ABS Nationals

Last weekend I competed in the 2010 ABS Nationals in Alexandria, Virginia. I had been training a bit before the comp, focusing my sessions on comp style problems and climbing with Paul and Daniel a bunch. Unfortunately I got sick jsut before the comp, not too bad but just enough to affect my performance. The qualifier problems were very well set, with a good variety of powerful and technical problems. I was able to qualify for finals in 9th place by finishing four of the six qualifiers.


In the finals I felt even worse the the day before. Since I had nothing to lose I tried really hard despite teh sickness and was still able to do pretty well. The first problem was a little tricky but not too powerful, so I sent it on my third go after fumbling the finish dyno twice in a row. Problem #2 was a lot harder and purely powerful, so I couldn't really climb well on it and didn't even end up making it to the bonus. Problem #3 was also powerful put involved a tricky campus sequence and a heel hook, so I was able to make it to the bonus on my first go but no top. By the time I reached problem #4 I was completely drained of energy, so all I could do was give it a good a muerte go and see how far I could get. I ended up getting the bonus and making it four moves past before my arms gave out. I got the second highest on the problem after Daniel, who fell on the finish move!

I ended up 9th in finals which I am very syked on, considering my sickness and the fact that there were 18 finalists instead of the usual 15. Although I couldn't climb my best physically, I still felt like I was able to get my head together and give it my all, which is a huge step for me in terms of competition.

Daniel Woods ended up winning the men's field and Alex Puccio took it down for the women. Also, big props to Matt Bosley who made a solid performance and ended up taking second!

While I thought that the qualifiers boulders were very well set, I feel that the finals could have definitely been a lot better. First off, the setting was very straightforward and didn't involve any super technical moves. Every single problem was power-based and it made it obvious who would be the winner. This type of setting does not allow other competitors to do well compared to Daniel who is by far the strongest in the field. In Europe, where problems are a perfect variety of powerful and technical moves, the winners are never the same and more and more people can battle it out for first place. I believe that this would be a lot more exciting for the climbers and the crowd as well, which in turn would produce a much better event.  Also, the finals problems were way too hard and most people could only get one or zero tops. Only four people were able to top more then one problem, and three of those were on problem #2. Not even Daniel was able to complete problem #4 (he climbed it after the comp though!). Had the problems been a little easier, the field could have been broken up a little better! Finally, I personally hate the zone format and think that it is by far the worst way to run bouldering competitions. It gives no incentives for competitors to continue trying a boulder once they reached the bonus but cannot complete the problem. It is also boring for the crowd because they see one person get 6 holds higher then another, but little do they know they are still getting the same points, or maybe even less. Had the zone format not been implemented, the scoring would have been a lot more fair and it would have given competitors motivation to try to get a hold higher each time for more points.