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Canada’s Kindar McNamee Leads into NACS Finals

McNamee leads heading into finals alongside the women's boulder gold medalist from Thursday's NACS Boulder final

Yesterday’s Lead qualifiers at the North American Cup Series in Alexandria, Virginia gave way to this morning’s semi-final round. 26 men and 26 women each challenged their given routes to find a top eight among some of North America’s best lead climbers. Finals is to follow.

All four of Canada’s Lead competitors; Evangelina Briggs, Kindar McNamee, Ethan Hoffman, and Ivan Luo; qualified for the semi-final this morning. After a fifth-place finish in the qualification round, McNamee, climbed high with a score of 36+ to take first heading into finals. US Lead National Team Trials (NTT) finalist Brian Squire followed with a score of 36, holding the pressure on the High Performance Program athlete.

Ethan Hoffman and Ivan Luo scored 11 and 15 respectively, missing out on this evening’s final round of competition. Although McNamee has remained consistent across this weekend’s rounds, he will compete against many strong athletes in the upcoming final. Boulder finalist Solomon Barth, V16 boulderer Shawn Raboutou, and US Lead NTT finalist Isaac Leff could each claim gold given the right round.

Fortunately for McNamee, both Barth and Raboutou are better suited for bouldering than routes. Still, both are skilled and consistent athletes. A challenging finals route may play better toward their abilities than McNamee’s. To that effect, both Squire and Leff represent two of America’s strongest up-and-comers on the circuit.

In the women’s field, many of America’s strongest boulderers found themselves in Lead finals. Following her success in the NACS Boulder competition earlier this week, Boston’s Megan Lynch continued to succeed by qualifying for finals in first position. She scored 37+ and attained the same high point as second placed athlete Ella Fisher. Fisher was only second by countbacks.

One of the greater takeaways from the Americans in recent competition comes from the consistency at the top of the women’s field. Not only are the best boulderers frequently the best lead climbers as well, but the top eight often remain the same across all three rounds of competition. For example, six of the top eight through to finals were in the top eight coming out of the qualification round.

In boulder, five of the top eight, or four of the top six, an adjustment a person could make because boulder takes six to finals as opposed to the eight climbers Lead takes to finals, retained their finalist-level qualification across rounds. It is difficult to retain consistency at this level of competition and yet an increasing number of female athletes appear to do so.

The same could be said of these athletes across competitions as well. This event at Alexandria’s Sportrock misses many of the finalists from NTT on account of their recent participation in the Collegiate National Championships or the upcoming World Cup, however, those that did make finals at NTT also made finals this weekend in Virginia. With that said, only two athletes fit this superimposed qualification: Olivia Ma and Megan Lynch. All other NTT finalist chose not to compete in this event.

While this raises some questions as to the implications of the these results, finals should shake out a couple of new leader is the roped discipline. This last event begins at 6:00pm ET. Follow the live results here.

Advancing to Finals

Men

1 – Kindar McNamee (CAN)

2 – Brian Squire (USA)

3 – Solomon Barth (USA)

4 – Shawn Raboutou (USA)

5 – Isaac Leff (USA)

6 – Tanner Bauer (USA)

7 – Leo Costanza (USA)

8 – Tyler Thompson (USA)

Women

1 – Megan Lynch (USA)

2 – Ella Fisher (USA)

3 – Olivia Ma (USA)

4 – Marielle Horstmann (USA)

5 – Alina Albert (USA)

6 – Norah Chi (USA)

7 – Nekaia Sanders (USA)

8 – Maya Madere (USA)

Featured image by Jeffery Shor