The Canada West Regional is over, and the Games representatives have been selected.
Of the individuals, three of the four are going to the Home Depot Center for the second year in a row: Jeremy Meredith, Lucas Parker and Angie Pye. The second women’s spot went to Heather Gillespie. For the teams, CrossFit Taranis will once again represent Canada West, with CrossFit Fraser Valley Centaurs as backup.
In Event 5, double-unders were a non-issue for all top athletes, and the final men ran deep into the sea of barbells.
As expected, Jeremy Meredith and Lucas Parker moved the bars with efficiency and were the only two lifters working above 245. Parker hit 265 and 10 un-needed doubles, while Meredith, working one bar behind Parker, snatched 255 and pitched in 17 doubles because he was unsure if any but Parker had made the lift. Tyson Takasaki was 3rd with 245 and 37 doubles.
The overall standings before Event 6 were Meredith in 1st (9 points), Parker in 2nd (11 points), and Steve Howell in 3rd (26 points).
In Workout 6, it was unlikely that anyone would catch Meredith and Parker, but Howell wasn’t going to leave anything in the tank. He led the workout from start to finish and won in 15:30. He was very quick on all the gymnastics movements, and he maintained a steady pace on the burpee box jumps. He was one of only three men to finish the reps. Michael FitzGerald was 2nd in 16:22, and Lucas Parker finished in 16:37.
Meredith was still holding dumbbells during the last farmer carry when time expired, but he ignored the buzzer and finished the walk and the remaining muscle-ups anyway for an off-the-clock and unofficial time of 17:30. His official mark was 17:04 (4 reps incomplete). Meredith at one point was down to singles on toes-to-bars, but he had no problem pounding out the heavy deadlifts or repping out muscle-ups.
When the overall numbers were posted, Meredith was 1st with 13 points, Parker was 2nd with 14, and Howell was 3rd with 27.
Meredith is a man of few words, but was happy to be returning to California for a second straight year.
Parker was happy to be through a tough weekend of competition, but he actually thought 2011’s Regional might have taken more out of him.
“I remember feeling a lot worse after the 100s workout,” he says.
“It’s just so amazing, overwhelming,” he said of qualifying for the Games again. “Last year the plan was 25th, and I was 26th … This year I’m shooting for the top 12.”
Parker will also no doubt be looking forward to trash-talking Meredith, something he said he really enjoyed during the Regional.
A good number of Canada West ladies have snatch PRs more than 135, but few were able to get deep into the run of bars ranging from 105 to 185.
Janine Walinski and Heather Gillespie both got 140, but neither was able to get 145 nor add any double-unders to break the tie. They tied for 2nd in the event while Angie Pye hit 150 — her PR — to cheers in a lift that was pure gravy on the Leaderboard.
Overall after Event 5, Pye was 1st with 11 points, Emily Beers was 2nd with 18 points and Heather Gillespie was 3rd with 20 points.
As is often the case, it came down to muscle-ups in final workout. Third place athlete Heather Gillespie had them in bunches and fought with Angie Pye all the way through the event.
Gillespie was very fast on the rings and deadlifts, finishing the second round under three minutes. She failed on her last muscle-up in the final round, but still finished the deadlift/muscle-up couplet under six minutes. Pye was slower on the rings, but made up ground on the wall-balls and toes-to-bars, and she was the first to lug the heavy dumbbells to the burpee box jumps. Gillespie wasn’t far behind but wasn’t able to overtake Pye when time was called at 17 minutes.
Pye was first with a time of 17:10 (time cap plus remaining reps), leaving a few box jumps, one farmer carry and three muscle-ups on the table. Gillespie was 2nd (17:21), and Chelsea Miller was 3rd (17:29).
Pye’s win was her second of the competition and the day, and she posted only 12 total points in securing a return trip to the Games. Gillespie’s performance gave her a huge boost, and her 22 points pushed her well past Emily Beers and into the second Games spot. Beers, a fantastic competitor who wasn’t able to get through all the muscle-ups, finished 3rd with 27 points.
Pye had worked on the final event earlier in the week, but she said it was a lot easier when it wasn’t at the end of a three-day competition.
“I knew it would be long and tortuous, but the muscle-ups didn’t go great … Not a lot of power in the old kip,” she explained.
Pye is a fierce competitor, but always the first to cheer on her fellow competitors and give them credit for pushing her further. That was certainly the case this weekend, where she didn’t win an event until Day 3.
“It’s kind of surreal,” she said of earning another trip to the Games. “This has been such a hard weekend … really heavy hard events. I didn’t win many … all of these girls got me stressing out.”
Gillespie was one of the ones pushing Pye the hardest, and the athlete from CrossFit Lethbridge was overjoyed to find out she had finally earned a spot in the Games.
“It’s just unbelievable to me,” she said. “I’m sure it will settle in, in a while.”
Gillespie, who does her own programming and is her own coach, has had to change her plans now that she’s headed to the Home Depot Center.
“It’s more training. I was going to take some time off, but now I can’t do that,” she said with a huge smile.
Gillespie battled an illness during the Open and didn’t expect to be able to compete in Regionals. Her status was up in the air up until about a month ago when she felt good enough to commit to the Canada West event. Gillespie was 19th at the Canada Regional in 2010, and she was 3rd in 2011 at the Canada West Regional. This year, she’ll be a CrossFit Games competitor.
Pye, a top 10 Games competitor in 2011, will no doubt be looking to try and make the podium in her second appearance at the Home Depot Center.
CrossFit is about all-around athletes, and while you can hide a few specialists from some team events not requiring participation by all members, Workout 5 forced all teammates to enter the snatch ladder. Some teams had almost all their athletes bail out on the first few bars, while some of the stronger squads sent several good lifters deep into the ladder.
Rachel Siemens of Team Taranis who stole the show and helped bring her squad back into contention. With a previous PR of 154, Siemens boosted 155, 160 and 165 before finally capping out and missing 170.
Once the women’s and men’s loads were totaled, CrossFit Fraser Valley Centaurs were in first with 1,040 pounds Synergy Strength was second with 990 pounds. Siemens and Team Taranis pulled 980 pounds and were tied for 3rd with Reebok CrossFit 306.
Overall, the Centaurs were in 1st with 15 points, Team Taranis was 2nd with 21, and Synergy Strength was 3rd (via tiebreaker) with 21.
In Event 6, a long, challenging event packed with variety and requiring lots of teamwork, the Taranis crew led from start to finish. Many of the women struggled with the muscle-ups, which even affected Siemens, who’s known for her skill on the rings. Siemens pitched awkwardly through the rings at least twice, but recovered to bang out more reps.
She said the width of the rings threw her off as she usually braces herself on the straps. Luckily, she’s a former contortionist and hand balancer in the Underground Circus, and she was fine with the awkward and accidental dismounts.
“That’s where the circus comes in,” she said.
Taranis was uncatchable as their women owned the rings, and they finished in 17:43. CrossFit B.C. was 2nd in 18:39, and CFNV Black was 3rd in 24:15. With the win, Team Taranis secured a spot in the CrossFit Games for the second year in a row, where they’ll try to make the podium again.
The Fraser Valley Centaurs, also from B.C., were unable to complete the muscle-ups and finished 10th. That deficiency nearly cost them a spot at the Games, but they had built up enough of a lead to hang onto 2nd.
The final overall standings are Team Taranis in 1st (22 points), CrossFit Fraser Valley Centaurs in 2nd (25 points), and Synergy Strength 3rd (26 points).
When asked right after the event how it felt to be going back to the Games, Siemens was taken aback as the official scores hadn’t been posted and she hadn’t done the math.
“We’re going back to California again? It feels great! Whoo!”
The Regional roster was rounded out by Matt Hilton, Paul Lance, Andrew Roodbol, Alex Piller, Sean Janzer, Myriam Barreda, Cindy Jantzen. The Centaurs were represented by Mark Cassibo, Nate Beveridge, Rob Perovich, Karolina Pawlak, Kelly Toth, Leah Goddard and Ruthi Unaegbu.
B.C. has always been a stronghold for CrossFit in Canada West, and athletes from the Pacific province took both team spots and three of the four individual spots this year. But the rest of Canada West is quickly getting stronger, and overall the talent pool in the region is increasing rapidly. That’s good news for the region, and for the Sport of Fitness in the Great White North.