It comes as little surprise that a man with a full ginger beard, and the body build of a lumberjack leads CrossFit’s fitness competition in Western Canada.
Lucas Parker, a three-time CrossFit Games competitor, has become as tied to Canada West as the maple leaf and cold, hard winters. With 12 points after five events, Parker is all but assured his fourth trip to Carson, Calif. barring disaster on the last two events tomorrow.
Yet, don’t get so fixated on the beard that you miss the scrappy fight between the lesser-known athletes in the region.
Entering the final day of competition, the second and third-ranked men are tied with 29 points, and the fourth-ranked man is just one point behind.
The first-ranked woman got her spot atop the leaderboard just today, and the second-, third-, and fourth-ranked women are each separated by just one point apiece.
Who will join the beard in Carson?
Find out tomorrow when the competitors take on the 50s chipper, and the pull-up and overhead squat sprint.
The women in the early heats struggled to finish the 54 reps of strict handstand push-ups, 125-lb. front squats, and bar-facing burpees within the 20-minute time cap.
Tina Popp and Amy Speed-Andrews were the first two women to pull off that feat. In the second heat. Popp pulled away from the other women early on to finish in just 14:50, while Speed-Andrews used the energy from the crowd to finish with just 26 seconds left on the clock.
In the next heats, eight other women finished the work within the time cap.
In the third heat, Emily Beers, Emily Abbott, Whitney Darchuk, and Taryn Romanowich were so comfortable with the strict handstand push-ups that it became clear that they weren’t just in it to finish it, but they were instead capable of pushing the redline for the event win.
By the time the women closed in on the lower reps, it was a contest between Beers and Abbott. The two traded the lead during the last three sets of handstand push-ups, front squats, and burpees, almost perfectly in synch.
Abbott finally gained a six-second edge on the last set of bar facing burpees. Abbott finished in 14:13 for the event win, while Beers followed in 14:19 for second.
“I wasn’t watching to see how close Emily (Beers) was, but the announcer helped,” Abbott said immediately after the event. “I definitely knew on the last set of handstand push-ups – I did three unbroken and that was awesome because that got me the edge! I just gave ‘er till the end. It was a lot of fun! I’m on a total high right now.”
Event 4 Results
1. Emily Abbott (14:13)
2. Emily Beers (14:19)
3. Tina Popp (14:50)
Ten legless rope climbs and 200-foot sprints closed the second day of competition.
While some women fatigued, and fell from the rope, others repeatedly jumped high, kipped, and reached out to the top of the 14-foot rig.
The top women arrived in the third heat. Chelsea Miller handled the legless rope climbs with ease, and recovered with a slow jog across the competition floor, while Whitney Darchuk took the opposite approach and sprinted.
Miller’s approach worked, and earned her a vast lead.
After nine seemingly easy legless ascents, Miller faltered at the very end. She leapt for her 10th climb, ascended, and made a reach for the target but missed. She fell a few feet, before catching onto the rope, and starting to ascend again. She made a hail mary reach for the beam, and hit it.
Once off the rope, she sprinted across the floor for the first time to finish in 7:18.
Over a minute later, Alex Parker and Jenn Webber finished their last legless ascents at the same time and sprinted for second place. The two tied at 8:52.
“I’ve been doing a lot of legless rope climbs, so I was kind of hoping they would show up at Regionals and they did,” Miller said. “I didn’t have a strategy going in – just went by how I felt.”
Event 5 Results
1. Chelsea Miller (7:18)
2T. Alex Parker (8:52)
2T. Jenn Webber (8:52)
4. Sarah Bustard (9:11)
1. Emily Abbott (32)
2. Whitney Darchuk (38)
3. Erica Livett (39)
4. Emily Beers (40)
5. Alex Parker (43)
6. Jenn Webber (44)
7. Chelsea Miller (48)
8. Christina Verhagen (50)
9. Brittany Brown (54)
10. Nancy McKeage (60)
When the final heat of men walked onto the competition floor, they knew that they had to finish the 54 reps of strict handstand push-ups, 195-lb. front squats, and bar-facing burpees in less than 12:23.
Vale had set the time to beat in the previous heat, and in the calm but aggressive demeanor of the region’s top competitors it was clear that they intended to beat it.
Parker completed the first 21 strict handstand push-ups unbroken, to get a small lead over Mitch Barnard and Jason Cain.
Surprisingly, 5’6” Cain gained the lead in the 195-lb. front squats.
Just after the three-minute mark, Parker, Cain and Barnard were deadlocked once again, at one point totally in synch dropping into each squat.
Eventually, Parker and Barnard pulled away from Cain. The two jumped onto the finish mat at the end of Nasty Girls V2 yesterday, and it soon became clear that they were on track for another photo finish on Event 4.
“I looked at him like, ‘OK buddy, are we going shot for shot here?’” Parker said.
Parker dug in, and created a 10-second lead over Barnard. Parker finished in 10:32, and Barnard followed in 10:42.
“I wondered if he had a lot left in the tank, and I got kind of worried, so I picked up the pace in the last couple of rounds, and I was able to pull ahead,” Parker explained.
“We were trying to eye each other up, trying to figure out the plan, do what we could do,” Barnard said before adding, “He has a really nice beard.”
Gibson, a former hockey player who is competing in his second Regional competition, was the last on the mat, spurring his fellow competitors to surround him and encourage him to finish amidst a wave of cheering from the crowd.
“It was incredible,” Gibson said. “The camaraderie of this sport is like nothing else. I also knew my buddy Matt, who passed away recently was looking down on me. I really appreciated all of the support from all of the athletes.”
Event 4 Results
1. Lucas Parker (10:32)
2. Mitch Barnard (10:42)
3. Connor Vale (12:23)
While the women struggled to climb without their legs, the men sped up the rope. In heat after heat, Event 5 was a tightly contested sprint. Just one second separated the leaders in the first heat (Mike Fowler and Andrew Askin), and the second heat (Michael FitzGerald and David Bradford).
Dylan Well didn’t win the third heat, but he won the attention of the fans when he walked onto the floor wearing nothing more than a pair of 1970s-style jogging shorts and a full back tattoo.
In the final heat, former team competitor Joe Scali pulled ahead early on followed closely by 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games competitor Tyson Takasaki.
Around the two-minute mark, Parker took Takasaki’s place just behind Scali. With Parker behind him, Scali regularly glanced to Parker check his lead.
By the final rope climb, the lead was miniscule. Scali dropped from the rope, and sprinted across the floor (3:54). Parker joined him five seconds later (3:59), and five seconds after that Carlin (4:04), then Fikowski and Takasaki (4:05) reached their mats.
“I kinda blacked out in that event,” Scali said. “The game plan was to be chalked up before – I always had it in my shorts, never had to go to the bucket. That accumulates to 30 seconds, going to the chalk bucket every time.”
Event 5 Results
1. Joe Scali (3:54)
2. Michael FitzGerald (3:55)
3. David Bradford (3:56)
4. Lucas Parker (3:59)
5. Zach Carlin (4:04)
6T. Brent Fikowski and Tyson Takasaki (4:05)
Two days into the competition, Parker leads.
“I don’t like either event tomorrow – I was hoping to establish a little bit of a lead in the first few days because I know the 50s workout is a little outside my wheelhouse,” Parker said. “You never know how your hands will feel after all the pulling so far.”
With the day’s events, Scali climbed from sixth to second place overall, Fikowski moved down to third, and Takasaki held onto fourth. The second berth appears up for grabs with just seven points separating fifth from second.
1. Lucas Parker (12)
2. Joe Scali (29)
3. Brent Fikowski (29)
4. Tyson Takasaki (30)
5. Zach Carlin (36)
6. Chris Vienneau (52)
7. Mitch Barnard (54)
8. John Gillis (57)
9. Jason Cain (61)
10. Connor Vale (76)
View the Canada West Regional in Photos