The handstand push-ups destroy the core, the toes-to-bars melt the grip, and then it’s anyone’s game when it comes to the thick axle bar.
Every drop means another clean, so the trick is to hold on as long as possible.
This brutal mix brought athletes to their knees, requiring a strong upper body, an iron grip, and an indomitable will.
“Khalipa’s kinda good.”
Marcus Filly summed up Event 6 with this bit of an understatement.
Once again, he took first by a wide margin. Even in this gymnastics heavy event, the 210-lb. Khalipa dominated.
However, he didn’t start out in the lead.
Pat Barber, Filly, and Neal Maddox tore through their handstand push-ups and toes-to-bars. By the time all three had finished 20 shoulder-to-overheads, Khalipa was still working on his toes-to-bars.
That didn’t bother Kahlipa. He blazed through his shoulder-to-overheads, overtaking everyone around him. In a brilliant bit of gamesmanship, Khalipa dropped the bar before his last shoulder-to-overhead. This allowed him to put the bar overhead one last time and go immediately into the walking lunges without putting down the bar.
Khalipa dropped the bar twice during his lunges, but he finished first with a time of 9:44.
Maddox was behind Khalipa on the lunges, and it looked like he might take second place, but then a determined-looking Filly came from behind, chasing Maddox down.
Although Filly was gunning for Maddox, his only goal for the day was to beat Barber.
"Barber knows I'm coming after him,” Filly said before the event.
“In the first CrossFit competition I ever did in Sacramento, like three years ago, he was the top dog. He was this seasoned (CrossFit athlete) and I was able to beat him on one event. I may not be able to catch Khalipa or Maddox, but I know I can beat Pat Barber and I want to win this today and that can help me climb,” he said.
Filly not only beat Barber, he also beat Maddox, coming in second with a time of 10:23. The finish moved Filly into fourth place, one point ahead of Pat Barber.
Maddox took third, holding onto his second-place spot.
Heading into Event 7, it’s a tight battle for fourth place. Filly will have to work hard if he wants to take Barber’s spot at the Games.
“I feel ready,” Filly said.
1. Jason Khalipa (9:44)
2. Marcus Filly (10:23)
3. Neal Maddox (10:26)
1. Jason Khalipa (8)
2. Neal Maddox (25)
3. Garret Fisher (26)
As the women lined up to start Event 6, it was veteran competitor Annie Sakamoto next to newcomers Alessandra Pichelli and Ashley Carriveau.
“Annie just keeps rolling with the punches,” her coach Gary Hirthler said. “She's hanging in there and doing what she does. I keep telling her she doesn't have to win, just hang in there. “
Hirthler said he and Sakamoto are not surprised by Pichelli’s performance over the weekend.
“There have been a lot of girls who've done well in the Open and not produced at the Regional competition, but from what people said about (Pichelli), we’re really not surprised. She's definitely the real deal,” Hirthler said.
In order to get their hands on the thick axle bar, the women had to run a gauntlet of gymnastics heavy, body weight movements: 100 double-unders, 50 handstand push-ups, and 40 toes-to-bars.
Carriveau took an early lead, getting to the toes-to-bars first and opening up with a set of 23. She was followed closely by Sakamoto, who said her plan was to try to match Carriveau.
“(Carriveau) and I did a bunch of workouts together during training, and we are really good friends. I used her for inspiration,” Sakamoto said.
Carriveau held her lead through the shoulder-to-overhead, performing as well with the barbell as she did with the gymnastics movements.
The woman in first place going into Day 3, Pichelli, fell behind on the toes-to-bars. Once she got to the shoulder-to-overhead, Pichelli moved quickly through each set of 10, trying to catch Sakamoto and Carriveau.
"My goal on the shoulder-to-overhead was sets of 10,” Carriveau said. “It was so hard to stick to the plan,” she said.
Then it was a slow-motion race between Carriveau and Sakamoto on the lunges. The distance—90 feet—is short, but the journey is long.
Sakamoto started to catch up to Carriveau, and that’s when the newcomer turned it on.
“When I saw (Sakamoto) next to me after I dropped the bar on the walking lunges, I knew it was go time, and I told myself to go!" Carriveau said.
"I knew this was my event,” she said. “I thought about our training together (with Sakamoto) and it motivated me."
Carriveau edged out Sakamoto to win the event with a time of 10:27. Sakamoto finished second in 10:32.
"That was the ultimate moment of the whole event for me, to finish like that with (Carriveau)," Sakamoto said.
The third place finish was a walking lunge fight between Diablo CrossFit athletes Pichelli and Margaux Alvarez.
Alvarez was the only female athlete of the day who was able to do the 90-foot lunge without stopping.
“My goal was to go 90-feet unbroken on the lunges and that's what it came down to,” Alvarez said.
“The shoulder-to-overheads were tough. I hoped to go sets of five and ended up doing threes and fours, but in the end I did better than usual."
Alvarez edged out Pichelli by one second to finish in third with a time of 10:53. This moved Alvarez into fifth place overall.
Katie Hogan surprised the crowd by getting hung up on the handstand push-ups and toes-to-bars. While most of the athletes had finished the event, Hogan was still working on her toes-to-bars, doing them one at a time. She didn’t get through her shoulder to overheads, and finished in 27th place.
With one more event in front of them, there is light at the end of the tunnel for the female competitors.
Sakamoto knows what she needs to do.
“For Event 7, I just need to keep smiling. As long as I enjoy myself, there's no losing,” she said.
1. Ashley Carriveau (10:27)
2. Annie Sakamoto (10:32)
3. Margaux Alvarez (10:53)
1. Alessandra Pichelli (17)
2. Annie Sakamoto (28)
3. Ashley Carriveau (30)
In all of the previous team events, athletes got a break, waiting for their team member to finish a movement. Not so in Event 6.
Except for the opening double-unders (50 each for the male and female athlete), this event required each athlete to work the entire time. Holding a handstand, hanging from the bar, keeping the thick axle bar in the front rack—that’s what constitutes rest during this event.
CrossFit 808 entered this event full of confidence. “We just want to go out and have fun,” Elyse Umeda said before the event. “We all tried to fight for Event 6, because it’s just so much fun.”
Things didn’t go as planned.
The event started out as a battle between CrossFit 808, Diablo CrossFit Anejo, and Rocklin CrossFit. Rich Korth and Kyla Evers of CrossFit 808 made up time on the toes-to-bars, and they were the first team to the shoulder-to-overhead with the axle bar. The men had a 160-lb. bar while the women were lifting 100 lbs.
Korth of CrossFit 808 began struggling with the bar, repeatedly failing to clean it to the rack position. Abandoning her bar, Evers stepped in to help him get the bar to his shoulder. Still, the CrossFit 808 team maintained their lead, although Diablo and Rocklin started to make up ground.
CrossFit 808 was the first to the 90 feet of walking lunges, but when Korth dropped the bar, Diablo CrossFit moved in. For a moment, the men of CrossFit 808 and Diablo CrossFit were neck-and-neck in a slow-motion walking lunge race, but Korth dropped the bar again.
Moving steadily forward, the Diablo CrossFit team got both athletes across the finish line, to win the event with a time of 9:26.
Even though they won, Jamie Lee of Diablo CrossFit said this event was a struggle.
“The shoulder-to-overhead was really taxing on the shoulders especially after the handstand push-ups,” Lee said. “But the key is strong communication and moving together as a team throughout the event."
With CrossFit 808 stalled out on the lunges, Rocklin CrossFit moved into second. The Rocklin team of Jennie McKernan and Gary Baron finished strong with a time of 9:48. Baron dropped to the ground after the event, in apparent pain.
“Gary is hurt, but he is a powerhouse," McKernan said.
Meanwhile, CrossFit 808 was still working. With Evers urging him on, Korth’s legs gave out just before the finish line. He cleaned the bar, stumbled, took a faltering step, and dropped the bar again.
Lifeworx passed CrossFit 808 and took a third place, with a time of 10:23.
With the finish line inches away, Korth again cleaned the bar. Legs shaking, he made it across the line, followed by Evers. CrossFit 808 took fourth with a time of 11:46. This doesn’t move them out of first place, but it’s the team’s lowest finish so far in the competition.
Rocklin is in third place after Event 6. They have competed at the NorCal Regional three years in a row with almost the same team. They are hoping this is their year.
“We just want to take it all the way to the Games,” McKernan said.
“I have been doing CrossFit for three years and have been with this team for three years. This is our year," she said.
1. Diablo CrossFit (9:26)
2. Rocklin CrossFit (9:48)
3. Lifeworx (10:23)
1. CrossFit 808 (13)
2. Diablo CrossFit (21)
3. Rocklin CrossFit (21)