For Central East competitors, defeat is rarely measured by leaps and bounds … more like fractions and inches.
With 12 platforms working at once, three overhead squats became a 7-minute tightrope walk with chalked traps and tapped hands. But in the end, it would be the burpee muscle-up that put a spin on the Leaderboard sending several competitors home.
After Event 1, the CrossFit Maven team was in first place. By the end of day one, their season was over.
“We are so proud to be here, we gave it our all,” said team member Shaina Allen after failing to meet the minimum work requirement for Event 3. “We are only a year old and most of us are new to CrossFit. We have huge community support and many of our members are here. We’re looking forward to next year.”
A total of seven teams followed Maven’s example, failing to meet the workload required to continue their season.
However, where one newbie team struggled, another thrived. Despite a mere 2-minute recovery between the second and third events, the women of CrossFit Mayhem, also less than a year old, showed no sign of duress on the muscle-ups. Chest-to-deck, jump, kip and lockout — the Tennessee women were made for the rings.
CrossFit New Albany chose big and their plan almost backfired. Brandon Shriner opened at 245 lbs., and after an unrecognized no-rep and a premature celebration, he was forced to lift the bar again.
Still, Shriner started the show and it would be up to him to finish it. After each man had his shot at the bar, he finished out at 265 for 1,210 total pounds lifted by the team and a tie for second place with CrossFit NapTown Competition Team.
“We had a hard judge, but they were fair,” Shriner said. “Not everything went the way we wanted, but that’s part of it. I’m glad there is a standard (because) not everyone can do it.”
One gap in the armor is one too many, and just as some teams were stopped dead in their tracks, the rest are just getting started.
Anna Rode, of overall team leader CrossFit Naptown, says they’re looking forward to the tests to come.
“Now we just have to keep our momentum.”
1. Jacked and Tan (1215)
2T. CrossFit NapTown Competition Team (1210)
2T. CrossFit New Albany (1210)
1. CrossFit Mayhem (103)
2. CrossFit Rutherford (94)
3. CrossFit NapTown Competition Team (92)
1. CrossFit Naptown Competition Team (11)
2. CrossFit New Albany (15)
3 CrossFit Jacked & Tan (23)
4. CrossFit Mayhem (23)
5. CrossFit Indy North Black (26)
6. CrossFit Grandview (29)
7. Joco CrossFit (32)
8. CrossFit The Ville (32)
Taylor Drescher was the first to experience the frustration of a no-rep missing her first two attempts.
"It threw me off because I was feeling strong,” Drescher said.
After a conversation with her judge, she took a moment to collect herself by turning her back to the crowd.
She racked 175 lbs., for the third and final time with 53 seconds left on the clock. With her knees nearly buckled and wrists turning back on themselves, she completed her third rep and released her belt. She looked at Broadbent who had just completed her triple at 190 lbs.
"I tried my best just to move on from it and maintain a good attitude," she said.
Broadbent’s Event 2 overhead squat would hold, as Heather Welsh failed repeatedly. With Welsh’s coach Doug Katona looking on, she successfully hit 175 lbs. He motioned her on, preparing her for the rings, urging her to forget the fallen reps consumed by the crowd. She then fell four reps short of finishing Event 3.
To the right of Welsh was Jolene Grant, and she was a different story.
While Grant leapt as if she was on a trampoline, Welsh effortlessly reached to the wooden rings, set her grip and pulled. With one no-rep, the 29-year-old from CrossFit SEO finished her final burpee muscle-up in 5:43.
"The burpee muscle-ups were in my wheelhouse," Grant said.
And now that the overhead squats are out of the way, something she says she wasn’t as confident about, she confirms "its balls to the wall,” from here until California.
Alyssa Ritchey, the newcomer from 8th Day CrossFit, clocked in at 6:19, while overall leader Jennifer Smith ran onto her platform in 6:35.
1. Julianne Broadbent (195.2)
2T. Nicole Holcomb (190.3)
2T. Lindsey Smith (190.3)
1. Jolene Grant (5:43.3)
2. Alyssa Ritchey (6:19.9)
3. Jennifer Smith (6:35.1)
1. Jennifer Smith (11)
2. Lindsey Smith (13)
3. Julianne Broadbent (17)
4. Michelle Kinney (17)
5. Jolene Grant (23)
6. Heather Welsh (24)
7. Alyssa Ritchey (27)
8. Lindy Wall (28)
The near capacity crowd shifts its weight each time the Central East men take the floor.
As two-time CrossFit Games competitor Dan Bailey said before the Regional, mistakes will be magnified and movements will be refined. He was proven correct as every heat of male competitors seemed to one up the one before them.
"I don't want to live by ‘what if,’ if you have one foot in, you won't win," Marcus Hendren said while waiting for the final heat.
Moments later, 275 lbs., came crashing down after 2 reps. Cody Keathley let the bar drift forward, shifted to his toes, and bailed.
“That’s my lift,” he says.
He was right, until Gerald Sasser, entering the event in sixth place, made his 295-lb. lift for 3 reps. Proving it wasn’t a “big man” mishap, 2 minutes later, he finished his muscle-ups in 4:48.5
“My goal was to go out and make them chase me,” Sasser said after leaving the field with one heat to go.
Two-and-a-half minutes into the final heat, Rich Froning had already completed 275 lbs. on the Overhead Squat Complex. He began at 255 lbs. By 5 minutes in, Froning, had 305 for a triple. When 315 lbs., went up, so did the crowd. Shaking, the two-time CrossFit Games champ hit one rep before the bar crashed, and the buzzer blared.
When it came to the burpee muscle-ups, the champ was patient, pausing to breathe before falling to the floor. With each rep nearly identical to the one before it, the pacing paid off and he finished in 4:10.8, taking out Kenneth Leverich of Southern California’s previous event record of 4:11.
“God blessed me with really strong shoulders,” Froning said. “I wasn’t going for the world record. I was just trying not to die.”
2010 CrossFit Games champion Graham Holmberg finished just behind the fittest man on earth in 4:29.7. Nick Fory rounded out the top three with a time of 4:35 and Dan Bailey finished fourth.
“I was hoping for a world record on the burpee muscle-up,” Bailey said. “I had one no rep and you know, that can cost you a good 10 seconds. I did better on the overhead squats than I thought I would though with one rep at 285. My best before was 275 off the rack.”
At the end of Day 1, the top three spots are filled by Games veterans and two former Champions. Still, the Regional weekend is fresh, and the air crackles with the anticipation of what’s to come. Marcus Hendren, who finished in 7th place at the CrossFit Games last year, isn’t content with his first day eighth place finish. After giving up the family farm for fitness, he’s not giving up without a fight.
“I'm not exactly where I would like to be, but there are still two more days left!”
1. Rich Froning (315.1)
2. Scott Panchik (305.3)
3T. Gerald Sasser (295.3)
3T. Joseph Weigel (295.3)
1. Rich Froning (4:10.8)
2. Graham Holmberg (4:29.7)
3. Nick Fory (4:35.1)
1. Rich Froning (7)
2. Scott Panchik (12)
3. Graham Holmberg (14)
4. Dan Bailey (14)
5. Gerald Sasser (14)
6. Nick Fory (18)
7. Joseph Weigel (22)
8. Marcus Hendren (28)