"It's always good to get the butterflies out of the way that come with Event 1 and the start of the weekend." ~Tarasa Barnett
As the sun rose over the Voltaire Paladines Polo Coliseum and illuminated the inside of the venue in Guayaquil, Ecuador, there was excitement and anticipation in the air.
With over 240 athletes competing at the Latin America Regional, it was evident the event would be bigger than any of the previous year.
In Latin America, the Regional is rumored to have the biggest fan attendance among all the 17 regions. Guayaquil is the city in Latin America with the most CrossFitters per capita, hosting 11 affiliates and over 3,000 members.
The first event of the weekend was Jackie — 1000-meter row, 50 thrusters at 45 lb., and 30 pull-ups.
In the first two heats, no team was able to finish the workout within the 15-minute time cap.
When the last heat walked in, the crowd burst into cheers to welcome the top-ranked teams from the Open.
CrossFit St. Thomas was the first team to have their woman finish the row, with CrossFit 7 Mile, the defending champions, following close behind. As the women started chipping away at the thrusters, one woman pulled ahead from the pack. That was Jenn Chailler from CrossFit 7 Mile. The defending champions from the Cayman Islands continued to distance themselves from the competition and were able to complete the workout with a time of 14:28, making them the only team of the day who was able to complete the workout within the time cap.
"To decide which athletes were going to perform Jackie, we practiced the workout multiple times,” said Chris Springer, teammate and Coach of 7 Mile. “Jenn Chailler and Trevor Amodeo consistently came up with the best times, therefore it was an easy decision to have them do Event 1."
And the strategy paid off as Team 7 Mile starts the weekend on top of the Leaderboard, a place they are very familiar with.
“As returning champions, we feel the pressure. To be here at Regionals competing is something we have trained very hard for this last year. And even though we are here to have fun and enjoy it, the ultimate goal is to be able to return to the CrossFit Games in Carson, Calif.,” Springer says.
CrossFit Magnificos placed second (15:13) and CrossFit Brasil earned third (15:31).
As the women started rowing in the final heat, the rowers became a symphony of white noise.
Ana Caldas was the first athlete onto the thrusters, but was followed close behind by Tarasa Barnett and Courtney Modecki.
The pull-ups were a game changer as Barnett gained on Caldas and ended up finishing first with a time of 6:49 — a 20-second PR. Barnett looked happy as she walked away.
"More than anything, I feel relieved. It's always good to get the butterflies out of the way that come with Event 1 and the start of the weekend. Although the competition gets harder each year, I also get better and grow as an athlete,” Barnett said.
Tarasa continues to be coached by CrossFit Invictus’ C.J. Martin and says that every year, training changes as you change as an athlete.
"This year, I feel like I have a lot more body awareness and move a lot better.”
Courney Modecki came in second with a time of 07:26 and Ana C. Caldas and Dominique Jocelyne are tied for third with a time of 07:51.
A man from an early heat, Augusto Castro, a former BMX professional rider from Medellin, Colombia, was aiming to win this event. Castro moved in a very determined manner as he controlled the barbell effortlessly through the 50 unbroken thrusters and went on to butterfly his way through the pull-ups. With a time of 5:21, Castro set the time to beat and it would remain that way as the top qualifiers from the region where not able to shatter Castro’s time.
Castro started CrossFit just eighth months ago and is unaffiliated. He is thrilled to be competing at Regionals.
“It has been an amazing experience so far. It is very organized and it fulfills every expectation I had as an athlete before getting here. I think that people were surprised by my win as fans tend to cheer for the famous and favorite athletes,” Castro said. “But I am ready for Event 2 and the rest of the weekend. I train to win and I’m here to win.”
The athlete who came the closest to Castro on this event was Luis Giraldo from Fuerza CrossFit with a second-place finish and a time of 5:33.
Orlando Trejo, the defending champion, isn’t far behind with a time of 5:34 and he is currently tied in third place.
1. Augusto Castro (05:21)
2. Luis Giraldo (5:33)
T3. Orlando Trejo (5:33)
T3. Joel Bran (5:33)
5. Chris Irwin (05:40)
6. Batuque Iribarren (05:41)
1. Tarasa Barnett (06:49)
2. Courtney Modecki (07:26)
T3. Ana C. Caldas (07:51)
T3. Dominique Jocelyne (07:51)
5. Solange Jean-Francois Mon (08:16)
1. CrossFit 7 Mile (14:28)
2. Magnificos CrossFit BH (15:13)
3. CrossFit Brasil (15:31)
4. Tuluka El Templo (15:36)
5. Strongpack (15:40)