Yesterday, team CrossFit Conjugate Black became the Rich Froning of the team competition, turning a 30-team event into a one-team show. The team went three for three on event wins on Day 1, snagging an event record (in Event 2) to boot.
With muscle-ups, heavy barbells and handstand walks in first three events, the Cincinnati team left no doubt that it’s built of athletes who each have the skills and the strength to hold their own as individuals -- in fact, if CrossFit Conjugate Black teammate Sam Dancer had been competing as an individual, he would have taken home an event record with his 295-lb. hang squat snatch.
Today, the hometown powerhouse had to prove that they’re not just six talented CrossFit athletes in matching neon shorts, but that they have the savvy to negotiate the floor as one team.
Thrusters and rope climbs were the teams’ morning meal. Each teammate could devour as much or little as they liked, as long as everyone tasted each part of the dish.
The women were the first to approach the table while their men looked on from across the floor, staying warm with air squats and burpees.
At first, the 95-lb. bar went up easily for most women in early heats. But by the end of the set of 40 thrusters, a few teams’ women struggled to press the weight out, resting with the bar overhead. Those who could do more than five reps per athlete on the bar bought more time on the rope, where most teams divided the work into two ascents per athlete.
In the first heat, Orion Smith of team CrossFit Rutherford went legless on the rope climbs.
"Orion's just better at them legless,” said teammate Brandon Bocianski. “He's so fast and powerful, it just works out better for him."
Transitions were tricky for a few teams, who lost precious seconds—and placings—by forgetting to advance their barbells to the appropriate places before taking off for the rope.
When the top teams hit the floor, the cardboard cutouts came out, fans of team CrossFit Naptown Blue screaming as they waved the team’s heads on popsicle sticks. They would be rewarded for their praise later when when the men of CrossFit Naptown Blue became the first to best team CrossFit Conjugate Black.
Event 4 belonged to the women in the party pants.
Clad in matching patterned spandex pants, the women of SPC CrossFit claimed the lead early, reaching the rig for their first set of rope ascents before the second minute had turned.
Each woman took two reps at the rope, one buying time by rebounding straight from the floor into her next ascent. By the time team CrossFit Maximus met team SPC CrossFit at the bar for the second set of thrusters, SPC already had five reps in the bank.
That’s where CrossFit Maximus missed their window.
CrossFit Maximus passed the bar on their backs while team SPC CrossFit got friendly in the front rack position, expanding their lead. Though CrossFit Maximus had the more efficient ascents in the final eight reps, raising their knees high above their heads to get one pull for every two of team SPC’s, it wasn’t enough to make up for lost time on the bar.
At 8:32, team SPC’s women barrel-rolled under the wall straight into an event record, 26 seconds faster than the previous record-holders, the South East’s team CrossFit Adrenaline.
The team’s last six ascents were performed in under one minute, despite only practicing the workout a few times before the regional weekend.
“We don't have a rope at our gym,” said teammate Jessica Bachkora. “For a couple weeks before regionals, we went and borrowed somebody else's at another gym, but it was only like twice or three times maybe."
“We wanted to do (the) thrusters in the three sets ... as fast as possible," said teammate Julianne Broadbent. "We played to our strengths."
When the men took the floor, it looked like team CrossFit Conjugate Black would take another event, the first team off the thruster bar after Sam Dancer repped out 25 unbroken thrusters on his own, feet rooted to the ground.
But when the team hit the rope, CrossFit Conjugate Black faltered for the first time all weekend. The men dropped from the top of the rope before it could settle, forcing the following teammate to play a game of catch before he could begin his ascent.
While CrossFit Conjugate Black took time to calm the rope, CrossFit Naptown Blue pulled ahead, the first team to the bar at 15:27 for the final set of thrusters. Though CrossFit Conjugate Black followed under 20 seconds later, they had time to make up only 10 seconds worth of work.
Popsicle stick heads went wild as CrossFit Naptown Blue tumbled onto the mat at 7:22 for their first event win of the weekend. Just one second made the difference between second and third places, as CrossFit Maximus and CrossFit Conjugate Black followed at 7:32 and 7:33.
Team Event 4 Results
1. SPC CrossFit (8:32)
2. CrossFit Maximus (8:58)
3. CrossFit Naptown Blue (9:00)
Team Event 5 Results
1. CrossFit Naptown Blue (7:22)
2. CrossFit Maximus (7:32)
3. CrossFit Conjugate Black (7:33)
Before the regional, team CrossFit Naptown Blue said 2014 might be its last chance to get to the CrossFit Games. And after winning Events 5 and 6 back-to-back on Day 2, it looks like they’ll do just that.
CrossFit Naptown Blue began the the sixth event in a race for second place with CrossFit Nashville. Establishing an early lead with unbroken handstand push-ups for each of their men, it seemed that CrossFit Conjugate Black couldn’t be beaten.
Sam Dancer seemed to be faster than gravity, beating his barbell to the floor on his burpees.
His teammates followed suit with efficient spinning jumps, hitting the floor for their next reps while their competitors were still turning around.
At 7:19, CrossFit Conjugate Black sent their first woman to the floor, CrossFit Naptown Blue’s leading lady following 20 seconds later.
But CrossFit Conjugate Black passed the crown on the wall.
While CrossFit Conjugate Black’s first woman took her handstand push-ups in singles, shaking out between, CrossFit Naptown Blue strung reps together in sets of two.
CrossFit Conjugate Black would never recover.
While CrossFit Naptown Blue sent their final female to the finish mat at 17:55, CrossFit Conjugate Black and CrossFit Murfreesboro worked for second place. But CrossFit Murfreesboro had a secret weapon, saving their fastest female for last and bringing home second place in 19:20.
"Going into today, we knew this would be one of our best events,” team CrossFit Naptown Blue said of their first event win. “For the females it was all about getting through the handstands and no need to rush through the burpees."
"We're a team with a huge community and we do this because we love our community and sport."
Out of 30 teams, only two finished within the 21-minute time cap.
Team Event 6 Results
1. CrossFit Naptown Blue (17:55)
2. CrossFit Murfreesboro (19:20)
3. CrossFit Conjugate Black (21:09)
1. CrossFit Conjugate Black (18)
2. CrossFit Naptown Blue (32)
3. CrossFit Maximus (40)
4. SPC CrossFit (46)
5. Friendship CrossFit (53)
6. CrossFit Murfreesboro (55)
7. CrossFit Nashville (62)
8. CrossFit DV8 (69)
9. CrossFit Mayhem (70)
10. CrossFit Covington #1 (74)
After two days of events, CrossFit Conjugate Black retains their overall lead with 18 points, 14 points fewer than second-ranked team CrossFit Naptown Blue. For the second consecutive year, CrossFit Maximus holds onto a Games qualifying spot.
Positioned to make its first trip to the CrossFit Games, CrossFit Naptown Blue ran to the stands to greet its fans after the day’s events.
"We're a team with a huge community and we do this because we love our community and sport,” a team member said.
With just two events remaining, the team podium is beginning to take shape—and two qualifiers from last year, CrossFit Mayhem and Three Kings CrossFit (formerly CrossFit Indy North Black) aren’t on it.