With Hack’s Pack Ute in the driver’s seat of the Affiliate Cup, the final day of competition opened with a couples relay.
For the Sunday-morning test, mixed pairs ran 500 meters before performing 25 GHD med-ball passes, 25 overhead squats in tandem, and 25 wall burpees. Only the top 20 teams will advance after this event.
After two days and eight events, Hack’s Pack Ute held a 98-point lead over CrossFit New England, with CrossFit Dallas Central 146 points back of first. Five other teams were within 15 points of third, setting up a cutthroat final day of Team competition.
And if spectators were hoping for a show, they sure got one on the second-to-last team event of this year’s CrossFit Games. When the horn sounded and the first pair took off on the run, team members bounced off one another and some elbows flew on the first turn.
Once duos came back into the soccer stadium and moved on to the GHD and then the overhead squats, the importance of communication became clear. Team members used various strategies, including one person shouting “down” or teammates simply making eye contact or exchanging a nod before heading back to the bottom of the squat.
"The challenge was to pair two people who could handle the same load at the same time. We actually put our best pair in the middle, so we could make the time cap," said Diablo CrossFit team member Eleni Frediani.
Diablo, who sits in sixth overall, had a team on the podium last year (third) and finished this morning’s event in ninth.
"That was fun," Frediani said after the event. "We do a lot of this stuff. We have a wall at the gym. We actually thought the partner GHD med-ball was going to be at last year's Games, so we practiced that a lot."
Front Range CrossFit, whose member David Foster broke his hand on the first day, continued to compete Sunday morning. On the GHD med-ball passes, Foster carefully moved the ball to his left shoulder as he leaned back and slowly lowered the ball with his left hand to the grass before gingerly picking it up with both hands. His right hand was partially bandaged. Once he reached the overhead squats, he and his partner opted to sit out and cheer on their competition instead.
Last year’s Affiliate Cups winners, Hack’s Pack Ute, took the lead in the first round of the final of three heats and never gave it up.
After the first pair completed its wall burpees, it tagged the next pair—team captain Tommy Hackenbruck and Mary Lampas—who raced off on the run. Hackenbruck—6-foot-1 and 210 lb.—showed that big guys can run fast as he and Lampas nearly sprinted to get the second round started. And as the pair came down the stairs to return to the soccer stadium, Hackenbruck made a show of it by sliding down part of the stairway railing and eliciting cheers from the crowd.
To no one’s surprise, Hack’s Pack not only won the event with a time of 20:22.5, but also killed the previous best time of 23:18.3, set by CrossFit 808 out of Hawaii in the previous heat.
The event’s end result saw the two top spots filled by 2012 and 2011 Affiliate Cup winners Hack’s Pack and CrossFit New England. CrossFit Adrenaline sat in third, but CrossFit Invictus trailed only by seven points. And only one point separated Invictus and CrossFit Fort Vancouver, which won the Affiliate Cup in 2010.
“We’ve just been trying to chip away and get into the top five,” said Fort Vancouver team member Jessica Core. “We always want to win, but we’re happy with how we’re doing. We’re working together.”
1. Hack's Pack UTE (20:22.5)
2. CrossFit New England (21:39.1)
3. CrossFit Fort Vancouver (23:05.8)
Overall leader: Hack's Pack UTE