A brutal three-day bouldering competition brought about six new Youth National Champions. Male and female competitors in the Youth B, Youth A, and Junior categories took to the mats in one of the busiest weeks of Canadian comp climbing.
Although the Boulder competition wrapped on Saturday, Youth Nationals persisted into Sunday with the Youth Lead National Championships. Six new Lead Champions were named after Finals Monday evening.
Beginning with the oldest age category, all three Boulder medalists appeared in the Lead final. Earning third, fourth, and sixth respectively, Sydney Park, Riley Galloway, and Makayla Koci continued their long week of competition.
Park stayed near the top of the field across all rounds, securing second in qualifiers and first in semi-finals. In the end, Ontario’s Park dropped two moves short of the gold medal and walked away with bronze. BC’s Lexi Binder, instead, took gold with a consistent performance. Binder’s performance brought her ahead of silver medalist Sophiane Bertrand.
Much like the women’s category, the men carried many Boulder finalists into lead. The men’s field saw two of their three Boulder medalists make the Lead podium. The three finalists maintained their positions at the top of the field over the length of the competition.
Ontario’s Mathew Rodriguez took an early lead in qualifiers as the only athlete to Top both qualification routes. In semis, he dropped to third by a (+). Jaxson MacDonald and TJ Foley took the lead. Foley had a strong competition, but could not hold the podium through finals. He dropped to eighth after an unlucky attempt in finals.
In semis, MacDonald led by attempts but Rodriguez and Hugo Dorval finished the semi-final only one move behind. It was anyone’s game. In finals, MacDonald asserted himself on the final route, claiming first by two complete hand movements. His gold medal joins his Youth Boulder silver medal.
In Youth A, Alexa Vanier and Jacqueline Ho maintained their week’s strong boulder performance into Lead. They stayed within the top five spots over the length of the competition. The two boulderers tied for third in qualifiers, while Ontario’s Molly Dreher led through both the first and second rounds of competition. In semis, Dreher was the only climber to Top, securing a consistent lead in women’s field. In Finals, however, Dreher fell moving for the 29 hold, leaving the door open for Alberta’s Vanier.
Vanier took gold with 29+ while Dreher and Ho made up silver and bronze respectively.
In the men’s field, finals went to Youth National Boulder gold medalist and World Cup Speed climber Dylan Le. Although Le has not pushed into the upper echelons of the open category, his comprehensive climbing ability makes him one to watch in the next year.
After qualifying in third, Le shot to the top in semis, remaining there for the rest of the competition. Alberta’s Adam Edwards and Ontario’s Benjamin Tonnos finished their rounds in second and third respectively. Edwards concluded his bouldering competition in fourth, making for a strong start to 2022.
In the youngest age category, Youth B competitor Sienne Chow dominated the competition. Although she tied Sofie King at 26 moves in finals, Chow won by countbacks. She maintained first position across all rounds. Her gold medal joins her Youth Boulder silver medal as she exits Quebec as one of Youth B’s most accomplished competitors.
Chow was joined on the podium by Sofie King who came back from an 18 placement in qualifiers to ultimately secure silver in finals. Sloane Betker secured bronze after a fourth-place finish in a close Boulder final. In Boulder, Betker topped all final problems, but did not secure podium due to attempts. Yesterday she claimed a medal after qualifying for finals in seventh place.
In the men’s field, the routes were not hard enough. Alberta’s Evan Lau and BC’s Nathaniel Smith both topped every route in the competition. As such, separation occurred via time-to-Top in finals. Lau beat Smith by 29 seconds.
Although this result is less than ideal, both Lau and Smith showed themselves to be incredible athletes in this last week’s competition. In both Boulder and Lead, the pair exchanged first and second position. Notably, Boulder bronze medalist Christian Chan also climbed well, finishing his Lead round in fourth, just behind lead bronze medalist Brody Rapkowski. Chan received fourth by countbacks.
1 – Lexi Binder (BC)
2 – Sophiane Bertrand (QC)
3 – Sydney Park (ON)
1 – Jaxson MacDonald (BC)
2 – Hugo Dorval (QC)
3 – Matthew Rodriguez (ON)
Youth A Female
1 – Alexa Vanier (AB)
2 – Molly Dreher (ON)
3 – Jacqueline Ho (ON)
Youth A Male
1 – Dylan Le (QC)
2 – Adam Edwards (AB)
3 – Benjamin Tonnos (ON)
Youth B Female
1 – Sienna Chow (BC)
2 – Sofie King (BC)
3 – Sloane Betker (BC)
Youth B Male
1 – Evan Lau (AB)
2 – Nathaniel Smith (BC)
3 – Brody Rapkowski (ON)