Following a day which saw event record after event record fall, the final competition promised to be even more exciting with a large number of competitors well-placed to vie for a top-three finish in both the men's and women's divisions.
In the team competition, there was no question in the crowd's mind; CrossFit Athletic, Tropic Thunder and CrossFit Active would all be returning to the Games in 2014, barring a disaster in the final two events. The top three teams would not be complacent however; with only seven points separating the trio, the qualifying order was still very much open. Events 7 and 8 would decide which team would take the top place on the podium as the 2014 Australia Regional champions.
More than 20 points separated third place and the rest of the field with Reebok CrossFit Frankston in fourth place overall with 41 points and two-time regional champions, Schwartzs CrossFit Melbourne, sitting with 44 points in fifth.
While all the teams have been very popular, the crowd had extra reason to hope that a major upset did not affect the CrossFit Active team. With Games athlete Chad Mackay struggling in the individual competition, it appeared his only chance to compete at the Games would be as part of a CrossFit Active team.
Grit and determination would prove the deciding factor for the teams in Event 7. The teams would move across the floor in pairs completing a 500-m row with 125 double-unders, 50 deadlifts and 50 toes-to-bars. The final two movements required pairs to share the work with the resting partner to hold the bar/hang from the bar while their partner performed the set work.
It was all about the Orange Army in the final heat, with CrossFit Active Units and CrossFit Active both finishing inside the event record of 15:45 set in Canada West in Week 1.
Active Units hit the mat at 15:25 to take out the event, just one second ahead of their affiliate rival.
Twenty-seven teams from the Australia Region completed the event inside the time cap, on par with North Central from last weekend.
While double-unders tripped a few athletes up, it came down to who could hold on the longest and block out the pain.
Heat 1 put on a good showing in Event 7, with eight teams completing the event and the top finishers, CrossFit Central Wellington, hitting the finish mat in an impressive 17:01.
As expected, Heat 2 upped the pace with the first team, CrossFit Brisbane finishing in 16:30.
Only one team was unable to complete the event with the final pair from CrossFit Geelong failing to get off the deadlifts in time.
The crowd’s early morning fatigue had vanished by the time the final heat came along with an epic race to the finish for four teams.
CrossFit Athletic’s first pair was the first to finish the three couplets, but CrossFit Active Units went about their business in lane two to take the lead by the final pair.
The heavy deadlift took its toll on some of the women, but the female athletes from CrossFit Active Units appeared to have no trouble moving the 185-lb. bar and it proved to be the difference.
The last pair moved to the rig first with Tropic Thunder and CrossFit Athletic chasing hard.
The big surprise was CrossFit Active, which was the last of the top four to the rig but their fast toes-to-bars saw them overtake Tropic Thunder and Athletic to sneak into second place overall, a mere second behind the overall winner Active Units.
The two Active teams broke the current event record with CrossFit Athletic and Tropic Thunder also posting some of the fastest times in the world so far, as they tied for third in the heat in a time of 15:48.
Melissa Hill from Tropic Thunder said the team was glad to be done with the event.
“Completely relieved that it’s over. It was the workout we’ve practice the most probably and its bit of a long slog, so I think we are glad that it's over and we are pretty happy with how that went,” she said.
Despite a no-rep on their final five toes-to-bars, Active Units secured the event record in a time of 15:25.
CrossFit Active hit the mat one second later and the team is focused on taking first place overall on the Leaderboard with one event remaining.
“We want the No. 1 spot. That’s what we’re thinking about,” team member Dan Lewis said.
Event 7 Results
1. CrossFit Active Units (15:25)
2. CrossFit Active (15:26)
3. Southern CrossFit - Green (15:39)
With their forearms still burning from Event 7, the teams stepped up for the final event of the weekend. For the top teams, Event 8 would be a fast and furious race as each team member completed 49 pull-ups and seven heavy overhead squats in relay style.
CrossFit Athletic demolished the previous record of 12:28 by finishing in a time of 11:12.
The couplet was always going to bring the early teams undone and no team in Heat 1 was able to get the work done inside the 16-minute time cap.
In Week 1 of the regional competition, only 13 teams worldwide had been able to finish the event and it would prove just as difficult for the Australia Region with just three teams finishing inside the cap.
In Heat 1, CrossFit Horizons gave it a good shot with their final female well into her pull-ups when the buzzer sounded.
Heat 2 started with a phenomenal individual performance from the first male athlete with Daniel Tinitali from CrossFit Geelong completing the couplet in 1:48.
The 185-lb. overhead squat looked like an air squat for Tinitali who squat snatched it before bouncing up and down without issue, but the plan wasn’t to go quite so quick.
“The tactic was to just try and survive the pull-ups,” he said. “I didn't want my forearms to blow out, especially after yesterday, which was so forearm heavy. Once I reached the squats I knew some of the other guys might struggle with that weight.”
But still, no Australian team had made it under the cap, despite CrossFit Boss making a hard run with their last athlete holding onto the rig for dear life.
Coming into the final heat of the day, CrossFit Athletic, CrossFit Active and Tropic Thunder had all but secured their podium finishes, but the fight was still on for who would sit where, and make no mistake, all three teams had their eyes on the top spot.
From the first pull-up CrossFit Athletic was on pace to break the event record with each of their athletes increasing the gap.
Their first athlete, Kurt Foggo hit the mat in a time of 1:35 to record the fastest individual performance of the day.
“I went a little bit faster than in training,” Foggo said. “I just wanted to do the exact same as I did at training, just break up the pull-ups, then unbroken in the overheads.”
From that point on, every athlete would complete the couplet in less than two minutes for a final time of 11:12, more than a minute inside the previous event record.
The couplet was never going to be a problem for the team, with all six athletes putting on an impressive show in the hang squat snatch on Day 1.
All eyes were on CrossFit Athletic’s final female competitor, Sammy Wood, when she hit the rig. Wood completed all 49 pull-ups unbroken and then squat snatched the barbell to complete her overhead squats unbroken.
Her triumphant race to the finish was only interrupted by a single no-rep on the squats.
“I wanted to do it, bring our team home, so give us the best possibility of making it to the USA,” Wood said.
While CrossFit Athletic was the standout performer, CrossFit Active gave a tireless chase to also finish inside the previous event record and seal their ticket back to Carson, California.
“Nothing is ever taken for granted. We're just happy to have made it to the end of the weekend. Everyone performed well so we're stoked,” Luke Starr said. “A big reason we have been able to get here is because we have our two other teams pushing us hard, and the support of the whole gym. We wouldn't be here without them.”
The top two teams finished more than two minutes in front of third place Schwartzs CrossFit Melbourne to stamp their authority on the competition.
Despite struggling slightly in Event 8, Tropic Thunder also secured their ticket back to the CrossFit Games for the first time since 2012 and Kate Wade said the team was ecstatic.
“It didn’t go 100 percent to plan, but credit to the team, we just kept at it, we had faith in each other and we pushed along, and we just missed finishing it, but hey, we’re still happy. We had a good finish so couldn’t be happier,” she said. “We all had pretty high hopes this weekend, but we could have never imagined it turning out the way it did.”
For the first time since 2011, Schwartzs CrossFit Melbourne will not make the trip to the CrossFit Games.
Event 8 Results
1. CrossFit Athletic (11:12)
2. CrossFit Active (11:55)
3. Schwartzs CrossFit Melbourne (14:11)
Games Qualifying Teams
1. CrossFit Athletic
2. CrossFit Active
3. Tropic Thunder
Three teams will head to Carson, California for the 2014 Reebok CrossFit Games in July. CrossFit Athletic, CrossFit Active and Tropic Thunder asserted their dominance from Event 1 rotating places on the podium from event to event.
CrossFit Athletic emerged victorious to claim the title of 2014 Australia Regional champions. The team won two events outright and did not finish below fourth place across the entire weekend.
One of the biggest disappointments of the weekend fell to Schwartzs CrossFit Melbourne. The team started the regional as favorites, however they quickly slipped out of contention and finished in sixth place, 42 points behind the champions.