The Midwest Parkour League started its 2019 season strong with a rollercoaster of a competition hosted by Swift Movement Studio in Cincinnati on April 13. Sixteen competitors took to the floor to compete in Skill, Speed, and Style events.

The Skill event was a single round skill jam with athletes striving to complete increasingly difficult challenges in different movement categories. The categories were Strides/Precisions, Vaults, Bar Work, and Wall / Cat Hang challenges. In the Men’s division, Ethan Guzman (Swift Movement) fell into third place. Ian Christenson (FAITH freerunning) took second, only one point behind APK Ambassador Christian Whitworth (Parkour Horizons) who managed to secure first place by executing a Dash Vault, Lazy Vault to Cat challenge.

APK Ambassador Christian Whitworth takes first place in the Skills event

The Speed event consisted of two courses, with athletes given a single attempt at each course. Both courses were well designed with plenty of height variation and decision making elements. A particularly exciting event to watch, spectators witnessed several bails, chased by excellent parkour ukemi.

Caleb Craig (Toledo Parkour) stumbled on a top out and, while falling forward, was able to execute a front flip. He landed so well, the fall perhaps hardly affected his time. Christian Nossokoff (Clutchline Freerunning) lost his footing on a bar stride at height and took what looked to be a nasty spill. However, he was up and finishing the course before anyone was able to even get to him. Ethan Guzman executed two very clean and strategic runs on the speed courses and secured the top spot on the podium, followed by Logan Piner (Ominous Freerun) in 2nd, and Noah Brown (Swift Movement) in 3rd. This is Noah Brown’s first season competing in the Men’s Division. At only fifteen years old, Noah is definitely an athlete to keep an eye on.

One of the most interesting events in an amateur league competition like those hosted by the MPL, is the Style event. Often times, we’re watching young athletes with little experience competing and a fairly limited number of tricks at their disposal. This forces competitors to really try to max out their creativity points to help their overall score. This was exactly the case at the Swift competition. Athletes like Michael Cruz (Parkour Horizons) and Caleb Craig played with unique air forms in their tricks. Mike Atchley (Ominous Freerun) really went for the “wow factor” with a huge drop sideflip.

However, Ethan Guzman and Ian Christenson seemed most likely to take the podium. Ethan’s first run brought him to the bar section, where he seemed comfortable and delivered his most difficult trick of the run; a cast 180 mount, leading into a toeshoot to trap door. Ian started his run explosively, with a gargoyle sideflip right off the bat. The run was very clean and surely would have scored well if things hadn’t gone awry: in what may have been the last trick of the run, Ian sent a Frog Gainer, but didn’t create quite enough distance between his head, and the takeoff surface. He was out cold before he hit the floor. Fortunately, he is feeling much better now and plans to compete at Swift Movement Studio again for the Sport Parkour League qualifier on May 4th-5th. Ethan placed first, followed by Mike Atchley and then Michael Cruz.

The next leg of the Midwest Parkour League will take place on April 27th at another APK Affiliate: Kentuckiana Parkour near Louisville. See you there!

For more information about competitions and events, visit the Midwest Parkour League on Instagram and on its website