“This is exactly what we were looking for. Something that would just take it to them," Dave Castro said.
Chilly temperatures and crystal clear skies greeted the athletes as they took the field for the much dreaded and anticipated return of a 100s workout for Event 4. Athletes would have to work through 100 reps each of wall balls, chest-to-bar pull-ups, pistols and dumbbell snatches at 70 lb. for men and 50 lb. for women. As temperatures rose, so did the fervor of the crowd, encouraging athletes in their pursuit of what proved to be a rather elusive 400th rep.
Much like in 2011, this 100s workout tested athletes’ mental fortitude, ability to work through pain and grip strength.
For the pistols and dumbbell snatches, athletes advanced one spot up the mat every 20 reps, making it easier for spectators to see how far competitors were into their sets. The setup also upped the drama factor as athletes jockeyed for position against competitors in adjacent lanes.
Games veteran Spencer Hendel, who was 24 dumbbell snatches shy of finishing the workout, was the first to move on to the pull-up bar after finishing his 100 wall balls. But he visibly struggled with the rest of the movements.
“I’m definitely disappointed,” Hendel says. “I expected to finish, but the hurt on this workout was too hard to overcome. Definitely one of the hardest workouts I’ve ever done.”
The fear of the 100s was validated when only four men and two women finished Event 4 in the 25-minute time cap.
Director of the CrossFit Games Dave Castro, in attendance for the Saturday workouts, seemed pleased with his design.
“This is exactly what we were looking for,” Castro says. “Something that would just take it to them.”
Only two men finished the workout in Heat 3. Heat 4, which was comprised of the top 12 athletes going into Event 4, also had only two competitors cross the finish line.
Austin Malleolo, who finished the event with over two minutes to spare, knew it would all come down to the snatches.
“The dumbbell snatch was the workout. The rest was strategy,” Malleolo says. “Don’t rip because you’re only halfway through the WOD, and control your heart rate until you have to cook, then cook. As always, high intensity sucks. There’s no defense, that’s the best part of our sport.”
Craig Kenney won Heat 3, and his time edged out Daniel Tyminski for second place in the event by one second.
“I was about where I wanted to be on pull-ups, but the pistols hurt my legs and they started tightening up. They loosened back up at the end,” Tyminski says. “(The 70-lb. dumbbell felt) super light, I was actually surprised how light it felt. I just tried to stay leg dominant on the snatches.”
1. Austin Malleolo (22:55)
2. Craig Kenney (24:42)
3T. Daniel Tyminski (24:43)
3T. Eric Schenck (24:43)
1. Austin Malleolo (14 points)
2. Daniel Tyminski (14 points)
3. Eric Magee (27 points)
After three gut-wrenching and bloody heats of Event 4, no woman had gotten within 30 reps of finishing the workout.
With event staff working hard to clean the blood off pull-up bars between heats, it was clear that even though athletes were allowed to wear hand wraps, blisters and tears were inevitable.
Mel Ockerby finished Event 4 in seventh place, and fortunately, her hands looked a lot better than they did after the original 100s workout at the 2011 Regionals.
“I practiced sets of 15 [pull-ups], that was too much, so I went with 10, and I was happy with that strategy,” Ockerby says. “I moved to Reebok [CrossFit One] in January, where they have Rogue bars and they’re a little slicker. I started using tape grips, and I’d never used those before, so I was prepared in case something like this came up. You can’t really save anything at this level, but I went hard and my hands feel fine.”
Amanda Goodman was the first woman off the pull-up bar and the first to finish her pistols. Kaleena Ladeairous struggled with her pull-ups after finishing the wall balls well ahead of other competitors, which gave Goodman and Ockerby the chance to overtake her. But Ladeairous stormed back with machine-like precision on her pistols and caught Goodman halfway through the snatches. The back-and-forth gave the North East its most exciting heat thus far.
“That was horrible. Pull-ups are not my thing,” Ladeairous says. “I knew if I could get through the pull-ups, I would cruise through the pistols and snatches.”
Ladeairous indeed cruised through her snatches, and after catching up to Goodman, she won an all-out race to the finish.
Goodman and Ladeairous were the only two women to complete Event 4 under the 25-minute time cap.
“I wanted to keep some in the tank for the power snatches,” Goodman says. “We knew this workout was going to be a grind from the beginning. I am very happy with my performance. Of course I wish I could have pushed a bit harder at the end to beat Kaleena to the finish, but her performance in this workout just shows how much of a competitor she is.”
1. Kaleena Ladeairous (23:19)
2. Amanda Goodman (24:11)
3. Stacey Kroon (25:30)
1. Danielle Horan (10 points)
2. Amanda Goodman (11 points)
3. Stacey Kroon (17 points)
Event 4, a sprint chipper where athletes completed 30 reps each of four movements, exposed any and every individual weakness among team members. Athletes had to complete the workout sequentially, and teams only finished when their last member crossed the finish line.
Six teams were unable to complete the workout under the 25-minute time cap.
While some athletes flew through the chest-to-bar pull-ups, others ended up resorting to single repetitions. The pistol mat was another challenge for some as they worked to complete the movement any way they could. Veteran competitors like Rachel Martinez, Joe Masley and Jessa Lemoine, however, flew through the pistols in textbook fashion.
James Hobart, the first man on the field for CrossFit New England Team A, was neck and neck with Mike Abgarian of CrossFit King of Island Park through the pistols, though he pulled ahead during the dumbbell snatches.
“Everyone knows who Hobart is,” Abgarian says. “It was cool just to be up against him. I knew he was stronger and would be faster at the dumbbells, but still, it’s just great to be doing this.”
Their teams finished the workout in first and second, with King of Island Park getting their last athlete across the finish line a mere 19 seconds after CFNE Team A.
Kylee Claxton, who anchored Team Dynamix to a third-place finish, had the crowd chanting her name as she hit the last 10 reps of dumbbell snatches.
“My coach said to me, ‘Do you need a pre-workout?’ and I said, 'The crowd is my pre-workout!’ This is exactly why I went Team, because it’s not just about yourself.”
1. CFNE Team A (16:16)
2. CrossFit King of Island Park (16:35)
3. Team Dynamix (16:56)
1. Team Dynamix
2. CFNE Team A
3. CrossFit King of Island Park
The athletes return this afternoon for Event 5 as clouds roll in over Reebok Headquarters in Canton.