After two days and four events, only a handful of athletes are in reach of the four precious spots in the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games.
Last year’s Canada East champion, Jason Cain, fell out of Workout 4 with an undisclosed injury that brought the medical staff to the floor, proving anything can happen. Still, it’s safe to say about only about 10 individual men and women can sleep tonight knowing they’re well within range of the slots at the Home Depot Center.
The day opened with a dumbbell-snatch/sprint event that was about 4 minutes for the top competitors, and it ended with a nasty, grinding triplet that only 12 individual athletes finished.
The men’s competition in Workout 3 was a two-horse race between Jeremy Meredith and Lucas Parker, and the win came down to a final all-out sprint in which Parker edged out his friend by only two seconds by somersaulting over the dumbbell and touching it to stop the clock.
“He’s more of a lumbering giant than a supple panther,” Parker said of having to chase Meredith on the runs. “So I thought I could catch him.”
Parker’s 3:40 was tops, Meredith was second with 3:42, and Jeremy Edwards was third in 4:03, a mark he set in Heat 2.
In Workout 4, only one person had finished the reps under the time cap when the final men’s heat took the floor. Joshua Chavarria worked as a media runner at last year’s regional and traded his “Media” T-shirt for one that said “Competitor” this time around. He squeaked in under the time cap in Heat 1 with 21:50, and the mark stood until Heat 3.
Jeremy Meredith, who won the 100s workout at last year’s Regional, locked horns with Tyson Takasaki for 18 solid minutes in a rematch of sorts. Takasaki finished one point behind Meredith in 2011 and missed a trip to the Games. The two were literally neck-and-neck throughout the workout, with Meredith cashing in on his unbelievable overhead strength. At times Meredith looked like a machine on the shoulder-to-overhead, and he actually strict-pressed a host of reps at 85 and 65 lb. because it was faster than dipping for a push press.
Takasaki, a football player who competed in the CrossFit Games on Team Taranis, loves longer endurance workouts and seldom rests for long before breaking off a large set. His consistency paid off, and he was right with Meredith until the end. Meredith locked out the final push press at 18:36, and Takasaki came in at 18:47. Lucas Parker subbed beard-over-bar pull-ups for the chin-over-bar variety and was third in 20:54.
Takasaki finished second overall in the Open and was happy to get a long workout after taking 19th in the dumbbell-snatch/sprint event.
“I had high expectations coming in … but this one got me back on track,” he said. “I like long endurance workouts, but there are some great competitors here that maximize your mistakes.”
All told, only six athletes finished the long triplet.
Overall, Meredith and Parker remain one-two atop the leaderboard, and Steve Howell remains in third. Meredith has 7 points, Parker has 10, and Howell has 19. The next closest athlete, Joey Lutz, has 26 points and will have to make up a lot of ground on Day 3.
With a snatch ladder on the agenda, it’s looking good for a strong showing by Meredith and Parker. Meredith has a PR of 246 lb., while Parker has lifted 275 in the past. Of course, those numbers weren’t set with double-unders in between lifts.
The field was narrowed in Workout 3 as five women were eliminated after failing to complete a full round. Only 11 women completed the entire workout. As expected, most of the top women had little trouble with the snatch, though a few of them were slowed significantly.
The race from gate to gate was between Angie Pye and Emily Beers, with Beers pulling ahead slightly toward the end. Beers was about 20 meters ahead on the run and pulled into the finish in 6:05, four seconds faster than Pye (6:09). Janine Walinksi was third in 6:43.
In Workout 4, no athletes finished the event in the first heat. Several athletes got to the overhead squats but stalled there, and not one got back to the pull-up bar. Angie Mcnally managed 30 overhead reps to win the heat.
Before Heat 2, Emily Beers, sitting in second overall had a simple strategy: “Survive. Try to make myself as not sore as possible for tomorrow.”
She wasn’t planning on slow, unbroken sets but hoped to work in bursts.
“I tend to be an interval person. I might try to do faster reps and rest, but that might go out the window,” she said.
Beers trailed Pye, Alicia Connors and Jolaine Bloom for most of the workout, and while Pye was well in front at times, it was Connors who got stronger as the event progressed.
Even the 65-lb. shoulders-to-overheads didn’t faze last year’s Games athletes from CrossFit Taranis. Pye banged out 23 straight reps at the end of Round 2, and Connors notched 20. Throughout the field, unbelievable power was on display as the top women looked like pistons firing the weight up with relentless speed.
After huge sets of overheads squats—Pye did 25 in a row—and 40 pull-ups, Connors was slightly ahead of Pye returning to the barbell. Pye was deadly efficient, but Connors was machine-like in drilling out 30 reps in about 30 seconds. She finished in 18:39, and Pye was just behind her in 18:46. Bloom finished third in 19:58.
Immediately after the workout, the Taranis pair embraced each other just as they did when they finished last year’s Regional first and second to qualify for the Games.
“I fucking love that broad!” Pye said of her teammate and friend. “We go head to head every time. I’m very proud of her.”
Pye also called Workout 4 “the hardest workout ever” and compared it to the 100s workout from last year’s Regionals.
Overall, the names holding the Games spots are the same as they were after Workout 3: Angie Pye (10 points) and Emily Beers (12 points). Heather Gillespie, a quiet athlete who’s always a factor at the end of the competition, now sits third with 18 points. Janine Walinski is a point back in fourth, and Connors holds fifth with 24 points.
Looking ahead to tomorrow’s snatch ladder, Beers is confident she can hit 140, which she did when she tried the event in training. She didn’t try to go any higher, but she’s hoping to pull 145 or 150 when it counts. She also called double-unders “a nemesis.” Pye’s max snatch is 145, and she’s tried the workout as well in training, though she didn’t say how it went. Gillespie’s max snatch is 150.
“It’s pressure,” Pye said of the double-under/snatch combo. “You need to get confident and get aggressive in your horribleness. That’s a word: horribleness.”
A horrible day for Pye is an epic day for most everyone else, and if the former rugby player can finish strong, she’ll be headed back to California.
As is often the case in team competitions, success or failure rests heavily on the female members, and it was no different in Workout 3. Heavy dumbbells tested all athletes, but while the men had little trouble with the 100s for the most part, the women struggled in to of the three heats. Most men could muscle the lift if their technique wasn’t perfect, but few women could press out or stabilize a snatch if the pull wasn’t perfect.
CrossFit AI’s team of Dan Rogers and Jenn Swagar were efficient and fast in wining the event with a time of 5:51. CrossFit Taranis was 6 seconds behind in 5:57, and CrossFit Reebok 306 was third in 6:34.
Workout 4 proved to be a very harsh test for the teams, and not a single crew managed to get through all the reps.
Team Taranis bested all the others and was the only gym to make it to the overhead squats, but they didn’t get far into the set and left well over a hundred reps on the table for a score of 27:25. CrossFit Brio was second in 27:37, and CrossFit B.C. and CrossFit Fraser Valley Centaurs tied at 27:55.
The Centaurs are led by Rob Perovich, who judged the Regional on crutches last year while recovering from an Achilles injury. Like Beers’ recovery from a similar injury, Perovich is back to form, and his team is in first overall with 14 points. CrossFit Brio is second with 17 points, and Team Taranis is a point back with 18. Three other boxes are within 4 points of second place and a spot at the Reebok CrossFit Games.
Perovich thinks his crew went out too fast on the final workout.
“We had to go further than we thought,” he said. “We had a plan going into it but that got scratched.”
He continued: “It’s just a lot of squats. Besides that, everything else was fine.”
While the picture is becoming somewhat clear on the men’s side with Meredith and Parker poised to finish in the top spots for the second year, the women’s and team competitions are still very much up in the air.
And you never know what can happen in a snatch ladder when you throw a skipping rope into the mix.
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