The past two days, and no doubt the nights' activities, appeared to take their toll on the crowd. The spectators walked into the WIN Stadium weary-eyed for the third and final day of the 2013 Australia Regional.
But soon, the athletes transformed the grandstand into a buzzing frenzy as they faced double-unders, handstand push-ups, toes-to-bar, shoulder-to-overhead, and an axle-weighted walking lunge for Event 6.
After completing hundreds of reps in one workout alone on Day 2, the end must have felt achingly close for the competitors, but the work was far from over. Event 6 would not only demand speed on the body-weight exercises, but it would also require brute strength on the walking lunges.
The team division paved the way for the individual athletes as they started the day with members ripping through 100 double-unders. Schwarz’s CrossFit Melbourne prevented CrossFit Active from winning three events in a row by posting the best time for the workout.
It was the usual top finishers in the women’s division with Kara Webb increasing her lead at the top of the Leaderboard with a come from behind victory over Pip Malone.
The men’s division also had a come from behind win, with Rob Forte overtaking Brent Fikowski in the lunges to claim the overall lead.
Event 6 favoured the lighter men with the handstand push-ups and toes-to-bar setting them up with a lead that proved hard to catch, despite the big men putting on an outstanding show once they hit the barbell.
Heat 1 was decided the minute the men took to the toes-to-bar with lightweights Josh Bromley and Joseph Reweti taking to the bar long before their more heavy-set competitors, creating a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Rewetei’s weightlifting background saw him make up considerable ground on the shoulder-to-overheads, however, once Bromley started on the lunges he broke away to win by almost a minute in a time of 11:42 with Rewetei hitting the mat at 12:31.
“I just focused on what I was doing and ignored the crowd and what my other competitors were up to,” Bromley said.
Lavanda finished strongly, stepping onto the mat one second before the buzzer sounded after consistently pushing out lunges over the final 30 feet.
Heat 2 proved harder to call with Zach Morton-Adair taking an early lead before Dan Williams pulled in front during the shoulder to overheads. Anthony Baker made an outstanding comeback over the lunges, chasing Williams down with unbroken reps as he struggled to get back onto the bar. Williams held on to win in a time of 12:31 with Baker only one second behind.
“I gave myself a couple of seconds before starting the lunges. I set it in my head not to drop the barbell. I got to the halfway line and it didn’t feel too bad so I kept going,” Baker said.
Matt Reilly finished strongly to claim third place after being one of the last athletes off the rig.
Heat 3 saw Australia Regional veterans Chris and Keiran Hogan go rep for rep, and lunge to the finish. However, it was Dean Linder Leighton and Mahdi Te Heu Heu who stole the show. Linder Leighton moved calmly through the chipper before taking an early lead on the lunges to finish almost a minute ahead of Te Heu Heu in a time of 11:49.
Te Heu Heu dominated the walking lunges, speeding through them unbroken to pass the Hogan brothers and finish in a time of 12:30.
“On the lunges I could see the finish line, it’s easier when there’s nothing on the other side! Just have to hold on and keep going, I knew I had people on my heels,” Te Heu Heu said.
Heat 4 saw the lead constantly shift with Brandon Swan going out hard and then fading in the lunges. Brent Fikowski and Rob Forte raced down the 90 feet of the lunges with Fikowski narrowly in the lead before being forced to do one last rep after dropping the bar due to his heel not being completely over the line. This allowed Rob Forte to steal the win in a time of 9:46 with Fikowski completing his final rep just seconds later.
“I knew I was going to go well in that event as it has my strong points – handstands and toes to bar are my strongest gymnastics movements. I knew if I was up front on the heavy shoulder-to-overhead I’d be in a good position. I think I clawed some points back and that puts me up to third overall now,” Swan said.
Chad Mackay was incredibly strong over the lunges going unbroken faster than anyone else; however, he was slower on the body weight movements early and wasn’t able to catch up the lead group before the finish line.
“In my mind I had a game plan set – break up the handstands, break up the toes to bar into manageable pieces of work. I knew I wasn’t gong to be first off the handstands, but I was telling myself it didn’t matter because I had a game plan,” Mackay said.
“I did a set of 10 on the shoulder-to-overhead and on the lunges I just didn’t want to stop. I was about halfway when the boys were at the end – I could see them and thought ‘I’m not going to put this down’. From halfway I kind of didn’t feel my legs and just went for it.”
1. Rob Forte (9:45)
2. Brent Fikowski (9:47)
3. Brandon Swan (9:56)
So far in the 2013 Regional competitions, the chipper event has separated teams worldwide with the shoulder-to-overhead bringing some unstuck. Many heats came down to which team can hold onto the bar the longest in the lunges. In Australia, the majority of teams failed to complete the workout inside the 15-minute time cap.
Heat 1 saw only two teams finish. CrossFit Western Front and CrossFit GCS both came from behind after being last to the barbells, flying through their shoulder-to-overheads and walking lunges to finish within a second of each other - CrossFit Western Front in 14:37 and CrossFit GCS in 14:38.
“We were confident in our ability. The new speed ropes and the plexi glass threw our rep scheme off a bit but once we got to the toes-to-bar we knew we could catch up,” Kate Patrick of Western Front said.
CrossFit New Zealand took control of heat 2, first onto every movement and finishing a minute and a half in front of second placed CrossFit Cronulla with a time of 12:22.
Schwartz's CrossFit Melbourne demonstrated serious class in heat 3 to finish the workout in 8:47 after being first onto every movement and completing the walking lunges unbroken – the only team in Australia to do so.
“[Despite] being an experienced Games athlete, I still haven’t mastered the ability to calm the nerves but it gives me the experience to know to keep going when things go to shit,” Schwartz’s Penny Kemp said.
“We work well together because we both have similar personalities: five year olds stuck in adult bodies,” fellow team member Jordan Bender added.
Schwartz’s were the first to the handstand push-ups and toes-to-bar and they continued their dominance into the shoulder-to-overhead with Kemp push-pressing the bar with ease.
Southern CrossFit managed an impressive second place, while CrossFit Active, who dominated Day 2, finished fourth in the Event to hold onto second spot on the overall Leaderboard.
“It was painful but it was fun. We wanted to do a little bit better. Our time was better than in training, but we hurt a lot more today,” team member Kim Pederson said.
Team Event 6
1. Schwartz’s CrossFit Melbourne (8:49)
2. Southern CrossFit (10:07)
3. CrossFit Athletic (10:52)
Ekaterina Tabakova and Carlie Hughes quickly established their dominance in heat 1 with Tabakova starting both the handstand push-ups and toes-to-bars in first place. The handstand push-ups challenged many of the athletes and quickly broke up the heat.
Hughes and Tabakova were alone on the lifting mats while the rest of the heat struggled back at the pull-up rig. Tabakova chose to split jerk in shoulder to overhead lifts but Hughes established a substantial lead progressing solidly through the 30 repetitions.
Garnering one of the loudest cheers of the weekend, the women lunged side by side for the finish line but Hughes couldn’t hold on and dropped the bar six-metres away from the line. Tabakova finished in 14:01 – the only woman in the first three heats to go unbroken.
“I wanted to stop but the beauty of competition is that another person is there for you to push you,” Tabakova said. “I am so grateful to her for being in front of me, for allowing me to chase her. That's what I love!"
Erin Gladstone was the first onto the toes-to-bar in heat 2 but was soon overtaken by birthday girl Lisa Menchetti who managed her work with fast sets of 5-10 toes to bar.
Menechetti increased her lead over Gladstone and Jaime Goodwin during the lifting and began her lunges around 10:30. Despite losing time at the pull up rig, Claire Fernandez, Megan Smith and Madeleine Jacques all moved quickly through the lifting and out onto the floor.
The trio couldn’t catch Menchetti and Gladstone who were the only two to finish in times of 12:35 and 14:49, respectively.
"Through the lunges I felt like giving up but I could hear the support of crowd at the far end and I just made my way towards them. It's so electrifying out there, I am just happy to be here and to finish that WOD under time," Gladstone said.
Heat 3 began with the entire field completing their double-unders and stepping up to the handstand push-ups fairly evenly.
Amy Alessi, the pocket rocket who has powered through the gymnastic style workouts so far this weekend, was predictably first to the both toes-to-bar and shoulder-to-overheads in the heat.
Alessi was first to the lifting mats establishing a 10-rep lead over Claire Fraser. Looking comfortable with weight, Fraser and Bailey Rogers were the first women to consistently cycle their shoulder to overhead lifts.
As Claire Fraser and Bailey Rogers closed in on her, Alessi picked up the pace, but she was unable to hold her lead, dropping the bar after only two metres allowing Fraser and Rogers to power ahead.
Rogers ended up finishing first in a time of 12:30, just seconds ahead of Fraser.
In the final heat, former gymnast and canoe slalom champion Pip Malone was on a mission to hold onto her top three placing on the Leaderboard and was the first to reach the shoulder-to-overheads.
However, "Big Dub" Kara Webb was in hot pursuit, with the former champ putting in a super human effort on the walking lunges to hit the finishing mat first in a time of 8:59, extending her lead to 16 points on top of the Leaderboard.
Second place went to Malone in 9:23, with five-time Regional competitor Amy Dracup third in 10:10.
Jessica Coughlan was the second competitor in all four heats to complete the lunges unbroken but confusion at the finish line saw her tie for fourth place with Amanda Allen.
“I was under instruction, you just have to keep going. I'm not sure who was coming up next to me but I knew I just had to keep going,” Allen said. “Once I dumped the bar I knew it was non-negotiable, I had to get it up and keep going.”
Allen now sits in fifth place overall, 10 points outside the Games qualification zone, needing a solid performance in the final event to break into the top three.
1. Kara Webb (8:57)
2. Pip Malone (9:23)
3. Amy Dracup (10:10)
After six events the overall team standings are as follows: Schwartz’s CrossFit Melbourne sits atop the Leaderboard (21 points). Eight points behind in second place is CrossFit Active (29 points) and CrossFit Horizons follow closely behind in third (31 points).
On the women’s side Kara Webb still dominates the competition in first place (13 points). Pip Malone moves into second place (29 points) and Ruth Anderson Horrell’s 8th place finish in Event 6 moved her down to third position (32 points).
In the men’s division Rob Forte pushes ahead of Mackay to convincingly claim the top spot (43 points). Chad Mackay sits just four points behind in second place (47 points) and Brandon Swan rounds out the top three for the first time of the weekend (55 points).