“I liked coming in and having no one know who I was or what I was capable of." ~Regional winner Jennifer Smith
Records are made to be broken.
Over seven events at the Central East Regional, two-time CrossFit Games champion Rich Froning proved that three times.
“He stepped up to every challenge,” Caleb Ward of Mighty Warrior CrossFit said. “It didn't matter whether he was in front or behind ... he always came through."
As was the case one year ago, Froning is joined by more than his fair share of talent. After all, this is the Central East and the past has shown that if you’re competitive here, you’re competitive everywhere.
To finish the weekend, Central East teams took on sprints, heavy cleans and rope climbs after six events and multiple Leaderboard shifts over the long three days.
The top teams begin to filter their athletes through the relay-style workout at a quick pace. Ten minutes in, CrossFit Grandview and CrossFit Mayhem were tied for the lead. But out of nowhere, CrossFit Indy North Black’s last female brought the team from the middle of the pack to first place with unbroken cleans and two-pull rope climbs. She hit the platform at 16:02, leaving CrossFit Mayhem to fight off the rest of the field.
Entering the event, CrossFit Indy North Black was in fourth place. When the chalk settled, they were in second overall and on their way to the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games.
“That’s insanity,” was all team captain Bryn Jafri could muster.
At 16:14 CrossFit Mayhem’s final female gave everything she had. She stepped on her platform five-tenths of a second before CrossFit Grandview, taking second in the Event.
“We are more than happy with our performance this weekend,” team captain Chip Pugh says. “We are so much better together (as a team, compared to individuals). We are pretty even-keel, we have strength, gymnasts and in-betweeners, so we really don’t have any weaknesses.”
In the end, Froning’s affiliate CrossFit Mayhem sits in first with their coach. CrossFit Indy North Black stole second and hanging onto third by two points is CrossFit New Albany.
“We wish it would've been first, but if you don’t think that, you shouldn't be here,” CrossFit New Albany teammate Dane Youtz says. “Now, we have a month to prepare.”
1. Indy North Black (16:02.4)
2. CrossFit Mayhem (16:14)
3. CrossFit Grandview (16:14.5)
1. CrossFit Mayem (42)
2. Indy North Black (45)
3. CrossFit New Albany (45)
In her first year as an individual competitor, Jennifer Smith entered her final Regional Event in first place, with a four-point lead over Michelle Kinney.
Nineteen seconds in, Lindy Wall completed her rope climbs and made it to her bar. She made short work of the cleans and ran back to her rope before a full minute had even turned over.
Kinney and Smith soon followed, but not before Julianne Broadbent did her best to edge Wall out, getting to her bar seconds earlier.
Smith showed the wear of the weekend as she struggled with her third set of squat cleans, quads trembling and threatening to give way beneath her. Still, she did them unbroken, shuffled her bar to the side and made for her last two ascents up the rope.
At 3:49, Wall started in on her last set of cleans. Twenty-six seconds later, she finished first in her heat at 4:15.4. Kinney followed at 4:34.5.
When Kinney hit the platform, she looked like she might collapse. Instead, she dropped down and kissed the finishing mat. After missing her chance last year, she’s made it back to the CrossFit Games, placing second overall.
Smith finished her last effort of the day in 4:51. It earned her third for the event and first overall, sending her to the Games, as well.
"I thought the first day would be my worst day so when I was first, I felt great. After that, I did feel some pressure,” Smith says. “I liked coming in and having no one know who I was or what I was capable of."
1. Lindy Wall (4:15.4)
2. Michelle Kinney (4:34.5)
3. Jennifer Smith (4:51.3)
1. Jennifer Smith (26)
2. Michelle Kinney (29)
3. Lindy Wall (39)
Just a few hours before Event 7, Froning and Dan Bailey gave the house a thrill with a hair-raising lunge-off. But in the final event, it was Marcus Hendren who made the crowd roar.
The hometown hero resurrected his status as a CrossFit Games competitor, taking an event record to boot — he finished the final workout in 3:51.1, over 12 seconds faster than Mid Atlantic competitor Steve Pinkerton’s previous record set earlier today.
“I quit my job on the family farm for CrossFit,” Hendren says. “I dedicated everything I had seven days a week and I'm honored to go back.”
While Graham Holmberg, Gerald Sasser and Scott Panchik pursued Hendren, Froning and Bailey slipped quietly out of sight.
By the time Hendren reached the rope for the last time, the crowd was already celebrating. Running away with the event, Hendren took the last point he needed to become a Games competitor for the second year running.
The 2013 Central East Regional is history, and as history often does, it repeated itself. Central East’s five fittest men of 2012 will all return to Carson to fight for the title of Fittest on Earth in 2013.
“Six weeks of hard work is what I need to do between now and the Games,” Froning says. “Just keep practicing and doing CrossFit.”
1. Marcus Hendren (3:53.1)
2. Scott Panchik (3:57.1)
3. Rich Froning (4:07.7)
1. Rich Froning (15)
2. Scott Panchik (30)
3. Dan Bailey (32)
4. Graham Holmberg (33)
5. Marcus Hendren (44)