Today begins the qualifying round of the 2014 SCS (Sport Climbing Series) Open National Championship at Sender One Climbing, Chris Sharma’s gym located in Santa Ana, CA.
Once again from Minnesota, Kyra Condie will be competing against the best women sport climbers in the country for the title of Open National Champion. Last year at this event, Kyra finished 6th in sport climbing and took 1st place in speed climbing. Later in 2013, Kyra would be crowned Youth SCS National Champion in sport climbing and take 2nd in youth speed climbing.
More recently, Kyra traveled to Colorado at the end of February to compete in both the Open and Youth Nationals of ABS (American Bouldering Series). At ABS, Kyra finished 12th in Open and returned the following weekend to capture her third straight Youth National Championship!
Kyra chatted about her 2014 ABS experience with JustClimbMN before departing on a road trip with fellow FiveTen athlete, Michaela Kiersch, that would lead them to western climbing destinations and ultimately, Sender One Climbing for the SCS Open comp. Check out their photo blog of the adventure here.
Watch the qualifying round tonight at 7pm Central here. Finals are Saturday, April 5 and will also be live streamed from LT11’s YouTube channel. Watch the Men’s competition as well and root for local strongman, Noah Ridge.
A Chat With ABS 15 Youth National Champion, Kyra Condie
You aren’t listed as being with a team anymore, how/where/with whom are you training nowadays?
Training for ABS this year was a little different, but I really liked what I did. Basically I climbed up in B2 at the St. Paul VE and climbed/trained with all the guys, Noah, Nic, Tyler T., Wei, Caius, etc.
I also went to visit Kris Peters again in the beginning of January in order to jump start a training program for myself!
You competed in your second ABS Open Nationals, how did you feel returning to the event?
I was a little more nervous this year than last year! I tried not to put expectations on myself for the comp, but you always do at least a little bit. So in semifinals I was pretty nervous on the first climb, which ended up keeping me out of finals. I was really happy with how the comp went, regardless!
You finished Qualifiers in 13th place (out of 58) and moved up to 12th in Semis, how did you feel about your performance this year?
I think I could have made it into finals this year, I had enough points to make it in in 5th place, but scoring makes it so getting to the top of a boulder is the most important, so not having any tops put me in 12th. I feel like I could have done the first climb, which is a little disappointing, but I was really happy with how I climbed on everything else!
What did you do between the Open and Youth comps?
I mainly hung out in Boulder with my friends who were also staying the week in between! We climbed nearly every day but also explored Pearl Street, saw a movie, and went thrift shopping.
You have chosen to go to college in Colorado, how much did climbing influence your decision?
Climbing definitely really influenced my decision. To do well in school, I knew I’d need to be in a place where I would be happy. Colorado makes me happy! So I think in general it’ll be a great place for both climbing and academics.
Are you a senior this year and heading to college in the fall?
What will you be studying? What school?
I’m in the College of Arts and Sciences at CU Boulder, studying mainly the sciences. Hopefully some chemistry and biology classes. I want to eventually go to vet school to become a vet.
During the broadcast of the Open finals, it was announced that next year’s ABS will take place in Madison, WI. How ironic is that, that you will be heading there while the comp is heading here?
I thought that was super funny actually! It’ll give me an excuse to come visit home so I won’t mind!
Will you be in Madison for ABS16?
You were the defending champ in your division at Youth Nationals this year, any added pressure because of that at this year’s comp?
Oh it definitely added pressure. Everyone was telling me that I was “of course going to win again,” which made me really nervous before the comp. I think it’s really bad for your mental game to go into a comp expecting to win, so I don’t do that. I go in trying to climb my best and hope that it’s enough!
Your win this year made it 3 in a row. Had you won in other years or does this make a total of 3?
Well I won the SCS Open in speed climbing last year, and SCS Youth in sport climbing last summer, so it’s 5 total but 3 for ABS!
Was this your last year of eligibility in Youth or will you be back next year?
I’ll be back! I have a 1996 birthday, so I can still compete next year.
The Youth comp is not live streamed, so I’m going off of the USA Climbing website for the story of the comp. You finished Qualifiers in first (out of 38) and then made it through Semi’s in 5ths. How different were the problems between those rounds?
Well I was actually only in 5th by one fall. The qualifier climbs were hard, which separates the climbers well. In semifinals they were way too easy, making my one slip count for a lot! I flashed the first and second climb and got the third [on my] second try after my hand popped on the first.
What was challenging during Semis?
I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be! But no, the climbs were not that hard. I prefer the climbs to be hard, because I think it really shows who the strongest person is. When they’re too easy, it can come down to things like a foot slip or a hand pop.
What were you thinking heading into Finals in 5th?
I really wasn’t too worried about it. Firstly because I knew it was just a tiny mistake on my part that put me in that position, and secondly because actually, going out in a position that’s not first is what I’ve always done in ABS finals! The first time I went in in 6th, second time in 4th, and now this time in 5th.
How did Finals go for you?
Before finals all I was saying to people was that I wanted the climbs to be really hard. Because like I said, I think hard separates the best and shows who is really the strongest. The night before I actually got a terrible nights sleep and was too nervous to eat dinner, so I was pretty worried in the morning. I like to get into ISO as soon as I can because once I’m in there, a lot of my nerves go away.
It looks like you only had 1 top during Finals. How hard were those problems?
They were super hard, so I was happy! I sent the first climb, which was a slab with a dyno on it. I believe only 4 people combined between Female A and Female Junior did the climb. Then in my category I got the highpoint on the second climb, but because of trying so hard on it I was very tired for the third climb, which I got to where everyone got to on it.
You won with a 5 point lead. How did it feel to come back from a deficit after Semis and take such a commanding victory in Finals?
I was really happy when I realized I had done it again. I thought that if the problems were hard and separated well, than all my training would pay off!
There was a picture of local USA Climbing setter, Nic O, looking shocked by a heel hook on one of the problems that went viral in the climbing world. Did you climb that problem?
Sadly, no. It looked awesome. I love that picture! I found it right when the woman who took it posted it and sent it to Nic.
Do you enjoy creative problems like that or wish they were all more straight forward?
I love creative problems. I’m pretty good at reading sequences, so having something weird that you have to figure out is really fun.
You earned an invite to Team USA again this year. Will you be accepting? Where will that take you this year?
For youth it means I can go to the Pan-American championships, which is rumored to be in Mexico City, but there are no official plans yet. And I believe I also made team for open which means I can go to the Vail Mountain Games again and compete in the World Cup!
What does the rest of 2014 look like for you?
I’ll be climbing outside in Maple Canyon really soon, training for SCS open and youth, going to possibly a comp in Boston (Ring of Fire), and graduating high school!
SCS is coming up, will you be competing in Youth? Open?
Where will you be training for SCS?
I’m going to continue climbing in B2, but also head to VE Minneapolis for some more lead climbing. I’m also going on a spring break trip to train sport climbing with Michaela Kiersch!
Nationals will be at Sender One, have you climbed there yet? Psyched to?!?
I’m very excited! That gym looks amazing. I’m heading there over spring break to climb on the walls and get some more endurance before the comp on April 4th!
ABS15 photos from Greenz Productions
Upon returning to Minnesota, Kyra will be giving back to the community by taking on coaching responsibilities with the newly formed Midwest Climbing Academy, a youth training facility in NE Minneapolis.