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Stop two: the Pro-Am at Mesa Rim Academy

Bridget+Weiss+reaches+for+the+top+of+womens+climb+number+two+during+the+qualification+round+on+Friday.+This+was+Bridget%E2%80%99s+second+ever+adult+competition.
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Stop two: the Pro-Am at Mesa Rim Academy

Bridget Weiss reaches for the top of womens climb number two during the qualification round on Friday. This was Bridget’s second ever adult competition.

Bridget Weiss reaches for the top of womens climb number two during the qualification round on Friday. This was Bridget’s second ever adult competition.

Bridget Weiss reaches for the top of womens climb number two during the qualification round on Friday. This was Bridget’s second ever adult competition.

Bridget Weiss reaches for the top of womens climb number two during the qualification round on Friday. This was Bridget’s second ever adult competition.

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The second stop of the Open Bouldering National Cup Series came to an end on the night of Oct. 13. Climbing lovers from the San Diego area came to watch the excitement play out.

“I love climbing because it gives you a chance to express yourself on the wall,” said Nikolas Karolides, a competitive climber for over six years. “It’s super helpful to get rid of anxiety and stress from everyday life.”

Friday, Oct. 12 was the qualification round. Climbers from all over the country filled Mesa Rim, San Diego. The gym was full of the chatter of over 120 competitors catching up with one another who live on opposite sides of the country.

“My favorite part of the competition this weekend was getting to see my friends from all across the country that I never get to see,” said Bridget Weiss, a 15-year-old competitive climber from Royal Oak, Michigan. “The climbing community is so nice, everyone is so friendly and supportive, it’s really unlike any other sport I’ve experienced.”

When the climbing started at 6:00 p.m. Friday night, the athletes all rushed to get in line for their climbs. This was a red-point competition, meaning that in each category — for both men and women — there would be ten short climbs called boulder problems. Competitors had three and a half hours to complete as many of the ten as possible. The athletes are allowed to watch each other and collaborate to find the best way to reach the top of the climb.

At around 10:00 p.m. the results from the qualification round were being published. The top eight competitors from this round would move onto finals the following evening. The results were surprising, as only two of the athletes that competed in the final round of the previous National Cup in Pittsburgh, had placed in the top eight.

At 5:30 p.m. on Saturday night, a line of spectators accumulated outside the doors and around the building of the Mesa Rim Climbing Academy. An hour later, the doors opened and spectators began to talk amongst themselves about the eight colorful boulder problems that were displayed on the walls around them.

The finals round was a different format than the qualifying round. The men and women were each given four boulder problems. They are not allowed to see the climbs or watch anyone climb them. They are each given four minutes to complete each climb.

The crowd watches as Joseph Diaz makes his way up the last men’s climb in finals. Diaz was the only finalist to finish the first men’s climb. He went on to place seventh in finals.

Each finalist was announced one by one as they ran out in front of the audience. Climbing started at 7:00 p.m. with Sienna Kopf, the first climber on the wall. Kopf was one of the many 16-year-olds at the event but was the youngest competitor in finals. Although she is young, she is not lacking in experience. She is already a competitor on the world stage for both youth and adult competitions.

As the round went on, the crowd grew more and more surprised by the evolving results. For the women, Sierra Blair-Coyle came out on top with her first win in a professional competition, beating out the eleven-time adult national champion, Alex Puccio. In the Men’s category, Ross Fulkerson, one of the youngest men in finals at only 17, was able to earn himself a spot on the podium in third place.

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