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USA Climbing SCS Nationals 14

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

The recent USA Climbing SCS Nationals, hosted by Sender One in Anaheim California, went off without a hitch. Like all big events, so much goes into them behind the scenes, but from a spectator’s point of view, the energy was high, the attendance was solid, and the competitors were psyched.
Having visited my fair share of professional competitions, both as a member of the audience and a competitor, I know how easily things can go amiss. However, everything seemed to fall right into place, as each member of the team displayed a level of professionalism, drawing from years of past experience.
When I first arrived at Sender One for finals, tent city was bustling with curious spectators who were mingling with friends and getting signed posters from their favorite competitors. With more than a dozen vendors representing, it was easy to pass the time moving from one tent to the next while enjoying a lunch purchased at one of the many food trucks at the event.
For the better part of the afternoon the setters for USA Climbing had been hard at work setting and tweaking both the men and women’s route’s for finals.
With the help and direction of the forerunners and Chris Sharma, the routes were ready for the nations best to put them to the test.
The Access Fund was setting up their dunk tank, where they were selling tickets to kids and adults alike for a chance to “dunk” their favorite pro climbers.
Alex Johnson was first in the tank, as a confident 12-year-old stepped up to the line. Ms. Johnson’s heckling was quickly silenced as Jack’s third attempt hit right on the money, depositing his victim into the icy water. The dunking continued throughout the day while some of climbings biggest names, including Daniel woods and Chris Sharma, stepped in to be drenched by excited young fans.
As the sun started setting and things were winding down, vendors packed up while anxious attendees queued up outside the gym doors to watch finals and cheer for the best sport climbers in the country.
The new Sender One gym boasts fifty foot walls that seem to be designed specifically for a new generation of eye-pleasing, competition climbing. With bright blue colors for the backdrop and soft neon lights peaking through glassy lines that run up the monstrous overhanging walls, its obvious the designers intended these walls to be photographed with the world’s best scaling up them.
“And here are your finalist for this years SCS Nationals!” The MC boomed as 8 men and 11 women stepped out into the spotlight to be introduced one by one.
Excitement was at its peak as each competitor climbed their hardest to reach the top. The crowd erupted as the dark horse, Brad Weaver, who was in 7th going into finals, pinched and heel-hooked his way through the ultra-powerful men’s route, clipping the finishing draws and putting him in first, a position he would maintain throughout the rest of the competition. Earning second for the men was midwestern-bred Noah Ridge, with Rob D’Anastasio in third.
On the women’s side we watched with no surprise as young Claire Buhrfiend climbed her way to the top followed by veteran Sasha Digiulian, with an impressive display of fitness. Neither would be outdone by the defending champion Delaney Miller who seemed to effortlessly float to the finishing draws solidifying her place, once again as this years national champion.
By nine o’clock awards had been given and congratulations were passed out to the top three placed both men and women. As the event wrapped up making this year Nationals a great showcase of competitive climbing, and a huge success.
~ Kati Hetrick-Peters, Athlete Coordinator
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