In front of the backdrop of the Pacific coastal mountains, Richmond’s Olympic Oval buzzed with excitement as the stands quickly filled and Canada West’s teams hit the floor, ready to rumble.
Success on the first team event hung on the muscle-ups. Unlike last year’s regional events, this year there are no minimum work requirements. With multiple teams failing at least three muscle-up attempts, only two teams—Team Taranis and the Centaurs—finished the event under the time cap.
“The new format changes everything,” said Tricia Persson of ALPHA PURE Fitness. “You can’t hide any weaknesses.”
While CrossFit West10 appeared to take the first heat, with all members stepping onto the finish mat first, CrossFit Lineage finished with a better score due to the penalties.
In Heat 2, the crowd roared as Lisa Briggs of Team Hybrid finished her last clean and jerk and sprinted toward the finish line, reaching the mat less than a second before the time cap.
“It felt amazing,” she said. “It made me push harder than I’ve ever pushed before. I purposely failed the last muscle-up just so we could finish."
But the story of Event 1 was the battle between Taranis and the Centaurs. Both were Games qualifiers last year, and both have a lot of pressure on them to not make this year any different.
After spending the first five minutes in a dead heat, Taranis began to slowly pull away and gradually pulled ahead thanks to heart and guts.
Their strategy going into the event was to put the best movers first and the worst movers last.
“We feel the pressure every year, because we are the ‘favorite’ here,” said Andrew Roodbol of Taranis. “We knew this workout was a good one for us, so the goal was to go out there and destroy it.”
“I’m glad that (event) is behind us,” said Delaina Snider of the Centaurs, who opted to go team after finishing first in Canada West in the Open. “It was the one we wanted out of the way. We’re ready to move forward.”
Event 1 Results
1. Team Taranis (9:29)
2. The Centaurs (14:39)
3. CrossFit 604 (16:04)
The heavy lifters and gymnasts shone through in Events 2 and 3.
In Heat 2, Synergy Strength performed consistently, hitting 140 lb. on the women’s side and 225 lb. on the men’s.
“Our box focuses a lot on strength and Olympic lifting, so we knew our numbers going in, and the goal was to hit those numbers,” said Valarie Perry, who snatched 140 lb.
Team Taranis and the Centaurs were all business when it came to the hang snatches, fighting neck-and-neck as the weights piled onto the barbells. Ending in dramatic fashion, Kurt Baker from the Centaurs and Matt Hilton from Taranis approached their 255-lb. bars side by side with only 30 seconds remaining. In complete synchrony, the two attempted the lift.
Baker was successful. Hilton wasn’t.
“I have more in the tank,” Baker said.
“Two-hundred-twenty-five wasn’t supposed to be my number—245 was,” Hilton said. “I can do 245 all day, any day. But all of the weight was on the women’s bar, and we only had 30 seconds left for one more lift, so I just went for it and lost it forward.”
West10 shone in Heat 1, achieving a combined score of 920 lb. and impressing the crowd with solid handstand walking skills. Their first athlete to reach the mat, walking the full 120 feet, was Naomi Fuglem, who displayed superb technique that got the crowd on their feet.
“I did gymnastics for 11 years, so I was so excited to see handstand walks as an event,” she said. “I kinda wish it had been an obstacle course!”
While some athletes, like Fuglem, made the 120 feet look easy, others failed early, and got out of their handstands creatively using somersaults, or even the worm. Michelle Watroba from CFC Crew received a standing ovation for her cartwheel-dismount to the finishing mat.
As the competition continues, Taranis and the Centaurs will continue to battle for the top spot, with CrossFit 604 and Studeo 55 on their heels, vying for a Games qualifying position.
Event 2 Results
1. Team Taranis (1020)
2. The Centaurs (985)
3. CrossFit Brio – Knucks (940)
Event 3 Results
1. The Centaurs (460)
2. CrossFit 604 (375)
3. Team Taranis (370)
1. Team Taranis (5)
2. The Centaurs (5)
3. CrossFit 604 (12)