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Kids Dominate Ring of Fire Comp

posted by dpm on 05/07/2014

This past weekend the finals of the three part Ring of Fire sport climbing competition was held at Central Rock Gym in Massachusetts. There’s been a lot of buzz coming from the spectators that attended, some calling it the most exciting comp they’ve ever seen, and for good reason. The route setting was reportedly excellent and made for some creative, dynamic movement, but more importantly…two kids actually beat some of the country’s best climbers. Cruxcrush.com has a thorough report on the event titled “The Night Ashima Beat Daniel Woods” which is a bit of a stretch to say, but not much of one.

The three competition Ring of Fire series is held at the three Central Rock Gyms, all located in New England. There are no age brackets for this open competition, so kids like 14-year-old Kai Lightner can square off against big dogs like Daniel Woods. Going into finals, there were 10 females and 10 males determined by the results of the first two comps. Though she had made it to finals, Sasha Digiulian bowed out of the final comp due to a knee injury which left a strong crew of females that included Delaney Miller (current SCS Nationals champion), Annalissa Flynn, Megan Martin, 13-year-old Ashima Shiraishi and others. Going into the final round for the men were Kai Lightner, Daniel Woods, Josh Levin, Vasya Vorotnikov, Mike Foley, Rob D’Anastasio, Andy Lamb, and more. (See Cruxcrush.com for complete listings). Needless to say, it was a strong field of men; three of these guys have climbed 5.15.

Incredibly, it was young Kai Lightner that bested the best and set a high point on the finals route. He took first place for the males. But some real excitement came from the ladies super-final. Both Delaney Miller and Ashima Shiraishi had flashed the women’s finals route so setters added a few foot chips to the men’s finals route, allowed them some flash beta which gave them an advantage over the men’s onsight format, and then set the two young crushers loose on the route to break the tie. Cruxcrush wrote, “Ashima climbed that route using maybe 1 or 2 of the additional foot chips they placed for her, reaching the same high point as the men’s winner (another young gun, 14-year-old Kai Lightner)! So essentially, this 13-year-old phenom out-climbed Daniel Woods, and Vasya Vorotnikov, two of the strongest climbers in the world AND she made it look easy! Just incredible. This was actually Ashima’s first ever ropes competition, and if this is any indication of what’s to come, we’d say the ropes comp circuit had better watch out!”

Ashima took first place followed by Delaney Miller and Claire Buhrfeind. Kai Lightner was followed by Daniel Woods and Andy Lamb.

Click the image for the highlight reel from the Ring of Fire competition.