After three grueling days of Regional competition, the Mid Atlantic will send some new and familiar faces to the Stub Hub Center in Carson, Calif.
CrossFit Wilimington started strong and sent an athlete to the finishing pad first.
Although RAW Training and CrossFit Explode would be on their heels the entire time, Wilmington (13:27) was able to finish first, not far from the event record (13:12 — Hacks Pack UTE). Event 7 was their first win of the competition.
“We felt like this was gonna be our best workout and we were gonna crush it, plain and simple,” said Joe Welliver of CrossFit Wilmington said.
Wilmington needed to beat CrossFit Reston and did so with ease. Reston finished the event fourth (15:59).
“We started in third today, it is what it is,” said Chase Owens of CrossFit Reston said. “You do your best. No regrets.”
The second place finish went to RAW Training. RAW team member Molly Tuman completed each rope climb in just two pulls.
“There’s very few things in CrossFit that being tall kinda helps you (with),” Tumand said. “Doing rope climbs is one of them. That’s definitely one benefit of being tall.”
Emily Pale of CrossFit Explode blazed through the rope climbs and squat cleans, but couldn’t quite catch RAW. Explode finished in third.
2012 Games competitor Brian Quinlan said he’s excited to be going back to the Games with CrossFit Explode.
“It's awesome, we wanted to win and it feels really good,” he said. “We're looking forward to doing different workouts for a while, and some much needed rest.”
This is Explode’s second trip to the Games.
“We're all really good individual athletes, but this was a new experience for all of us working together. For me, the team continuity was greater than I could have imagined,” Quinlan said.
RAW Training continues to be a Mid Atlantic staple in team competition.
“This is what we wanted to do, we wanted to be in this position to go again,” Tuman said. “It’ll be the fourth year in a row for us so we’re pretty pumped.”
1. CrossFit Wilmington (13:27)
2. RAW Training (13:45)
3. CrossFit Explode (14:16)
1. CrossFit Explode (16)
2. RAW Training (26)
3. CrossFit Wilmington (37)
Not wanting to repeat 2012’s Regionals fourth-place finish, Michelle Crawford was motivated to do well in Event 7.
Alea Helmick held the lead for most of the event. Helmick was faster on the rope climbs that built her a hefty lead to win the event.
During the third set of cleans, Helmick pulled ahead and secured another first-place finish. Also catching up to Crawford was Christy Phillips.
In the end, Phillips came in second in the heat and Crawford in third. Crawford only gained four points and secured her ticket to the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games.
“It feels awesome,” Crawford said. “I have never been so happy to come in third place in anything. I don't like to lose things, but in this one, I am pretty happy to take third,” Crawford said.
Helmick won the event, but it wasn’t enough to change the final standings.
“I knew I had to come out here and really win it,” Helmick said. “Then let the game play out to see if I would qualify or not. I will be back and I am going to train hard during the season and just come back to see if I can possibly get a one, two, or three spot.”
Coming in second, Gretchen Kittelberger is going to the Games for the fourth time.
“I think it’s just a testament to all the hard work I’ve put in over this past year and it’s kind of, you know, for a CrossFit athlete, going to the Games is sort of the pinnacle of your CrossFit career,” Kittelberger said. “So to be able to go again and have that opportunity to compete with all those great athletes is just awesome.”
Phillips finished in the top spot, earning her a fifth trip to the Games.
“It does not lose the allure at all,” she said. “If anything, it just makes you yearn for it and want it more when you've already been. To be able to have the opportunity to prove myself again on the big stage is awesome.”
1. Alea Helmick (4:24)
2. Domoni Alexander (4:49)
3. Christy Phillips (5:02)
1. Christy Philips (23)
2. Gretchen Kittelberger (34)
3. Michelle Crawford (38)
The final men’s heat of Event 7 had the potential to change the top three in a big way, as points were close between third and seventh places.
The first round was a blur, with most of the men getting to their bars simultaneously. Gary Helmick and Kyle Ruth were the early front runners leading into round two, but that’s when Steve Pinkerton turned up the heat.
Pinkerton finished fourth at last year’s Regional and knew his only shot to qualify would be with a win. Win he did, he set a new Event 7 record with a time of 4:05. First place wasn’t enough, though, and Pinkerton ended the day in fifth.
“You go out and execute your plan, hope that some other people will stumble,” he said afterward. “I really wanted the fate to be in my hands like it was last year, but to be honest this last (event) wasn't even hard. I finished, and it felt great — that's the best I've felt all weekend. I wish there was one more day.”
Pinkerton was followed in by Helmick and Ben Smith.
Smith and Helmick’s podium places were set in stone with their Event 7 finishes, but as the rest of the pack rolled in, it was uncertain who would join them on the podium.
Before the results were final, Jordan Troyan and Ruth, who came in and fifth and fourth, respectively in the heat, wondered if the points had worked to their favor.
Troyan, a two-time Regional competitor, ran to his family on the sidelines as they were asking, “Did you make it?” Once the results were tallied, Troyan had secured third place by a single point.
Ruth was obviously disappointed to have come so close and not make it to the Games, but he plans on returning next year.
“I came into this competition thinking I wasn't gonna make it - then after Day 1 I was like, ‘oh my God, I can make it.’ So the last two days were spent thinking about strategy. I have learned so much in a year about how to program and how to train, and how to eat - I can't imagine what I could do with another year, I feel like I'm a baby in the sport, so I'm definitely not done,” Ruth said.
1. Steve Pinkerton (4:05)
2. Gary Helmick (4:12)
3. Ben Smith (4:21)
1. Ben Smith (19)
2. Gary Helmick (50)
3. Jordan Troyan (61)