I started climbing about 3 years ago. Climbing is awesome! I have never really got into baseball, basketball or skating. When I was younger I competed pretty seriously in Judo but I didn’t enjoy the competitions so I stopped. I tried Brazilian Jujutsu, Sports Jujutsu, karate and boxing but I didn’t like hurting people so I looked for a different sport that didn’t involve so much contact. When I found climbing I was hooked. It was good physical exercise and I found a community in climbing that I never found in contact sports.
This year you competed at ABS Youth Nationals, what was that like?
I was more excited than nervous. I placed 5th at Divisionals so I didn’t expect to progress far in the Nationals. I went into Nationals less prepared than I wanted because of school work but I’m extremely happy about how I placed.
How did your results compare with your expectations?
I was excited to compete with insanely strong climbers such as Kai Lightener and Shawn Raboutou. I really didn’t expect to make it past Qualifying but I happily went into Semifinals in 10th place, out of 36 climbers. I was satisfied with how far I had gone so I decided to just have fun and climb as hard as I could in Semifinals. Only the top 10 climbers out of 16, would proceed to the Final round and to my surprise I placed 10th, enough to go on. I was ecstatic that I would be competing with climbers I had only watched on YouTube. This was my first ever competitive season and I couldn’t believe it.
On the day of Finals, in isolation, I felt sluggish and weak. I didn’t feel very strong when I started climbing. The problems were pretty difficult and I wasn’t sure about my results. But, everyone else was having difficulty with problems as well. After everyone in my group finished climbing, I was unsure what place I would receive. I thought maybe 5th or 6th place at best, so I was excited when a fellow climber told me that I placed 4th. This meant that I would qualify to compete in Arco Italy at the IFSC Youth Bouldering World Cup and be part of the U.S. Team.
What did you think of Wisconsin?
Very cold! I like the weather in California. But we had fun.
Will you be traveling alone to Italy?
My Dad, Mom and older brother will be coming to cheer me on. We are all very excited about the upcoming trip.
Did you compete in the Touchstone Climbing Series comps last year, will you compete this year?
Yes, I competed in the TCS comps last year. They were a lot of fun and I hope to make finals in bouldering this year.
How does the vibe differ at the TCS comps when compared to the ABS comps?
The TCS comps are more fun! It costs way less to compete and you get to climb the whole day. There is unlimited food and drinks and I get to hang out with friends.
What are your goals for the coming year?
First of course would be to train hard and prepare for Arco, Italy so that I can compete with the best climbers in the world in the youth male A group. I’m part Team Touchstone and I’m sure my coaches will put me through a good regiment… I plan on putting a lot more training hours this summer when I don’t have homework to worry about.
Second is to figure out how we can pay for our trip. If you know anyone who might be willing to support a young competitive athlete like myself, let me know.
Finally, I’m hoping to get outside more and climb on some real rock!