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Team Canada First and Third into Finals at 2022 NACS

The North American Cup Series is underway in Alexandria, Virginia. 12 athletes, including Canada's National Champion move to Boulder finals

The 2022 North American Cup Series (NACS) kicked of yesterday at the newly redesigned Sport Rock Alexandria. After a challenging Collegiate National Championships in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, many of America’s strongest competitors fought fatigue in today’s adjacent competition.

Yesterday’s qualification round gave way to this morning’s semi-final where Canadian Boulder National Champion Evangelina Briggs qualified in third position. In the Men’s field, Canadian World Cup competitor Zach Richardson qualified in first.

Zach Richardson in Alexandria – photo by Stephen Briggs

Although this event did not provide live competition coverage, the opening rounds carried through and whittled North America’s best down to a final 12 competitors. Notably, many World Cup athletes were missing from this Series opener as the Seoul World Cup begins next weekend.

Leading the women, American Nekaia Sanders became the only athlete to Top three of the four problems. She stood apart from the rest of the field by maintaining first position between rounds. Abigail Humber, Evangelina Briggs, and Megan Lynch all tied for two Tops and four Zones, but none approached Sanders’s consistency.

Briggs trailed Humber by two attempts to Top and one to Zone. As the only Canadian to compete in the Women’s field today, Briggs carried herself well into third position. Additionally, World Cup athlete Maya Madere tied Madeline Morris for Tops at 1 Top and four Zones. The fact that two climbers could make finals with a single Top describes the difficulty of the round.

Considering that Madere concluded women’s US Boulder Nationals in second place, it is likely her sixth place result today is a function of last week’s Collegiate National Championships. Still, Madere could become the gold medalist for today’s event.

With that said, Sanders has held first between rounds and could be on track for her first NACS victory in her career. Briggs certainly has the capacity to win as well, but the young climber has lacked consistency since Canadian Nationals. When she is on, she is unstoppable, but until then, spectators will have to wait and see.

In the men’s field, several Canadians took their shot at the NACS championships. Five ultimately made the semi-final with a a result that showcased the work Jakob Elliot and Ethan Hoffman performed in the off-season. With 12 and 10 place finishes respectively, they both bettered their competitive prowess this winter. Furthermore, BC’s Ivan Luo barely missed out on finals with a seventh place conclusion to his competition.

Only Ontario’s Zach Richardson continued onto finals. Like Sanders, Richardson maintained his position at the top of the field between rounds. Only Shawn Raboutou earned eight Tops with Richardson in the qualification round of competition. Raboutou, however, finished his semi-final in 11. Not a bad score considering his outdoor focus in the last three years.

Although Richardson leads for now, Solomon Barth has persisted on Richardson’s heels for the length of the competition. To that point, Barth is one of the physically strongest competitors on the American circuit. Still, Richardson excels at a powerful style and a win here could help the Canadian moving forward on the World Cup Circuit.

Finals begins at 6:00pm EST. Follow live results here.

Heading to Finals

Women

1 – Nekaia Sanders (USA)

2 – Abigail Humber (USA)

3 – Evangelina Briggs (CAN)

4 – Megan Lynch (USA)

5 – Madeline Morris (USA)

6 – Maya Madere (USA)

Men

1 – Zach Richardson (CAN)

2 – Solomon Barth (USA)

3 – Henry Ritterpusch (USA)

4 – Brian Squire (USA)

5 – Tanner Bauer (USA)

6 – Daniel Martins (USA)

Featured image of Evangelina Briggs by Stephen Briggs.