Madison hosts Youth American Bouldering National Championships - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Madison hosts Youth American Bouldering National Championships

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MADISON (WKOW) -- With every grip, a climber gets one step closer to its goal of getting to the top. A priceless prize for any young climber.

"It's like yes! It's kind of like it's over but you want to keep going because you're having so much fun," 12-year old Innis Gallagher of Massachusetts said.

365 of the country's top bouldering athletes from ages 7 to 18 were in Madison over the weekend for the American Bouldering National Championships at the Monona Terrace.

Every kid had its own strategy to attack the climb, but none more unique than 12-year old Sami Singleton of Salt Lake City.

"I kind of picture myself doing the climb and I shake my hands up and down like this to de-pump. It gets the bad blood out and the good blood in," Singleton said.

"I really like boulder nationals because it kind of feels like you're on a stage almost, with the lighting and everything and you get a crowd to watch you do what you love."

There were five types of walls at the event, each with different degrees of difficulty.

"I make sure I'm calm and then I go through sequencing the climb. You have to be like this is an easy climb, I can get through this, I can really get through this," Gallagher said.

Many climbers fall, some make it to the top, but they all gained a grasp of the emotions that come with competition here early in their lives.

"Learning to deal with failure at a younger age is better," nine-time bouldering national champion Alex Puccio said, who is also a youth bouldering coach.

"You have to be as great of a loser as you are a winner. If you deal with that at a younger age you'll be able to mentally deal with it better as you get older."

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