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Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)

May 18, 2015, Central Saanich, BC (ISN) – After three days of some incredible climbing and competition, Climbing Escalade Canada (CEC) crowned their 2015 National Lead and Speed Sport Climbing Champions on Monday afternoon at The Boulders Climbing Gym in Central Saanich.

The USA’s Delaney Miller, Open Female Champion (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The event was the culmination of the 2014-2015 CEC sport climbing season and the youth champions in each age category for each discipline are now eligible to represent their country at the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) World Youth Championships in Arco, Italy later this summer.

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Ontario’s Indiana Chapman (left) and BC’s Brennan Doyle (right) were winners in the Youth C Lead Category.  Doyle also won gold in Speed in that category (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

In the lead climbing category, all athletes completed two qualifying runs on Saturday morning and the top 16 plus ties in each category then advanced on to a semi-final climb on Sunday morning. The top eight plus ties in each age group then conducted their final climb Monday morning in front of a large crowd enjoying the Victoria Day sunshine.

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BC’s Sophie Buitendyk (left) and Ontario’s Zach Richardson (right) were Youth B Champions (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Beginning with the youngest age group, Ontario’s Indiana Chapman was the star in the Youth C Female category, topping her two qualifying routes and her semi-final and then adding another solid climb on Sunday to clinch the gold. In Youth C Male, the Boulder’s own Brennan Doyle put together four solid climbs, including a pair of tops in his qualifying to add National gold to his impressive climbing resume.

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The USA’s Melina Constanza took home gold in Youth A and silver in the Open Female division (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

In Youth B, BC’s Sophie Buitendyk continued to dominate the category for the females, putting together four solid climbs to add National gold to the BC Provincial title she won in April. Ontario’s Zach Richardson took gold for the Youth B Males.

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Ontario’s Beth Vince (left) was the Canadian champion in the Youth A division, while Ontario teammate Nathan Smith took home gold in the Junior Male division (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

In Youth A Female, Melina Constanza, an impressive climber from the Seattle area and who also won this category at the BC Provincials in April, took home the gold. Ontario’s Beth Vince, by virtue of her second place finish, became the Canadian champion in the age group. In Youth A Male, another impressive U.S. climber, Kai Lightner took home gold with an impressive final climb Monday. Equally impressive was the climb of Ontario’s Lucas Uchida, who by virtue of finishing second to Lightner, claimed the Canadian title in the category.

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The USA’s Kai Lightner (left) would win gold in the Youth A category and a bronze in Open.  Ontario’s Lucas Yuchida (right) would be named Canadian champion in Youth A and be a Canadian broze medalist in the Open division (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Moving up in age, Alberta’s Becca Frangos took home gold in the Junior Female category, while Ontario’s Nathan Smith did the same for the males. Frangos was also named the Canadian champion in the Open Female division, having finished third in the competition to the USA’s Delaney Miller and the aforementioned Constanza. Miller, who also won the category at the BC Provincials in April, put on a solid display of climbing over the weekend, topping three of her climbs and dazzling the crowd Monday as she hung off the roof of The Boulders, almost topping her final climb.

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Becca Frangos of Alberta would be a double winner, capturing gold in Junior Female and being named Canadian champion in Open Female (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The Open Male division also saw some pretty impressive climbing, led by three-time World Overall Champion Sean McColl of North Vancouver who took home the gold in the category. He was followed in second by The Boulders own Elan-Jonas McRae, with the USA’s Lightner placing third. Both McColl and McRae nearly topped an incredibly tough route Sunday to secure their spots at the top.

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Canadian climbers Sean McColl (left) (gold) and Elan Jonas-McRae (right) (silver) put on an entertaining bit of climbing during their finals Monday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

In the Speed competition, Czech climber Libor Hroza was once again the story of the day. After disappointingly falling off the wall on Sunday night during the IFSC Speed World Cup and missing an opportunity to secure a new official world record, Hroza advanced into the Open Male finals of the Nationals on Monday and stunned the crowd by racing up the wall in an astonishing 5.38 seconds, shattering the world record time of 5.6 seconds.

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Czech climber Libir Hroza stops the clock at a world record shattering time of 5.388 seconds and begins a crazy celebration, only to learn that his climb did not count due to a “technical” false start.  Hroza would re-race and capture the gold, but in a time over six seconds (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Hroza’s jubilant reaction and the crowds enthusiasm were short-lived however, as he was ruled to have had a “technical” false start, related to a climbers reaction time to the start beeper. The official rules allow for a climber to have a 0.10 second reaction time or more to the beeper. If the climbers reaction time, which is checked on the official timing mechanism used by the judges, is found to be less than that, it is felt the climber jumped the gun too early and thus a false start is called. In this case, Hroza’s reaction time was somewhere around 0.05 seconds and because of that, his climb did not count and he had to run again.

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USA climber Max Hammer set a number of personal bests en route to speed gold in the Youth A category and a silver in the Open Male category (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

After a short break for the climbers to recover, Hroza raced again, alongside the U.S.’s Max Hammer who was enjoying the amusement of the whole affair, easily winning gold, but with a time of over six seconds. Regardless of the technicality, Hroza’s climb was certainly the highlight of the day.

Also quietly watching all the excitement was Victoria’s Tristen Gosselin, who by virtue of his third place finish, was crowned the Canadian champion in the Open Male division.

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Sonja Johanson is all smiles after winning speed gold in the Youth B division (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The Open Women’s division also had an international champion, with Iran’s Farnaz Esmaeilzadeh taking first, followed by Victoria’s Alison Stewart-Patterson, who by virtue of her silver, is crowned the Canadian champion in the Open Female age group.

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Victoria’s Tristen Gosselin would win gold in the Junior Male speed competition and also be named Canadian Champion in the Open Male category (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Things were less dramatic at the younger age groups, where Gosselin and BC’s Taylor Forsyth won gold for the males and females respectively in Junior, while the U.S.’ Hammer and Quebec’s Maggy Dube Laroche won gold in Youth A. BC’s Jacob Dorion was the Canadian champion for the Youth A males.

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The Boulders own Ryan O’Neil is one happy lad after he won speed climbing gold in the Youth B category on Monday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

In Youth B, the Boulders own Ryan O’Neil took advantage of his home wall to win gold for the males, while BC’s Sonya Johanson won gold for the females. Finally, in Youth C, BC’s Brennan Doyle became a double Canadian champion with his gold, while Quebec’s Babette Roy would win gold for the females.

For detailed final results in both the Lead and Speed competitions, please visit http://climbtheboulders.com/canadian-youth-and-open-nationals/ 

Look for all the above photos and more from the CEC Nationals on Christian J. Stewart Photography’s web site at http://christianjstewart.zenfolio.com/cec2015 

Follow Christian J. Stewart on Twitter @cjs_photography