Team after team got off to lightning fast starts only to watch their teammates struggle with one of CrossFit’s most difficult movements: the muscle-up.
Even though Chicago, Illinois, was gloomy and pouring rain Friday morning, hundreds of fans cheered loudly, creating a party-like vibe inside Festival Hall on Navy Pier for Day 1 of the North Central Regional.
The first event was all about strong finishes. In each heat, team after team got off to lightning fast starts only to watch their teammates struggle with one of CrossFit’s most difficult movements: the muscle-up.
There was no place to hide as each team member had to work together as pairs of male and female athletes strained and gutted out sets of 15, 12 and 9 reps of each movement to be completed before the 16-minute time cap.
In Heat 3, six teams jumped out to a blazing start as their first male athletes all broke the one-minute mark. The top-finishing team in the Open, On Track of Olathe, Kansas, was first to the bar for the 135-lb. clean and jerks at 51 seconds. However, On Track was unable to hold the overall lead, dropping to 12th place, proving it’s not how you start, but how you finish that counts.
In the final heat of Event 1, CrossFit Green Bay got the early-morning crowd cheering by taking first place with a 7:25 finish. Finishing nearly two minutes ahead of the rest of the field, the muscle-ups were no problem for any of the Green Bay members. Anna Schumacher and Justin Peterson both went unbroken on the 15 muscle-ups to kick start the workout, and that was exactly their plan.
“Our strategy was for Justin and I to go unbroken on the muscle-ups and then break up the clean and jerks as needed,” Schumacher said. “Everyone else had to break up their muscle-ups and try to go straight through their clean and jerks unbroken. We felt pretty good going into this one.”
Having a strategy ahead of time was critical.
“We never practiced the whole workout as a whole team, we just practiced the workouts in segments,” Peterson said. “Then we figured out who would be best at which places.”
Event 1 Results
1. CrossFit Green Bay (7:25)
2. CrossFit Omaha (9:14)
3. CrossFit T-Town (9:25)
There was little time to rest as the next two events kicked off a mere 20 minutes after the conclusion of Event 1.
Event 2 got started with a combined hang snatch for total weight with each athlete getting only two chances to establish a max lift. In this test of strength, it was the group from CrossFit St. Louis in Missouri, who flexed their collective muscles and heaved a 1,145 lb. total to win Event 2.
“We kind of found it ironic that we won, because we didn't practice that (event) very well,” David Cornthwaite said. “We got out there with a half-ass plan and ended up with only 30 seconds to get our last two guys in.”
Both Cornthwaite and teammate Cory Buerck wanted to hit a 245-lb. hang snatch to seal the deal for St. Louis.
“Cory picked it up with about 13 seconds on the clock and ended up missing it and I had to in with only about five or six seconds left,” Cornthwaite said. “I said to myself, ‘Well, you just got to go—just try to get it in.’ But I felt really good and hit it.”
It wasn’t just the men who hit big numbers for CrossFit St. Louis. Katie Boyer managed a 160-lb. hang snatch for the St. Louis women.
“You have to take into account the 10-minute rest that you have just being corralled, so we went lower (in weight) than we wanted, but we knew we could hit it,” Boyer said. “It was a confidence thing.”
Team Event 2 Results
1. CrossFit St. Louis (1,145)
2. CrossFit Kilo (1,065)
3. Timberwolf CrossFit (1,055)
Teams then had just two minutes to line up each member to traverse the 120-foot rubber mat one at a time for a combined distance on handstand walks.
With a maximum team result of 720 total feet, athlete after athlete failed to keep their balance and fight shoulder fatigue to complete this gymnastics event. For some athletes, this meant using very creative techniques to stretch out a maximum distance.
Hope Nelson of CrossFit Cedar Rapids in Cedar Rapids, Iowa was the first competitor to attempt an inventive backward-style handstand as she trekked toward the finish mat with her stomach facing the end. Nelson was able to successfully rack up a score of 115 ft.
While no group scored the full total, CrossFit Kilo was able to pace out an impressive 615 total feet to finish first, and CrossFit St. Louis at 500 feet finished close behind.
Team Event 3 Results
1. CrossFit Kilo (615)
2. CrossFit St. Louis (500)
3. 540 Beefy (480)
1. CrossFit Kilo (9)
2. CrossFit T-Town (15)
3. Timberwolf CrossFit (16)