ABS Nationals 2014! Finals Wrap-Up and Results UPDATED
There is a lot that can be said about this exciting ABS Nationals, but if you have the internet you’ve probably seen or read most of it already. For those who don’t want to do the digging and don’t have time to watch the replays, I’ve offered some thoughts on finals below.
For the viewer (at least at home) the women’s finals were far less exciting than the men’s. One reason might be that the male climber seemed to take precedence on the live feed, so the opinion of those of us watching at home may be biased because of that. I hate to be too critical as I know how hard it is to set for these types of events and also as I usually prefer to set and climb a more technical type boulder (as these were), but the consensus among those I’ve talked with is that the women’s finals just didn’t seem as cool as the men’s. They did succeed in getting the job done though, with a clean separation of the field in final scores.
UPDATE – According to competitors the first two women’s finals were actually super fun to climb on. Apologies for assuming they weren’t as cool when really they just didn’t look as good via feed.
UPDATE for clarification – 7 women went to finals because Jule Wurm is German, not American, and they needed six American females in finals. Jule is a talented World Cup climber that you’ve probably heard of by now if you read our World Cup recaps every season.
Final 1 was a pretty basic sequence that seemed a bit more committing for the shorter competitors and involved a mantle/rock-over and then some crimps/edges up a face. Half the field bungled the mantle and fell at least once, but the top didn’t seem too hard (except when Alex Puccio tried to dyno for the last hold first go and missed). Puccio ended up crimping on the side of the volume when she got out of sequence and using that volume edge crimp to do the last move.
Women’s Final 2 looked the least pleasant of the bunch, as the holds were uninspiring to look at and none of the competitors seemed to be enjoying the climb. The bottom was tensiony on smaller holds, then there was a scrunchy press left on some sloper things, then a “triple-bump” that knocked Alex Johnson off, that Angie Payne managed, that Alex Puccio housed, and that Jule skipped (by standing tall from the 2nd hold to the top of the finish hold). The taller girls as a whole looked miserable on this problem, and I’m not sure how tall Grace is but she, Jule, Angie, and Puccio did it whereas Megan, Margo, and Alex Johnson did not.
Women’s Final 3 was far more interesting and involved a mantle onto a big volume, then a jump to a main dish with an overhead press on another main dish to stabilize. The setters added a hold to help with the jump and it probably made it possible but it also left some of the competitors stranded in the splits. Puccio, Angie, and Grace didn’t manage to get out of it, but the rest of the competitors sent. This time it seemed the taller competitors had the advantage.
Women’s Final 4 was the showpiece of the bunch with a dyno out the roof that neither Alex Johnson nor Angie managed to stick, though both were painfully close. Margo and Grace stuck it and got up to the powerful undercling match under the lip of the roof, and Margo got her hands above the roof before falling. Margo did some great route style resting and then used a kneebar/twist to get through the first few roof moves. You can tell the girl has climbed at Hueco. I’m so proud. Anyways, at the lip Megan went up with her wrong hand first, but instead of matching as Margo did (she tried but then abandoned the idea), Megan downclimbed to the undercling match, then went up with her correct (right) hand. Megan then proceeded to do two more unlikely looking moves, only to fall off the last move of the boulder! The endurance and power she showed were impressive to say the least, and it’s clear she could have sent if she hadn’t made an energy-sapping mistake. Jule Wurm also climbed to the top of the problem, only to fall going for the finish. That left Alex Puccio who, true to form, stuck the dyno 2nd (or 3rd?) go, then pretty much hiked her way to the top, doing the powerful last move like it was nothing and showing why she is still the American Champion.
The way the scores work, tops are given the most weight, then points, then flashes/attempts. Jule Wurm and Alex Puccio both climbed 3 boulders, but on the boulder Jule didn’t send, Final 4, she got to the last move, literally touched the last hold, so she got 16 points. On the problem Alex didn’t do she got stuck in the splits early on and so only got 3 points for it. Therefore, Jule is first in this comp and won but Alex Puccio is still considered the American Bouldering Champion.
Women’s Final Results
1. Jule Wurm
2. Alex Puccio (US National Champion)
3. Megan Mascarenas
4. Margo Hayes
5. Grace McKeehan
6. Alex Johnson
7. Angie Payne
The short of it is, Daniel Woods dominated the men’s category with sends of all four boulders, and close on his heels were Vasya Vorotnikov, who made an incredibly exciting send of Men’s Final 2, and a young man named Andy Lamb who came out of nowhere to impress everybody on his way to a third place finish. Michael O’Rourke, climbing in his first ABS Open Nationals final, also gave an impressive showing and though he missed the corner press beta on Men’s Final 1, he was the only competitor besides Daniel to stick a powerful pinch move on Men’s Final 4. Paul Robinson surprised himself by making finals, as he’s been primarily climbing outdoors of late, and he climbed well with a flash of the first problem and a near-send of the third. Finally Jon Cardwell looked strong as always but seemed a bit stymied by reach on all the problems, for example, on Final 1 there was a corner press that he simply couldn’t reach, on Final 2 he was very extended for already extended jumps, on Final 3 he had trouble reaching the final hold with his body in a stable position, and on Final 4 the jump to the pinch was huge, though he nearly made it and had a handful of the hold a couple of times. All in all a good effort from all the men and very exciting viewing.
Men’s Final Results
1. Daniel Woods
2. Vasya Vorotnikov
3. Andy Lamb
4. Michael O’Rourke
5. Paul Robinson
6. Jon Cardwell
Want to see for yourself?