As the clouds finally cleared in Richmond, the best athletes in Canada West shone through.
The team race in the final heat was tight. With one event left, the top three were separated by only 10 points, with the Centaurs in first, Team Taranis in second and CFC Crew in third.
The Centaurs took an early lead, and demonstrated why they dominated the weekend from beginning to end, finishing in 15:40.
The CFC Crew did everything they could to earn a ticket to the Games. Chelsea Miller sprinted through her share of the work. They were second to hit the pad in 16:21.
This presented an opportunity for Taranis to earn – or lose – their second-place spot. If Taranis finished in sixth or lower, they’d be tied with CFC for second. Both teams had won an event, and finished second twice, but CFC had more third-place finishes, and would thereby win a tiebreaker.
While CFC Crew waited on their finishing mats, CrossFit 604 crossed the line at 17:01. Then came CrossFit 204 at 19:27.
Finally, Taranis finished in dramatic fashion in 19:42, securing second place overall by a single point.
“We feel great! This is the fourth year in a row of going to the Games for us, which is awesome,” said Andrew Roodbol of Taranis.
The Centaurs will also be making a return trip.
“We are very, very excited. Last year, we came in second, which was amazing, but obviously we are here to win it,” said Ruthie Unaegbu of the Fraser Valley Centaurs. “We expect a lot of running at the Games, so now it’s back to the training. But first, we’ll celebrate with ice cream!”
CrossFit Calgary Crew won’t be going to the Games, despite a hard effort, especially at the end of the weekend.
“We are disappointed about missing second place so closely. It came down to the last workout, and that was hard. We are happy for the two best teams going, and we believe they deserve to go,” Brett Marshall said.
Canada West will once again send the Centaurs and Team Taranis to the Games.
1. The Centaurs – 15:40
2. CFC Calgary – 16:21
3. CrossFit 604 – 17:01
1. The Centaurs – 14 points
2. Team Taranis – 24 points
If Gillespie won Event 7, she would win the Regional. If Light won, she would take the title.
Gillespie set an early lead on the rope climbs, demonstrating a fluid efficiency that no one could match. Her slight, athletic build held up under the heavy cleans, and she jogged back and forth between the rope and the barbell, slowly pulling away from all others. Alissa Flynn tried to keep pace, but her strength on the clean wasn’t enough on its own.
Gillespie would hop on her marker at 4:53, followed by Flynn at 5:20. Light would finish a low 12th — her worst of the weekend — but her lead over Erica Livett in third would survive, sending her to Carson, Calif., as the second-best in Canada West.
Gillespie had predicted that Sunday would be her best day after Event Five.
“I loved this event. Rope climbs are like resting for me, so that was awesome,” Gillespie said.
2013 will see both an experienced Games athlete and a relative newcomer represent Canada West in Carson.
“People call me ‘deuce,’ because I always come in second,” Gillespie said. “So it’s great to be in first.”
Light was elated with her second-place finish.
“Did I anticipate taking second? Fuck no. I’m really stoked and I just want to do the happy dance now. I’m beyond thrilled,” Light said.
1. Heather Gillespie – 4:53
2. Alissa Flynn – 5:20
3. Whitney Darchuk – 5:39
1. Heather Gillespie – 30 points
2. Erin Light – 42 points
With first and second in the region almost certain, Event 7 could have been anticlimactic in Canada West.
In the men's second heat, Brett Shillington linked all of his squat cleans with a touch-and-go technique, ending in 5:33.
“That even was awesome – I loved it. It’s such a short workout, so you don’t have time to think about the pain,” Shillington said.
The final men's heat was greeted by a mob of fans and a wall of noise. DJ Wickham, two-time Games athlete, led after the first round of rope climbs and squat cleans. Tyson Takasaki followed. Parker trailed with the pack.
But Parker was waiting. On the second set of squat cleans, he began to build speed, running between stations and closing the gap with the leaders. He caught Takasaki, and then went unbroken on his third set of squat cleans. Running back to the rope, he passed Wickham. When he returned to the bar, he was in first place for good, and looked strong enough to run all the way to Carson.
Parker had accolades for the programmers after the weekend’s events were done.
“This year, it was just tiring," Parker said. "It was a very pulling intense weekend with a lot of ripped hands. The Games programmers just keep making the events better and better."
Canada West will send both a 2012 Games athlete and a first-time qualifier to California.
Parker was happy with his first-place finish, but was staying calm.
“I’m still letting everything sink in,” he said. “It’s not my first rodeo, so I’m not all overwhelmed with emotion. I plan to take a week off to heal and then train for my Games goal.”
It will be Takasaki’s first rodeo. He’s excited.
“Going to the Games? It feels amazing. So many emotions right now,” he admitted. “Compared to last year’s Regionals, this one was polar opposite — training, diet and preparation, and even training partners. I made a lot of rookie mistakes last year, so I cleaned it all up and it worked.”
1. Lucas Parker – 4:24
2. DJ Wickham – 4:36
3. Michael Fitzgerald – 4:40
1. Lucas Parker – 15 points
2. Tyson Takasaki – 29 points