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New American National Record and Canadian into Finals at Salt Lake

North and South Americans showed up in force this weekend. Poland dominates and the men's field all falls within .9 seconds

The Speed World Cup began with a new national record set in Salt Lake City. Both American John Brosler and Canadian Ethan Pitcher ran fast enough to make finals in today’s qualification round, and earn strong accolades for their Speed careers.

Brosler began his event with a 5.20, only .03 seconds of Kiromal Katibin’s 5.17 seconds World Record from Seoul. Brosler fell on both qualification runs in Seoul and failed to win US Speed Nationals, making for an uncertain few months in high-level competition. Today, Brosler ran consistently. His second qualification run clocked in at 5.33 seconds. Even if he had fallen on that previous 5.20  run,.Brosler would have qualified in first position.

Only Indonesia’s Katibin came close to Brosler in the qualification round. He ran a 5.42 securing second position. Unlike Seoul, the Indonesian team did not come out in force. Part of this is likely the distance required to travel to Salt Lake. The only other Indonesian Speed climber in this event, Veddriq Leonardo, also qualified for finals in fifth place.

From the USA, Noah Bratschi, Merritt Ernsberger, Samuel Watson, and Quinn O’Francia all made finals. Canada’s Ethan Pitcher joined them. He ran a new Canadian National record at 6.06 seconds. This result bodes well for the Canadian’s first Speed final at a World Cup event. For it to happen so early in his season, and with another World Cup just around the corner, Pitcher’s pace could push him high if he remains consistent into the final.

Unlike the qualification round, the IFSC Speed World Cup final format is based on head-to-head racing. In qualifiers, only the fastest go on to finals. In finals, the climber with the fastest over-all time may not win. Instead, athletes need only outpace their opponent. As such, consistency becomes as important as top speed in the rapid discipline.

As Speed climbers push closer toward their top speed, it becomes increasingly difficult to hit all of the hand and foot holds with accuracy. The best Speed competitors balance their quickness against their consistency and hope for a high placing result. This becomes more difficult when you have competitors of near equal strength. For example, if Katibin and Brosler go up against one another, both will have to climb close to their top speed in order to win.

In the women’s field another quick series of races took place with Poland’s Aleksandra Miroslaw leading the field. This World Record holder outpaces the rest of the category consistently and by enough of a margin that her ability to dominate is almost comparable to Slovenian Boulder champion Janja Garnbret.

Still, when no falls are aloud, as in Speed finals, it is difficult to predict with certainty that Miroslaw will win. Looking to take gold from her, American Emma Hunt will race to move forward from her third place qualification. Hunt has shown brilliant consistency over the last 15 months and won her first World Cup medal in Seoul, Korea.

Her teammate Piper Kelly will also join her in finals in 15 place. Also from the Americas, Ecuador’s Andrea Rojas will enter the women’s final in ninth as her male teammate Carlos Granja enters into the men’s final in seventh.

Finals begins at 10:00pm EST tonight.

Men qualified for finals and their fastest time

1 – John Brosler (USA) 5.20

2 – Kiromal Katibin (INA) 5.42

3 – Amir Maimuratov (KAZ) 5.67

4 – Erik Noya Cardona (ESP) 5.68

5 – Veddriq Leonardo (INA) 5.68

6 – Ludovico Fossali (ITA) 5.7

7 – Carlos Granja (ECU) 5.76

8 – Noah Bratschi (USA) 5.76

9 – Marcin Dzienski (POL) 5.78

10 – Guillame Moro (FRA) 5.79

11 – Merritt Ernsberger (USA) 5.89

12 – Pierre Rebreyend (FRA) 5.92

13 – Samuel Watson (USA) 6.03

14 – Ethan Pitcher (CAN) 6.06

15 – Gian Luca Zodda (ITA) 6.06

16 – Quinn O’Francia (USA) 6.09

Women qualified for finals and their fastest time

1 – Aleksandra Miroslaw (POL) 6.89

2 – Aleksandra Kalucka (POL) 7.24

3 – Emma Hunt (USA) 7.29

4 – Aurelia Sarisson (FRA) 7.45

5 – Natalia Kalucka (POL) 7.47

6 – Patrycja Chudziak (POL) 7.67

7 – Beatrice Colli (ITA) 7.89

8 – Franziska Ritter (GER) 7.90

9 – Andrea Rojas (ECU) 8.03

10 – Capucine Viglione (FRA) 8.07

11 – Giulia Randi (ITA) 8.12

12 – Victoire Andrier (FRA) 8.20

13 – Nuria Brockfeld (GER) 8.40

14 – Tetiana Kolkotina (UKR) 8.55

15 – Piper Kelly (USA) 8.66

16 – Karin Hayashi (JPN) 8.66

Featured Image of John Brosler by Dimitris Tosidis