The NorCal teams have had three weeks to watch other regions, to practice and strategize. Now, it’s their turn.
As previous regional competitions have shown, one star can’t carry a team. To succeed, all must do well. Last year’s regional qualifiers, CrossFit 808, Diablo CrossFit Anejo and Rocklin CrossFit, came to San Jose, California, looking to defend their titles.
In order to win, they’ll have to hold off challengers NorCal CrossFit—featuring Games vet Pat Barber and powerhouse Miranda Oldroyd—and last year’s fourth-place finisher CrossFit Santa Cruz.
After taking a first place on Event 2 and second on Event 1, Rocklin CrossFit Honeybadgers finished in first place at the end of Day 1, with CrossFit 808 in second and Diablo CrossFit in third. It’s a very familiar looking Leaderboard, with last year’s champions on top yet again.
Fourth-place Caffeine and Kilos has two days and five events to make up ground and crack the top three.
The formula for winning Event 1 and setting an event record is simple: go unbroken. On everything.
NorCal CrossFit accomplished this difficult task and not only won Event 1, but set a decisive event record. All three men and women on the team never let go of the rings or the bar, racing through their reps and finishing the descending ladder of muscle-ups and clean and jerks in 6:05, more than a minute faster than the previous record of 7:11 set by CrossFit Conjugate Black in the Central East on Week 2.
The event did not start well for Barber, the lead athlete for NorCal CrossFit. While he worked on his 15 muscle-ups, Barber swung wildly from side to side, at one point pushing off the pull-up rig with his feet to get back into position.
After the event, Barber laughed about his unusual muscle-up experience.
“I am working on a new technique on muscle-ups,” Barber said. “Fatigue yourself to the point of exhaustion.”
Oldroyd added: “And scare your team that the rings were going to be like that for the whole team.”
Rocklin CrossFit Honeybadgers had its first man to the clean and jerks, but once Barber made it to the bar he closed the gap, and was the second man to finish the set of 15.
Then it was Oldroyd’s turn. She was able to complete her muscle-ups smoothly and helped her team take the lead, which they held for the rest of the event finishing in first.
After the win, Oldroyd said everything went as planned, despite Barber’s unusual start.
“That was the time we’ve been getting in practice and we just did what we did in practice,” Oldroyd said.
Rocklin CrossFit Honeybadgers finished in second, more than a minute after NorCal CrossFit. In third place was last year’s Regional champions, CrossFit 808. The affiliate fielded two teams this year, and their second team, CrossFit 808 Plan B, came in fourth overall with a time of nine minutes.
“We practiced it a few times,” Jay Bernardo of 808 Plan B said after the event. “We had a plan. Teams from other regions said stick to the plan, so we figured if we got off the beaten path we would destroy ourselves. So we stuck to our plan.”
CrossFit Santa Cruz, favorites going into the weekend, had trouble getting all teammates through the muscle-ups. With one muscle-up left, its last female, Karla Ferguson, paused for several seconds, looking up at the swaying rings. She then hopped up and completed a smooth muscle-up, raced to the bar for nine unbroken clean and jerks, and hopped on the finish mat. The team finished in 14:42, in 11th place.
Going into the last two events of the day, Barber said his plan for Event 2 was to play it safe on the snatch, “then go out on Event 3 and nail the handstand walks,” he said.
Team Event 1 Results
1. NorCal CrossFit (6:05)
2. Rocklin CrossFit Honeybadgers (7:13)
3. CrossFit 808 (7:58)
In Event 2, each of the six team members had two chances to put their hands on the bar and complete a successful hang squat snatch.
Diablo CrossFit Anejo claimed the heaviest male and female lifts, taking second in the event. Pete Lemone set the tone for his team, opening with 185 lb. Following him, Vanessa Santillan opened for the females with 125 lb. and later matched her PR of 135 lb. Jamie Lee finished the event with 270 lb., the heaviest weight for males during this event, and his wife and teammate, Christy, matched her PR with 150 lb., the heaviest for the females.
During the course of the event, Diablo never missed an attempt, "every lift was solid," Allyce Garcia said.
Eleni Friediani added: "Our goal for the weekend was slow and steady, talk to the judge, make sure we're not rushing, and try to execute with no no-reps."
Competition nerves got the best of some athletes, with a number of athletes missing their lifts in dramatic fashion. An athlete from CrossFit 808 fell backward, the bar landing on his midsection.
Despite its plan to play it safe on the snatches, Nick Zambruno, of NorCal CrossFit, lost control of the bar on both of his attempts at 205 lb. Barber, trying to make up ground for his team, made his final lift of 245 lb., a look of triumph on his face as he stood up with the bar.
Showing it’s not about the heaviest snatches, but about the total weight achieved, Rocklin CrossFit Honeybadgers showed consistency and accuracy, winning the event with a combined weight of 1,115 lb., putting them in the top spot overall after Day 1.
CrossFit 808 showcased their gymnastics ability—an important skill in this year’s regional competition—by winning Event 3, the max-distance handstand walk. They accumulated 640 feet between all six teammates, well ahead of second-place NorCal CrossFit, whose members walked 565 feet.
Team Event 2 Results
1. Rocklin CrossFit Honeybadgers (1115)
2. Diablo CrossFit Anejo (1110)
3. Caffeine and Kilos (1070)
Team Event 3 Results
1. CrossFit 808 (640)
2. NorCal CrossFit (565)
3T. Rocklin CrossFit Honeybadgers (500)
3T. North Rim CrossFit Black (500)
1. Rocklin CrossFit Honeybadgers (6)
2. CrossFit 808 (12)
3. Diablo CrossFit Anejo (14)
4. Caffeine and Kilos (18)
5. NorCal CrossFit (22)
6. CrossFit Santa Cruz (22)
7. North Rim CrossFit Black (25)
8. CrossFit 808 Plan B (27)
9. CrossFit Natomas (30)
10. CrossFit Anywhere (34)