, though, and not really up my alley. I got to the last move of my third problem, but a bunch of people finished it, and since the comp goes by tops, it bumped me down a number of places. I probably should have finished it, but instead of just reaching over and grabbing the last hold like everyone else did, I decided that it would be a better idea to basically twist my body around and not reach for the last hold. I also got to the last hold on the fourth problem, but fell because of a silly foot slip. I made it to semi-finals though in 9th place, and got a clean slate.
Semi-finals went much better than qualifiers. I warmed up on slabs a lot, so I was much more prepared for them when I came out. Also, our first problem was on the slab, so it was easier than the rest of the problems. I was the only one to flash all three problems in my age group, putting me in first place for the day. Then finals rolled around. We had three problems again, and I decided to keep my slab warm up, since it worked well for me the day before. I flashed the first problem, which was a short, fun, and almost powerful slab. The second was a longer, more powerful overhang. I don’t think I was well warmed up for the long, powerful stuff (or I just have bad endurance) and I got pumped and fell near the top. I flashed the third, which was a roof climb with no extremely hard moves if your feet stayed on.
I ended the competition in second place to Cicada Generic, who flashed all three problems. It was a fun competition as always, and I really enjoyed seeing everyone. I also really enjoyed not being carried out of the competition on a stretcher like I was last year. I‘m really sad that I won’t be returning next year to compete, but if things play out well, I can hopefully still go to watch and judge.