Western Youth Bouldering Regionals took place this past weekend at Calgary Climbing Centre in Alberta. The two-day event featured a qualifying, semi-finals, and finals round for each of the four youth categories competing.
The Regional Competition acts as a preliminary round to the National Competition held in February. For the Junior category, it offers an opportunity to perform on an advanced stage before moving towards the Open, adult category.
Alberta’s Ethan Flynn Pitcher finished the competition in third after an exceptionally strong performance. Missing second position by a few attempts, little space was left for second place finisher Kindar McNamee.
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I had a fun time at the Youth Regionals. It was nice to climb with some strong Alberta boys like @dylan_bokenfohr and @_et_han. I am happy to have come 2nd. Congrats to Swarm members, @guymcnamee and @meganbokenfohr for placing 🥇and 🥈 in their respective categories. I am looking forward to training for the Youth Nationals. Good luck to all the athletes competing at Youth Nationals. Also, congrats to all the Swarm members who made it to Youth Nationals. @flashedclimbing, @MECambassador, @MECnation, @evolv_worldwide, and @evolvcanada, #highfrictionday, #flashpodium, #climbfreeclimbfreelessly, #mecambassador, #mecnation, #climbingcompetition, #climbing, #hiveclimbing, #LSN2019, #competitionwall
Though many juniors are still preparing for the open circuit, some athletes have already taken the plunge. McNamee competes in both open and youth categories, and only recently finished climbing in the Open Circuit.
It can be difficult switching between adult and youth categories, but McNamee says, “I go to both types of competition with the same mindset.” By maintaining a a controlled mindset, McNamee is able to reduce the pressure and approach each competition like a clean slate. Regarding the setting in Calgary, McNamee said, “Many of the routes were easy for me, especially the qualifier’s and semi’s. Some of the routes, especially in finals, were more difficult. The route setters did a good job of separating the field.”
After the strong performance at Regionals, McNamee is setting his sights on Nationals. He says, “I am really looking forward to Youth Nationals. I really want to go to selection camp and do well so that I can be on the Youth National Team for bouldering.” Though he made it onto the team last year for lead climbing, his passion has always been with the boulders. McNamee hopes that coordination training will be the key to his success.
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Youth Regionals was a fun comp. It's nice to have a no-stress comp with nothing riding on it once in awhile. I had a fun 7.5 hours in iso last weekend playing games and chatting with some great people. The climbs were fun and interesting as usual. Congrats to everyone who competed and tried their hardest. Congrats @kindarmcnamee and @meganbokenfohr for both coming 2nd in Junior. I also had fun climbing with my climbing buddies, @lexii.binder, @jaxsonmacdonald, @paigeboklaschuk. Thank you routesetters and volunteers. Looking forward to Nationals in a few weeks at the @hiveclimbing! #highfrictionday, #flashedpodium, #climbfreeclimbfearlessly, @flashedclimbing, @evolv_worldwide, @evolvcanada, @mec, #mecambassador, #mecnation, #climbingcompetition, #climbing, #rockclimbing, #hiveclimbing, #climbingcanada, #regionals2020, #champion 📷: @philip_quade
In much the same way, his brother is also looking forward to selection camp. Though first place finalist Guy McNamee had an incredible result at OBN, taking home the championship prize, he believes that his results as YBN and selection camp will better represent the progress that he has made this year. With the weight of victory upon his shoulders, McNamee is trying to keep his head clear.
He says,” There are a few very strong Junior boys out there. I try not to let what other people expect of me to change what I expect and hope for myself. I want to win and that’s all that matters. It’s not really about reputation, it’s more about the drive inside myself. I am confident I can win but not necessarily that I will. I don’t feel pressure from others’ expectations. If I feel any pressure, it would be from myself.”
After a strong season of competition, McNamee hopes that he will be able to maintain his consistency. He says, “My consistency in climbing is definitely something that I am proud of. I think the right training is definitely a big part. Mental game is also a big part. I think consistency is about being a very well rounded climber. It’s about being able to quickly learn and adapt.”
In the female category, the competition boiled down to a fight for first. B.C. climber Brielle Zacharias began the podium, taking third. In second, B.C. climber Megan Bokenfohr finished her round while Alberta’s Paige Boklaschuk took the win. Alberta’s Boklaschuk out-climbed her peers in every round, topping an additional boulder in quali’s, semi’s, and final’s.
Much like the McNamee twins, Boklaschuk represents the youth categories involvement in the OBN circuit. Having finished OBN in third place behind Allison vest and Madison Fischer, Boklaschuk says, “I’m proud of my performance at OBN and regionals this year. I try to improve an aspect of my performance during every competition so I’ve seen a lot of progression in my climbing since last year.”
In preparation for YBN, Boklaschuk is maintaining her regular training routine though she is appreciative of her OBN experience. Boklaschuk reflects on the competition, finding an increase in strong youth category girls across the country. She says, “I’ve definitely noticed a trend of strong girls in Canada coming from youth categories. Even watching some of the girls from youth B and C this weekend was really impressive! I hope the abundance of strong youth climbers will help push climbing to the next level in Canada.” For a list of full results from this past weekend, click here. Youth Bouldering Nationals will take place February 15-17 at the Hive, North Shore.
- Guy McNamee / Paige Boklaschuk
- Kindar McNamee / Megan Bokenfohr
- Ethan Flynn Pitcher / Brielle Zacharias
- Mitchell Haight / Babette Roy
- Ben Agro / Ève Laprise
- Zach Richardson / Sophie Valence