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Young Crushers in Youth Sport and Speed Nationals

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A few weeks ago, on July 11-14, the nation’s top youth competitors gathered in Bridgeport, Pennsylvania, a hot and humid town no bigger than a square mile. Nearly 600 athletes were present, along with coaches, parents and officials for Sport and Speed Nationals. Over the course of four days, young athletes climbed for a spot atop the podium and on the USA Youth Team.

The event was hosted by Reach Climbing and Fitness, a facility that just celebrated its grand opening a month ago. Reach boasts 55-foot tall walls and a 15-meter speed wall. Spectators filled the large open spaces atop the balcony across from the walls and bright bay windows.

“This was the first time in 10 years that Youth Nationals have been anywhere outside of Atlanta,” said Claudiu Vidulescu, head coach of Stone Summit. “It was a good change of scenery especially because it was hosted by a brand new facility in a historic part of Philadelphia.” Stone Summit, with 31 climbers, took home the Team Champion award.  On his expectations going into the competition, Vidulescu noted:

“I was hoping that we were going to win both Sport and Speed. We ended up third in Sport and first in Speed. As far as individuals go, I was hoping to have two to three National Champions in Sport. We had a good amount of seconds, thirds and fourths but none in first place. Nevertheless, we now have won the Overall Team Championship for the third year in a row so I guess we’re doing very well as a team.”

The team aspect of youth competition is incredibly valuable. The male A lead Champion, Collin Duffy, has been on Team ABC for the past seven years. “When I age out in a few years,” he said, “I’ll miss the team aspect of youth climbing the most. Having a climbing team to routinely train and hang out with will be hard to move on from.”

Still, the winning B through Junior competitors have something else to look forward to—international competitions. In just a few weeks, they will pack their bags for Arco, Italy, for the Youth World Championships. At this annual event, many of them will get to experience international competition for the first time. 

“There is only around a month between Nationals and Worlds, so there isn’t really a lot of time to do a lot of physical training,” said Silas Chang, who placed third in speed.  “I am preparing by trying to find a good mental state that I can consistently achieve that benefits my performance. I find myself performing best when I go into a competition with a relaxed but focused mentality…”

These young crushers are our future. By 2024, if Sport Climbing gets officially approved for the Paris Olympics, it’s likely they will be America’s representatives. 

Complete results can be found on

Images by Blake Berson/USA Climbing

Sport Results

Female Junior Male Junior
Natalia Grossman Stefan Fellner
Lauren Bair Clay Gordon
Jenny Jiang Derek New
Female A Male A
Emma Grace Lehmann Collin Duffy
Quinn Mason Zander Waller
Emily Herdic Connor Herson
Female B Male B
Norah Chi Lucas Oddi
Olivia Ma Oliver Kuang
Genevieve (Matti) Dennis Leo Costanza
Female C Male C
Anastasia Sanders Auggie Chi
Alina Albert Hugo Hoyer
Sienna Perez Lucas Tillery
Female D Male D
Analise van Hoang Cruz Padilla
Jojo Chi Wilson Whitley
Noemie Nguyen Cozmo Rothfork

Speed Results

Female Junior  Male Junior
Lauren Bair Joe Goodacre
Natalia Grossman Noah Bratschi
Audrey Johnson Nicholas Motella
Female A Male A
Emma Hunt Jordan Fishman
Mia Bawendi Joshua Muehring
Kiara Pellicane-Hart Ethan Freudenheim
Female B Male B
Callie Close Quinn O’Francia
Olivia Ma Oliver Kuang
Oceana Carter Silas Chang
Female C Male C
Alina Albert Lucas Tillery
Sienna Perez Zachary Hammer
Jordan Carr Vail Everett
Female D Male D
Jojo Chi Liam Anderson
Noemie Nguyen William Eaton
Yealiya Southern Cozmo Rothfork

Team Championship

Stone Summit
Team Texas
Team ABC