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Ontario Dominates Lead at North American Cup Series

Canada wins both men's and women's categories at the country's first North American Cup Series. Ontario climbers top each podium

A well separated semi-final gave way to a close finals. Still, the competition proved fruitful for those in attendance and countbacks remain preferable to the separated-by-time format competition has seen in this last year’s Lead World Cups.

Last night, Lead finals at Canada’s first North American Cup Series event concluded with stunning results.

First onto the matts, American Ava Kovtunovich climbed through the unsettling moves down low. Intended to shake athletes off the wall, the bouldery start could have left the lowest qualified finalist with an early fall. Instead, she persevered. Moving high and away, Kovtunovich established a score of 22. The problem with first-out athletes comes from a lack of context. It was unclear how well she climbed.

Babette Roy followed Kovtunovich and bouldered well through the tricky bottom sequence. Roy has shown herself to be a developing competitor, even training with Indiana Chapman this summer. Roy found herself behind Kovtunovich but climbed well into second position.

Stepping onto the route, American Isis Rothfork looked to continue her strong season in the North American Cup Series. She has showed consistent performance that reflected in her performance yesterday. She moved past each athlete’s high point and secured first above Kovtunovich. Still, Becca Frangos was next.

Frangos climbed well but could not move beyond Roy’s high point. Despite her unquestionable strength, Frangos seemed slightly unsettled by the climb. With so many hard ascents over this last year, Frangos will likely establish progressively higher results as the schedule approaches Nationals.

All of the competitors mentioned so far climbed well through the bottom portion of the route. The tricky sequence proved aggressive and ultimately kicked off the next two athletes. Emi Takashiba and Ella Von Dungen both climbed excellent competitions up until this route where the lower section proved too much. They fell into seventh and eighth positions respectively.

Bouldery starts to lead climbs could become commonplace as time passes. Dynamic bouldering moves have only become more popular in this last year’s Lead World Cup Series. As the competitors adapt to competition climbing’s many styles, the routesetters will also have to adapt.

With most of the field already out, it cam down to the final two competitors. Ontario’s Indiana Chapman stepped onto the route, climbing high and well beyond the high point of Rothfork and Kovtunovich. Earning 27+ to their 22, her lead became insurmountable. American Quinn Mason climbed well, but also fell at the 22-hold crux of the route. Chapman won.

In the men’s field, the scores became as difficult to predict as the semi-finals. Ethan Hoffman became the first to try the finals route. Hoffman climbed through to a score of 28+. It remained unclear what this score could mean.

The next competitor did not quite shine a light on it either. Oscar Baudrand climbed well into the top of the field, moving a staggering 10 holds beyond Hoffman. Although this could suggest that Hoffman fell low, Baudrand has the ability to climb rather high.

As the round progressed, athletes began to fill in the spaces left between the two Canadians. Joe Goodacre and Sergey Lakhno came out next taking fifth and sixth respectively. Goodacre climbed close to Baudrand with 37 to the Canadian’s 38+, but in the end it would not amount to podium.

Instead, Quinn O’Francia, an American who tied with Goodacre and Lakhno in the previous round, climbed high to tie Baudrand with 38+ ultimately securing second position by countbacks. Although these two climbers held the lead, the competition remained far from decided.

Lucas Uchida, Tim Kang and Sean Faulkner all remained. Each competitor had the strength to win, but in the end, Ontario’s Uchida would join the province’s other champion atop the podium. Also scoring 38+, Uchida showed remarkable consistency over these three rounds of competition. He beat O’Francia and Baudrand by countbacks, but also stayed in the Top three over the entire length of competition.

Faulkner had an unlucky attempt that dropped him at 15+ and into eighth position while Kang climbed a strong event, but fell just short of podium with a score of 37+. With this event concluded, eyes turn toward Kanata where the next North American Cup Series event will take place.

Unlike this weekend’s competition, it should feature a greater number of strong Americans. This should make for an exciting bouldering competition. It should also suggest exactly how far some locally-competitive Canadians are from performing well on the international stage.

Women’s Result

1 – Indiana Chapman (CAN)

2 – Quinn Mason (USA)

3 – Isis Rothfork (USA)

4 – Ava Kovtunovich (USA)

5 – Becca Frangos (CAN)

6 – Babette Roy (CAN)

7 – Emi Takashiba (CAN)

8 – Ella Von Dungen (USA)

Men’s Result

1 – Lucas Uchida (CAN)

2 – Quinn O’Francia (USA)

3 – Oscar Baudrand (CAN)

4 – Tim Kang (USA)

5 – Joe Goodacre (USA)

6 – Sergey Lakhno (USA)

7 – Ethan Hoffman (CAN)

8 – Sean Faulkner (CAN)

Featured image of Indiana Chapman by Eddie Fowke.