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Golds for Bailey, Brosler and Buhrfeind at the 2018 Sport and Speed Open National Championships

The story of the weekend was Claire Burhfeind, who became the first American athlete ever to win gold in both sport and speed at Nationals.

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Last weekend American athletes hit the walls of the new Mesa Rim gym in Reno, Nevada, for the 2018 Sport and Speed Open National Championships. The 2016 gold medalist Sean Bailey claimed gold for men’s sport and Team ABC’s John Brosler for men’s speed, while Team Texas’ 19-year-old Claire Buhrfeind became the first athlete ever to claim gold in both disciplines.

The Sport National Championships are based on a three-round system consisting of qualifiers, semi-Finals and finals. Competitors have a single attempt to climb two routes in Qualifiers and one each in semi-Finals and Finals, with points being awarded for each hold reached. The top twenty qualifying athletes proceed to semi-finals from which the eight frontrunners advance to finals. In the speed discipline competitors climb the speed route twice for qualifiers. From here the top eight athletes climb the route twice more in finals.

In the sport event competition was high. Last year’s winners Ashima Shiraishi and Kai Lightner were injured leaving the podiums wide open.

The women’s podium was an altogether different story to that of 2017, when young guns Shiraishi, Margo Hayes and Brooke Raboutou claimed the top spots. This year Buhrfeind, who placed sixth last year, was joined by Michaela Kiersch in second and reigning National Bouldering Champion Alex Puccio in third.

The reigning National Bouldering Champion Alex Puccio approaching the chains on the women’s finals route. Puccio placed third and earned herself a place on the U.S. Sport Team. Photo: Greg Mionske.

Of the female finalists, Buhrfeind, Keirsch, Puccio, Hayes and Raboutou all made it through the burly mantel that guarded the chains of the finals route, meaning that the ultimate standings were determined by the count back to semi-final results. Buhrfeind’s strong performance in Semi-Finals secured her the gold. Puccio commented on her Instagram account that the final route was insufficiently hard:“Would have loved to fight it out on the finals route,” rather than the results being dictated by count backs.

The men’s final was the complete opposite with no finalists topping out. Most of them were foiled by a fierce, crimpy traverse on the latter third of the wall. Sean Bailey and Drew Ruana fell at the same point beyond the traverse, but Bailey managed to fleetingly latch the next hold before succumbing to gravity, thus earning him gold. Ruana took silver, and bronze went to Solomon Barth following count back to semi-finals after he tyed with Josh Levin and Noah Ridge on the final route.


Women’s Open Sport National Championship

  1. Claire Buhrfeind
  2. Michaela Kiersch
  3. Alex Puccio
  4. Margo Hayes
  5. Brooke Raboutou
  6. Delaney Miller
  7. Kyra Condie
  8. Sophia Kwon

Men’s Open Sport National Championship

  1. Sean Bailey
  2. Drew Ruana
  3. Solomon Barth
  4. Josh Levin
  5. Noah Ridge
  6. Zach Galla
  7. Dalton Bunker
  8. Nathaniel Coleman

Check out the full results here.

Claire Buhrfeind punches the clock and wins gold in the women’s speed event. Photo: Greg Mionskewins

In the Speed event Brosler and Buhrfeind reclaimed their 2017 titles, dominating throughout the three rounds of competition. In the women’s divison Amanda Wooten placed second in Qualifiers, only to be beaten in the finals by 0.41 seconds by Piper Kelly, who had placed third in the previous round. In the men’s event the finalists stepped up in the level in the finals with five of the eight competitors climbing the route in less than seven seconds, including Jordan Fishman who took second, and Max Hammer who took third.


Women’s Open Speed National Championship

  1. Claire Buhrfeind
  2. Piper Kelly
  3. Amanda Wooten
  4. Kyra Condie
  5. Brooke Raboutou
  6. Lauren Bair
  7. Sienna Kopf
  8. Natalia Grossman

Men’s Open Speed National Championship

  1. John Brosler
  2. Jordan Fishman
  3. Max Hammer
  4. Noah Bratschi
  5. Michael Finn-Henry
  6. Joe Goodacre
  7. Thomas Pitzel
  8. Luke Rodley

Check out the full results here.

Also read

Recap: 2018 Bouldering Nationals

Claire Buhrfeind’s Phenomenal Week in the Red River Gorge

Sean Bailey, 20, Clips Chains on Biographie/Realization (5.15a)