High hold – DeVore off to Nationals
Katrina DeVore traverses the Aspen sporting landscape completely.The 16-year-old Aspen High junior-to-be is a hockey star for the celebrated Aspen U-19 girls.What else? “I play soccer, telemark, kayak, mountain bike. That’s about all,” she said Wednesday.Katrina DeVore also climbs. Like a spider.Today, she’s leaving for Sacramento for the USA Climbing National Championships, a competition with 370 climbers, including 30 qualifiers in the girls 16- 17-year-old division.
The top four 16-17 girls will earn spots on the U.S. Junior Climbing Team – and a ticket to the World Championships, in Scotland this year.”I’ve been climbing and training a lot, and I’ll just have to do my best and see where it gets me,” she said.In competitive sport climbing, climbers are permitted one visual inspection of a competition route – pegged up a wall with molded holds and anchors – and then shuffled into isolation. One by one, climbers are ushered out to try and climb as high on the route as possible.The field dwindles as the routes get harder.”You climb two routes the first day and they take the top 10 or 15 into the finals,” said DeVore, who advanced to the final day at nationals in 2002. “But the second day, the routes are pretty hard – because they don’t want a lot of people climbing to the top of it.”You have to on-sight it, and you only get one try to do one route. If you fall and mess up, you don’t get another one. You’re done.”
In 2002 at nationals, DeVore advanced to the final round as the third-place qualifier. “Then I fell and messed up,” she chuckled.DeVore’s older brother, Nick, is a former member of the U.S. Junior Climbing Team. Recently, he has focused on telemark skiing (taking second in the U.S. Telemark Extremes at Crested Butte this year).”My brother got to go to Austria for his worlds,” DeVore said. “And Scotland, that’d be way cool.”DeVore qualified for the national championships with a first-place finish in the Colorado/New Mexico Regional Championships, May 15, at the Sport Climbing Center in Colorado Springs.Then, at the June 15-16 Southwestern Divisional Championships (an area encompassing Colorado, Texas, southern California, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and parts of Louisiana), DeVore placed fourth at Thornton’s Rockin’ and Jammin’.
The top six finishers from the five divisions advanced to the finals this weekend.”The Southwest Division is the strongest division,” said Landon Cox of Monument, the regional coordinator for Colorado/New Mexico for USA Climbing.”Katrina’s going to see good competition, but she’s also got potential to podium, I think,” Cox added.
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Had Hailey Swirbul decided against going to Europe, she would not have finished with a career-best result in Friday’s World Cup opener. Yes, there was a time, and not long ago, when the U.S. ski team member and Roaring Fork Valley native questioned her desire to put on a race bib.