Ella and I got back late last night from our trip to Boulder, and we had such a good time. I have so much to write about, but first things first.
As I've mentioned a few times, Ella is a competitive rock climber, and we went to Boulder for the Division 2 championships. Division 2 includes Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Arizona, California and Colorado. To qualify for Divisionals, the climbers had to compete at a Regional comp. Ours was about a month ago.
Ella is in the Youth D division, which is for kids ages 11 and under. Sixteen girls from Division 2 made it to the comp this weekend, meaning they were all pretty dang good. There was a pack of teeny girls from a gym in Boulder who were amazing considering how small they were.
On Saturday, Ella competed in prelims for sport climbing (technical climbing) and for speed climbing (exactly what it sounds like). In sport climbing, the kids had two routes to attempt. Ella was able to complete both of them, and she ended up in a 6-way tie for first, meaning five other girls also completed both routes. She placed 4th for speed. Top ten kids in each even advanced to finals, so Ella easily qualified for Sunday's events.
Sunday morning I was a wreck. The route was unbelievably hard. I sent the below picture to B and my parents to show them what Ella was up against. I told them I wanted to find the route setter and tell him to change it because what he had put up there was way too hard for such little girls.
In case you're wondering, that wall is four stories high. And the dark grey area is indeed an overhang.
The Youth D boys climbed first, so I got to watch how they handled the route. Not one managed to finish it, although two came close. My heart raced each time one fell. Even though the climbers are all in harness and on belay, it's still a bit terrifying to watch them falling through the air until the belayer catches them. It doesn't seem to phase the kids at all.
After waiting for what seemed like forever, Ella finally got to climb. My heart was in my throat the entire time. The scoring is based upon how high a climber gets on the wall and whether she merely touches a hold or gets a secure grip on it. I'd been keeping track of how high the climbers before Ella had gotten, and measured her progress against theirs. She managed to get a solid grip on the holds just above the overhang, which was higher than most of the other climbers. After she climbed, she was allowed to come sit with me and watch the final two girls in her division. After they finished, I knew Ella was at least in the top six, which would qualify her for Nationals in Atlanta next month, which is all I really cared about.
The results were posted an hour later, and when I saw them, I gasped out loud and asked a mom from a Houston team to confirm what I had seen.
After I confirmed that she really had won, I told her coach, who gave me a big bear hug. He then told Ella. Her eyes got huge, and then she gave him that small quiet smile she gets when she's really, really happy about something. I started crying, just a little.
Ella also placed 5th in Speed Climbing, so she'll get to compete at both events next month in Atlanta.
Congratulations Big Girl!