VAIL, Colo. -- Sizing up the field at the IFSC Bouldering World Cup at the Teva Mountain Games in Vail, Sierra Blair-Coyle could tell that the women's competition would be anything but a cakewalk.
"I've never seen so many talented people in one place," Blair-Coyle said. "I knew it was going to be a super-tough competition."
The youngest qualifier in the women's field, 16-year-old Blair-Coyle ended up finishing in the top half - 18th out of 34 - and said afterward that she has no regrets about her showing.
"I am happy with how I performed," Blair-Coyle said. "I know that I could not have done any better."
Chloe Graftiaux of Belgium won the women's competition, with Alex Puccio and Alex Johnson ranking as the top U.S. women's finishers in fourth and fifth place, respectively. The second-youngest female competitor, U.S. climber Francesca Metcalf, placed 12th.
Whoever set the women's problems may have been a bit too ambitious; not a single competitor topped out on Problem 4 - which required a near-dyno off a heel-hook at the top - and even the strongest climbers suffered falls on features such as the arete on Problem 1 and the corner on Problem 2.
Blair-Coyle acknowledged that the World Cup problems were exceptionally challenging.
"I don't think they necessarily played to my strengths," Blair-Coyle said. "I've never seen that style of setting before; I'm used to more dynamic problems, and these were more static."
The elite level of competition opened Blair-Coyle's eyes in one aspect: She has a renewed sense of the training required to perform better at similar events in the future.
"I'm going to have to train really hard if I want to beat the best climbers in the world," Blair-Coyle said. "I need to get my core a lot stronger. I climb dynamically for the most part, but on problems like those [at the World Cup], I need to go slower. And the stronger you are, the easier it is to go slower."
Texas native Daniel Woods won the men's competition, with Hori Tsukuru of Japan finishing second and Kilian Fischhuber of Australia coming in third.