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Competition Returns To Canada with NACS!

The North American Cup Series (NACS) has come to Canada. The host country is climbing extremely well. Watch semis now!

It is an exciting weekend for Canadian Climbing. After 19 months of lockdowns, vaccinations, and difficulties resulting from the pandemic, competition returned to Canada. Yesterday saw the beginning of Canada’s first North American Cup Series (NACS) Event.

The NACS competitions take place across Canada and the United States in order to give North American athletes opportunities to compete at a high level. Where Europe appears to host a new competition every week, the large distances that separate North America’s strongest make it difficult for competitors to gain experience.

After such a long period away from competition, experience is necessary should athletes wish to excel on the World Cup stage. Among those present at the day’s event, Team Canada’s best have entered in on what will become their first lead competition in almost two years. For some, this will be the first competition of any sort in a long time.

Although some Canadians competed in Albuquerque at another NACS event, today’s competition gets to see Team Canada’s most recent World Cup climbers back in their home country.

In the men’s field, both Oscar Baudrand and Sean Faulkner have come up from their current residence in Salt Lake City to climb in the NACS.

Naturally, a few Americans have also made the journey up, some to strong results. Still, yesterday’s qualification event went to the Canadians. While Baudrand might still feel like a new name to some, Oscar and his brother have been on a tear over these last months. Victor decided against competing at the Richmond Oval, although he has moved back to Canada for school.

Oscar has had his best season to date, climbing into semis at the Chamonix Lead World Cup this last year. He also climbed a strong series of boulder problems in the last two months. His greatest competition is Canadian resident Lucas Uchida. Uchida recently moved to Alberta to have better access to climbing and his coaches. So far, it appears his efforts have had an effect.

Although Baudrand qualified in first with Tops of Q1 and Q2, Uchida achieved the only other top of Q2 and fell extremely close to the top of Q1. Uchida is tied for second with Faulkner. Faulkner joined three other athletes in topping Q1 while falling at 37+ on Q2. Realistically, they are neck-and-neck, however, Uchida has not competed in 19 months.

To have such a strong showing in his first return to competition may not surprise many, but bodes well for the upcoming season. Still, a lot of climbing remains in today’s competition. Among those in the top eight, American Tim Kang and Canadian Guy McNamee appear the most competitive. They took fourth and fifth respectively. Although they fell short of the top three, Faulkner, Kang and McNamee have separated by less than a move between ranked positions.

Canada’s Ivan Luo and Kindar McNamee also qualified in the top eight in sixth and eighth, but these athletes failed to secure a Top. American Joe Goodacre finished in seventh. As the McNamee’s have just returned from the World Championships, they’re recent experience may prove fruitful at this continental event.

In the women’s field, three women tied for first. Each topped both of their qualifier routes. Americans Quinn Mason and Ella Von Dungen joined Ontario’s Indiana Chapman at the top of the field. This provided an exciting set of leaders heading into the semi-final event. Where the men’s field saw only a small number of Americans, the women have a great many in the top eight.

Behind the leaders, Canada’s Becca Frangos and Emi Takashiba took fourth and fifth while America locked out fifth through eighth. Sophia Hoermann, Ava Kovtunovich and Isis Rothfork placed sixth through eighth respectively, although Canadian Chloe Earle tied for eighth with Rothfork.

While the qualification score did differ between fifth through eighth positions, it is difficult to separate the athletes based on their falling positions. Frangos, however, secured fourth with a Top of Q1 and a near-top of Q2. Hopefully the setters will separate the women’s field more distinctly in today’s rounds of competition.

Within the top three, Chapman’s performance speaks volumes of her ability. She has endured numerous injuries over the pandemic, yet still manages to climb at a high level. As both Quinn Mason and Ella Von Dungen are strong contenders, such a high score suggest good things for Canada going forward. Still, Frangos is constantly strong on a rope and offers a formidable challenge to the field. Her prowess should not be discounted in these NACS rounds.

Watch semi-finals here.

Men advancing to semi-finals

1 – Oscar Baudrand (CAN)

2 – Lucas Uchida (CAN)

2 – Sean Faulkner (CAN)

4 – Timothy Kang (USA)

5 – Guy McNamee (CAN)

6 – Ivan Luo (CAN)

7 – Joe Goodacre (USA)

8 – Kindar McNamee (CAN)

9 – Quinn O’francia (USA)

10 – Ethan Hoffman (CAN)

11 – Hugo Dorval (CAN)

12 – Sergey Lakhno (USA)

13 – Tosh Sherkat (CAN)

14 – Finn Battersby (CAN)

15 – Brennan Doyle (CAN)

16 – Cody Stevenson (USA)

17 – Caden Reedy (USA)

18 – Connor Jones (CAN)

19 – Dylan Le (CAN)

19 – Aidan Doyle (CAN)

21 – Faolan Schaefer (CAN)

22 – Benjamin Chapman (CAN)

23 – Aidan Pinsk (CAN)

24 – Aria Panades Serra (CAN)

25 – Owen Adams (USA)

26 – Tyson Zadravec (CAN)

Women advancing to semi-finals

1 – Quinn Mason (USA)

1 – Ella Von Dungen (USA)

1 – Indiana Chapman (CAN)

4 – Becca Frangos (CAN)

5 – Emi Takashiba (CAN)

6 – Sophia Hoermann (USA)

7 – Ava Kovtunovich (USA)

8 – Isis Rothfork (USA)

8 – Chloe Earle (CAN)

10 – Ashley Fisher (USA)

11 – Babette Roy (CAN)

12 – Paige Boklaschuk (CAN)

12 – Bronwen Karnis (CAN)

14 – Lia Wieckowski (CAN)

15 – Nina Schroeder (USA)

16 – Makayla-Skye Koci (CAN)

17 – Mia Laprise (CAN)

18 – Meera Krishan (USA)

19 – Zoe Beauchemin (CAN)

20 – Kira Stewart (CAN)

20 – Erin Husken (CAN)

22 – Lena Laitinen (CAN)

23 – Anna Von Dungen (USA)

24 – Kaitlyn Arrowsmith (CAN)

25 – Elina Avramova (CAN)