2010 SCS Youth National Championships...dang. Months of hard work came down to this four day event. The competition format was changed this year into two days of qualifiers (one route on both Thursday and Friday), semi-finals on Saturday, and finals on Friday. I really have to say, that this is the first time that I haven't ever actually been all that nervous for a competition.
Alex Fritz Reports - 2010 SCS Youth Nat'l Championships
The first route was probably no more than 12a, even though it felt like mid 5.11, and went straight up the main wall on very large jugs. What else could you set with though? 80+ foot routes are hard to climb with anything short of an jugs, jugs, and more jugs. I went tenth in the running order, and with a rolling clock, my turn came up very fast. The hardest part on the route for me was the rest on the slab in the middle of the route, where there was a match on small crimps. I personally feel like it would be far too easy to slip and fall of something like that, but again, it still wasn't all that hard. 24 out of 36 MYA competitors flashed the first Qualifier route on Thursday, making the competition already stiff going into the next day. No one was cut from the running order because we still had one more Qualifier route the next day, but I could already tell that it would be hard making it into Semi's and then Finals.
After watching the forerunner climb the 2nd qualifier route, it was pretty much straightforward climbing on jugs on the roof until a cruxy boulder problem at the end. The ending sequence was a little funky, but it looked really doable and I figured if I could maintain not getting pumped until the end, I would be okay. Today I went out 29th in the running order, so I had a lot of chill time and this allowed me to watch all my friends do what they came to do. Did pretty well on the route, even though I didn't get as far as I wanted to. I mean, I personally think I could have finished the route, but I got pumped out coming up onto the head wall at the end of the climb. The last 6 moves were bouldery on small crimps and I didn't really have the juice to finish it up. I ended up placing 7th, tied with 3 others, going into Semi's. Not an ideal spot, but it was still with-in striking distance.
I was super nervous walking out for the route preview knowing that today was the day to make it count, and also the fact that this gym is still new to me, and I really wouldn't be prepared for anything they threw at us. In this case, it was a dyno about ¾ of the way up the route. I ended up tying the high-point when I came out, but still had the stronger of the competitors to go. FiveTen Athlete Josh Levin tied with me, and then Kyle "Tiny" Francis, and Five Ten® Athlete Julian Bautista in first. The results put me in fourth place going into Finals. Now all I needed was to stay consistent.
Admittedly, the Finals route surprised me. Just when I thought they could do everything they could with all the overhangs and bends and roofs, they proved me wrong. This route was built primarily on endurance with a few powerful moves thrown in, then traversed onto the head wall, finishing up on more powerful moves on small holds. I have to say, I think this is the route I have ever climbed in a competition. The first hold on the route was The Growth fromSo iLL,then a campus move around clip 5, a knee bar at 7, traversing into down climbing, small crimps and then a big pinch, with a huge move to the finish. Sounds fun right!? I managed to get through the down climbing and a few moves into the small crimps before falling. I climbed right after Owen, who placed farther than me, and then followed up by Josh, Tiny and Julian, who all placed farther than me as well. I ended up in 5th place for the day and the weekend, which got me a spot on the 2010 US Team for MYA (for those of you that don't know, usually the top 4 make team, but Julian is Continental Champion from Montreal 2008, which allows another spot onto the team).
I’m really excited to make the 2010 US Climbing Team and represent the US at the 2010 Youth World Championships for the second year in a row. I’m psyched that this year I get to compete in Sport climbing, whereas I did Speed in France last summer, because I think I perform the best in this discipline compared to Bouldering or Speed. I’m going to train harder this summer than I ever have before in order to prepare for this top level competition and hopefully also get to pull hard outside, too. Thanks Five Ten® for all the support this year!