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Bartow hangs a hat trick
By Guy Clifton
Great Outdoor Games staff

RENO, Nev. — If Brian Bartow was concerned about defending his title in the Speed Climbing at the ESPN Great Outdoor Games, it didn't show in his demeanor or his actions.

On a hot Saturday at Reno's Rancho San Rafael Park, Bartow, of Grants Pass, Ore., was the coolest customer on the grounds, completing three flawless runs under 14 seconds to claim his third consecutive Great Outdoor Games gold in Speed Climbing.

That included a Great Outdoor Games record run of 13.21 seconds in the gold medal match against 2000 gold medal winner Wade Stewart of Parksville, British Columbia, Canada. Stewart, who took the silver last year, had a time of 13.76.

"It feels good," the 23-year-old Bartow said. "I'm feeling good. I had a good climb. I was fortunate to not have any slips. I'm happy."

Brian Bartow (left) & Wade Stewart
Brian Bartow (left) defeated Wade Stewart to win his third consecutive Games gold in the Speed Climb.
With his trademark ponytail and his colored-bead necklace, Bartow was the crowd favorite throughout the competition. He defeated Sean Duffy in the opening round with a run of 13.64 seconds to Duffy's 14.13. In the semifinals, Bartow defeated eventual bronze medallist Bryan Schulz of Silverdale, Wash., 13.60 to 14.43.

"You've just got to give it all you've got and push yourself," Bartow said. "I just tried to stay relaxed and do what I had to do."

Stewart advanced to the gold medal match after his semifinal opponent, Brian Linville of Winlock, Wash., received a 15-second penalty for not making a touch on the first section of the tree during his descent. Climbers are required to make at least one touch on each of the three sections of the tree on the way down.

Stewart finished in 14.106 and Linville, because of the penalty, had a time of 29.022.

"It's unfortunate for Brian," Stewart said. "I'm glad that I could advance, but it's unfortunate for him."

Schulz won the bronze medal by defeating Linville 13.74 seconds to 14.48. "Being under 14, I must have done something right," Schulz said. "It works for me."

Final Results — Speed Climbing

1. Brian Bartow, Grants Pass, Ore.
2. Wade Stewart, Parksville, British Columbia
3. Bryan Schulz, Silverdale, Wash.
4. Brian Linville, Winlock, Wash.
5. Guy German, Columbus, Neb.
6. Dustin Beckwith, Hayward, Wis.
7. Tony Bush, Kalispell, Mont.
8. Sean Duffy, Ashland, Wis.