Alright here's the review of my last comp, ABS Youth Nationals. Leading up to this comp, I stayed with the amazing hosts Nina Williams and Beau Kahler. Meagan and I were psyched to get to stay with them and to train during the week. After a couple trips to Movement Climbing + Fitness, CATS, and Team ABC's gym, I headed back out to Colorado Springs with a couple kids on my team and their mom.
We got to the hotel, checked in, and I went to go register. Of course, I was so happy to see all of my close friends that I have made over the years! After I got my goodie bag and t-shirt, I looked through the USA Climbing magazine and was so psyched to see that they put an interview with me on one of the pages. I had forgotten about the interview that took place during the summer.
We played a couple rounds of Jungle Speed (typical) and after hanging our for a few hours, it was time for bed. The next morning, we woke up and headed to Einstein's Bagels for some pre-climbing breakfast and continued looking for mischief to pass the time, we all climbed late at night! In my room, we set up Nicholas Milburn's laptop and had a nice viewing of the recent Reel Rock Tour. After getting all amped for the comp, it was time to head over to the gym and climb!
For me, qualis went well. I ended up in 3rd and knew that I should have flashed one of my problems. I was feeling confident going into semis and ready for a new day to begin. The boys, however, got a pretty gnarly set of climbs that proved difficult to top. Because of this, a few of my good friends didn't qualify for the next round.
In the Semifinal round, I went into it feeling a bit sore, but very nervous about the climbs they would throw at us. I knew that this round had to narrow the competition by a lot, so I was interested to see what was in store. The first slab was really tricky and balancy- I didn't top. The second had a double hand dyno that completely threw me, and the third had a tricky hand jam that made me tired-I fell on the last move.
I ended up in 6th in semis, after 5 people who all at least had one top. Cicada Jenerik, a very good friend of mine, topped all 3 and was sitting in first going into the final!
This is my favorite part of the event: the final. I was feeling tired and lethargic in ISO, not the best mood to have before I climbed. After Cicada and I got each other out of this emotional rut, the psych was back and I was up to climb! I got into the chair and was looking around the crowd. I was surprised that I couldn't spot anyone I knew. Just then, DJ AJ called "I have an announcement for Michaela Kiersch." My heart skipped a beat. I thought something went wrong because this has never happened before. "Look up in the balcony." I looked up and saw all of the parents and adults from my team cheering for me! And then I heard a piercing shriek, none other than the screams of the kids on my team. They were in the front row of the balcony on the right side and they all held a letter to the words "GO MICHAELA!!!" I was bubbling over with pride, excitement, and appreciation.
It was my turn on the first technical problem. I took my time and flashed my way to the top! I looked back at the judge, saw the flag, and heard the screams from my ultimate cheering section. The second climb was longer and more powerful. I also flashed this one, and was happy to get a decent amount of rest for the next climb because of the spare minutes I had. Time for the third climb. If I flashed this, I would be in first in the final. With a tricky jump move where I needed to turn around, I climbed my way up and looked out at my amazing spectators in the balcony. All beaming at me and calling my name. Possibly one of the proudest moments of my life.
After jumping down and signing my card, I looked up at the balcony... They had all vanished. I turned to exit into the crowd and was ambushed with their high fives and hugs on the main floor. We watched the few remaining climbers and I was in 2nd! Cicada had also flashed all 3 and because of the previous day, I placed second. She definitely deserved that place, so happy for her!
After awards, the North Face Young Gun Award was announced and I was lucky enough to be chosen for the Rookie Team along with Margo Hayes, Mirko Caballero, and Soloman Barth. Brendan Mitchell, a good friend of mine, won the North Face Young Gun Award!
All in all, it was a great weekend and I was super happy with my performance. Josh Levin, Kyra Condie, Alex Fritz and I all went to celebrate over some ice cream. No better way!
I want to give a HUGE shout out to Vertical Girl for always providing me with the clothing that is comfortable, well made, and super cute for the send! Skratch Labs, for the best hydration mix on the market (not to mention the delicious flavors). Also, Five Ten for providing me with the shoes I need, not only to master those slab climbs, but for anything thrown at me in a comp or outside. Thank you!