Though the men’s finals went forward without nine-time national champion and perennial mainstay Daniel Woods in the mix, the women’s finals was a who’s who of the strongest boulderers around. Both draws delivered high drama, albeit of different sorts.
While Nathaniel Coleman managed to three-peat as the national champion by flashing all four of the men’s final problems and essentially “shutting the door” on the rest of the competitors (as the commentators were so fond of repeating at any and every opportunity), Alex Puccio and Ashima Shiraishi were in a dead heat going into the fourth and last problem of the women’s final.
After three problems, Puccio was ahead of Shiraishi by just under five points: though they had each topped two problems, Puccio had made it to the 15-point hold on the problem she failed to top while Shiraishi had only made it to the 10-point hold on the one that she did not send. Neither climber—nor any of the other four women, for that matter—could solve the fourth problem, and so Puccio walked away with her eleventh career title (talk about dominant), while Shiraishi had to settle for silver for the second consecutive year. Brooke Raboutou rounded out the podium in third.
On the men’s side, Sean Bailey delivered a near unbeatable performance by topping out all four problems, with a flash of one of them to boot. But near unbeatable wasn’t good enough against defending champion Nathaniel Coleman, who flashed every problem in the final round for the second consecutive year. Bailey settled for a well-earned second, with Drew Ruana hot on his heels in third.
Click below for replays of the men’s and women’s qualification, semi-final and final rounds: