Alex Puccio and Nathaniel Coleman asserted their dominance once again at the 2017 U.S.A. Climbing Bouldering
Open National Championship in Salt Lake City, Utah this weekend. Coleman, who snuck into the final round in last place, defended his title in style
by flashing all four of the men’s finals problems. Puccio reclaimed the top spot from last year’s winner, Megan Mascarenas, for a record 10th national
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The qualifying round kicked off on Friday, February 3 with 59 female competitors and 123 male competitors. Of these hopeful athletes, 23 from each group
made it through to the semi-final round, hosted the following morning, and the field was cut down to nine for each group entering finals Saturday evening
[watch the full replay of finals].
The semi-finals round saw some of the top names in both men’s and women’s categories fail to make the cut for finals. Margo Hayes headed the women’s field
going into finals, followed by the defending champion Megan Marscarenas. In the men’s, Kai Lightner led the field, closely followed by Aleksei Rubtsov
Come Saturday evening the crowd at the Salt Palace was buzzing. The finals problems were as ingenious as expected, with particular highlights being the
momentum swing–jump–jug start to men’s problem two. This gymnastic feat posed no problem to some of the athletes, but some of the best perseverance
and determination of the comp was displayed by the young Brit Alex Waterhouse, who spent almost all of his four minutes trying to make this dynamic
move. He eventually nailed it to the delight of the crowd. Women’s problem four was the make-or-break problem for the ladies. The long and involved
boulder problem thwarted all the competitors, with only Ashima Shiraishi and Puccio touching the final volume, although both failed to hold on for
the top out.
Shiraishi and Brooke Raboutou, both 15 years old and the two youngest competitors this year, joined Puccio on the podium after putting the pressure on
in finals. This was the two high-schoolers first time competing at Bouldering Nationals, and we will also see them on the IFSC World Cup scene for
the first time this year. These two will be also competing next weekend in the Youth Nationals.
On the men’s side, Kai Lightner, who will also be competing next week at the Youth Nationals, and Alexsei Rubtsov of Russia flanked Coleman on the podium
after impressive performances in finals. Lightner was the only competitor other than Coleman to top all four of the men’s finals problems, but through
the competition’s complicated point ranking system, Coleman came out on top. As a foreigner Rubtsov claimed the bronze medal for the competition, but
the third place in the national rankings went to Sean Bailey, who came fourth overall in the comp.
Bouldering Youth Nationals will take place this weekend, February 9 to 12, in Salt Lake City. Stay tuned for more.
1. Alex Puccio 1. Nathaniel Coleman
2. Ashima Shiraishi 2. Kai Lightner
3. Brooke Raboutou 3. Aleksei Rubtsov (RUS)
4. Michaela Kiersch 4. Sean Bailey
5. Kyra Condie 5. Shawn Raboutou
6. Megan Marscarenas 6. Nicholas Milburn
7. Margo Hayes 7. Andy Lamb
8. Grace Mckeehan 8. Tyler Landman
9. Lily Canavan 9. Alex Waterhouse
Full scores can be found on the usaclimbing.org.
2017 Bouldering National Championship Highlights: