Hannah Tolson takes first at Psicobloc after first-round elimination in 2015
Hannah Tolson of Scottsdale, Arizona, took first overall in women’s Psicobloc Masters climbing competition at the Utah Olympic Park on Saturday, besting a tough lineup to earn what she considers redemption after her competition two years ago. In 2016, acclaimed climber Paige Claassen eliminated Tolson in the first round.
This year was different for Tolson. For one, Claassen and several other competitors she usually faces weren’t there, though there was a strong contingent of up-and coming climbers, including 16-year-old Salt Lake climber Sami Singleton, who faced Tolson, 23, in the semifinal round.
Singleton made a strong run through the early competition, beating Nina Williams, a notable boulderer, in the quarterfinals, but Singleton lost after her foot slipped off the hardest portion of the route, causing her to fall awkwardly into the pool on her back from more than halfway up the 50-foot wall.
“I think my shoe was wet, maybe, because I had to go so soon after my (previous) climb,” Singleton said. “So I was still dripping wet. I didn’t see it coming at all. I felt really good, then all of a sudden I was in the air and I was like, ‘Oh, this is going to hurt.’”
That left Tolson and Delaney Miller, a talented climber out of Texas and a previous Psicobloc competitor, in the finals. Tolson beat Miller to the top by a few feet.
Tolson said she had an advantage over her competition because she earned the first seed, and didn’t have to top out against early opponents, as Miller and Singleton did.
For her success, Tolson received a $5,000 cash prize and a large glass trophy.
“I think it’s the coolest thing I’ve ever won,” she said of the trophy. “I think it’s going to go by my bed.”
She said the trophy would stand beside a select group of prizes, along with some spaces Tolson said she is keeping open for her collegiate climbing career. She founded Gonzaga University’s climbing team, and placed eighth in bouldering while representing the Zags at the University World Championship in Bratislava, Slovakia this year.
As strong as the competition was on Saturday, Tolson said there were a handful of strong competitors that weren’t able to attend.
“Claire Birdfine wasn’t here, nor was Kyla (Condi) or Micaela (Kiersch), and Alex (Puccio) isn’t here, so there have been some amazing girls coming to these comps,” Tolson said.
Williams, who has attended every Psicobloc at the UOP, said those competitors were double booked with events like family vacations or weddings.
“Hopefully, they will keep coming, and I’ll get to compete with them,” Tolson said.
The Youth Sports Alliance will host a team scramble golf tournament on June 3 at Victory Ranch in hopes of raising funds for its scholarships and youth programs.