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Prosthetics, Chalk Dust, Wheelchairs, and Golds: Adaptive Nationals Recap

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Prosthetics, wheelchairs, microphones and chalk dust filled Vertical Adventures in Columbus, Ohio this past weekend. Over 100 athletes showed up, all with their game faces on and ready to compete for a top spot on the USA Adaptive Team. Athlete categories included Neurological or Physical Disability, Visual Impairment, Upper Extremity Amputee, Lower Extremity Amputee, Seated and Youth.

“The energy in the room was phenomenal. We’ve never had as many athletes or spectators as we had this year,” said Maureen Beck, six-time winner of the Upper Extremity Amputee category. “Most of all, I’m looking forward to being a part of our best team yet as we head to France in July for the World Championships.”

In total, 36 medals were handed out Saturday night. The women’s and men’s medalists in each of the six different categories are listed at the bottom of this article. Full results can be found at USA Climbing (USAC).

The two-day event—one day of competition and one day of additional community initiatives—included vendors and guest speakers Kai Lightner and Shane Messer. On Saturday, the competitors had three hours to redpoint three routes for their category. They could give each route as many tries as they wanted to turn in their best score. “This was the first year that the two of the three routes were modeled after the style of competition routes that athletes will see at the IFSC World Championship,” said Kareemah Batts, the founder of the Adaptive Climbing Group. Batts added that the setting was more creative and challenging than that of past years.

In the future, there are hopes that the USAC categorization will match that of the IFSC, where there are subsets of several categories. For example, at IFSC competitions the Visually Impaired category it is broken down into three subsets according to degree of blindness. This level of categorization in U.S. adaptive climbing will only be possible with the continued growth of the sport and more athletes.

And that is definitely likely: already, since the first USA Adaptive Nationals in 2014, the number of competitors has tripled. And analogous categories to the IFSC event is just one of the changes that the U.S. athletes want to bring to this side of the pond: they also want to expand Adaptive Nationals from a one- to two-day competition. “We have the best problems to solve going forward now,” said Beck. “We have TOO many people for our current format so we’re looking at what changes we need to make to accommodate our ever growing sport.”

Daniel Hill battle up one of his three routes. Photo: Jon Vickers

Neurological or Physical Disability- Male

1) Noe Tolentino

2) Ben Mayforth

3) Jared Lenahan

Neurological or Physical Disability- Female

1) Aika Yoshida

2) Jasmine Raskas

3) Molly Finch

Visual Impairment- Male

1) Justin Salas

2) Koichiro Kobayashi

3) Bill Casson

Visual Impairment- Female

1) Amy Mullins

2) Michelle Ward

3) Mandi Curtis

Upper Extremity Amputee- Male

1) Mor Sapir

2) Daniel Hill

3) Brian Zarzuela

Upper Extremity Amputee- Female

1) Maureen Beck

2) Emily McDermott

3) Molly Ferris

Lower Extremity Amputee- Male

1) Corey Ramos

2) Kyle Long

3) Ronnie Dickenson

Lower Extremity Amputee- Female

1) Mariah, Bener

2) Emily Stephenson

3) Rebecca Levernberg

Seated- Male

1) Tanner Cislaw

2) Carlos Quiles


1) Carlie Cook

2) Manasi Deshpande

Youth- Male

1) John “Jack” Whalen

2) Connor Gearey

3) Jackson Haberman

Youth- Female

1) Giovanna Dubuc

2) Breanna Brooks

3) Raveena Alli

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