“If you still aren’t fit enough to climb without your legs, figure out why and do something about it.”
This afternoon, individual athletes took on Event 4, a descending triplet of handstand push-ups, front squats and burpees, and Event 5, 10 rounds of legless rope climbs and a 200-foot sprint. Both proved to be a challenge for many athletes in the North East.
Despite this being the first time legless rope climbs showed up at regionals, they are nothing new.
The skill was tested in the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games event, Legless. Many athletes had to learn the skill on the fly, including 2013 North East Regional champion Dani Horan.
On July 23, 2002, nearly 14 years ago, the WOD on CrossFit.com called for a 30-minute AMRAP of 10 reps bench press at half body weight and one rope climb (no legs).
The note, accompanying the workout description read: “If you still aren’t fit enough to climb without your legs, figure out why and do something about it.”
James Wozniak set the time to beat on Heat 2. He started out strong on the round of 21. Robby Teixera went rep-for-rep with him on the round of 21, resting on his head rather than coming off the wall on the handstand push-ups. Wozniak passed him on the round of 15 and never looked back. His time of 11:22 was the fourth best time for the event.
“I expected events 3 through 7 to go my way,” Wozniak said. “I knew Event 4 was a big strength for me. The strategy was to go as fast as I possibly can, and take the early lead.”
In the last heat, Austin Malleolo trailed behind behind Mathew Fraser during the round of 21 and 15, but James Hobart went unbroken in the set of nine handstand push-ups to pull ahead, and finished 12 seconds ahead of Malleolo.
“I knew I needed to stay ahead of Hobart,” Malleolo said. “But then he got one set unbroken and I didn’t, and he got me. Just like in training."
“I burpee’d a lot slower then I was going to, but I was tired because I went faster elsewhere and was feeling a little gassed. But I’m happy with it,” Hobart said.
Fraser, who took his time getting from the barbell back to the wall for his handstand push-ups, won the event, finishing over a minute ahead of Hobart, who took second place.
“Some workouts,” Fraser said, “I’ll push it, but for the most part, there are no extra points for winning by two minutes. I wanted to stay in first, so I got to a place where I was comfortable that I could do that, then I watched everyone and I knew I had some time so I could walk, catch my breath, and finish strong.”
Event 4 Results
1. Mathew Fraser (9:00)
2. James Hobart (10:02)
3. Austin Malleolo (10:14)
Some athletes in the early heats started out flying, kipping or air-running up the ropes, but had a hard time finishing the event.
Wozniak, once again, set the time to beat during Heat 2. The 5-foot-6 athlete started out at a blazing speed and never slowed down.
“In my gym we only have 11-foot ropes,” Wozniak said. “So this was the first time I’ve done this workout I guess. I saw some guys in SoCal come out strong, and my goal was sub-four.”
His time of 3:47 was only bested by one man on Heat 4, the 6-foot-2 Spencer Hendel. Hendel came into the event a clear favorite, and did not disappoint.
“I knew if I gave it my all I had a chance to win this one, take one for the big guys,” Hendel said. “I was getting a big jump, and then one, two, touch the whole time.”
Joe Kearney, who hasn’t finished an Event outside of the top 10 all weekend, had the fourth fastest time for the event and is in third place after Day 2. Kearney and Craig Kenney are tied with 31 points each.
“I knew watching the other regions that through rounds three and four everyone is at the same pace,” Kearney said. “I kept the same pace, then ratcheted up my pace in each of the following rounds because I knew I wouldn’t fail. I tested this workout about four times.”
Event 5 Results
1. Spencer Hendel (3:44)
2. James Wozniak (3:47)
3. David Dubin (3:50)
Men's Overall Standings
1. Mathew Fraser (13)
2. Craig Kenney (31)
3. Joe Kearney (31)
4. James Hobart (35)
5. Spencer Hendel (49)
6. Austin Malleolo (52)
7. Anthony Vorachak (53)
8. Nicholas DelGrande (65)
9. Brooks Farrar (68)
10. Logan Schecter (73)
The demand of the strict handstand push-ups led to athletes resorting to single reps as early as the round of 15.
Sheila Barden was the clear leader throughout her heat. Megin Oczkowski kept up with Barden on the round of 21 and 15, but was overtaken by Dani Horan, who came on strong on the round of nine, and finished in second place.
“I went about 30 seconds faster than practice,” Barden said. “I executed exactly like I wanted especially sticking to my game plan for the sets of handstand push-ups. And it was really nice having Dani (Horan) to push me to go just a little bit faster.”
Oczkowski came into the day one point out of third place and finished the Event in third overall.
“This workout,” Oczkowski said, “I knew I needed to place higher because it’s one of my stronger ones.”
Event 4 Results
1. Sheila Barden (9:26)
2. Dani Horan (10:00)
3. Megin Oczkowski (10:32)
Games athlete Kaleena Ladeairous came into the day in eighth place, and needed a strong performance on Day 2 if she wanted to have a shot of going back to Carson.
After a disappointing 17th-place finish on Event 4, she had her height as an advantage on Event 5, but failed to perform as she needed.
She came out fast, and looked to be on pace to finish the event, but she started struggling with the rope climbs, and the clock ran out.
When asked what happened, she shook her head and said: “They just got hard.”
Former gymnast Rachel Goldenberg won the Event, displaying some of the prettiest rope climbs of the day.
“I was hoping to be one of the top finishers,” Goldenberg said. “ I’ve done legless rope climbs my whole life being in gymnastics. I did them very young. I have more upper body strength than lower body strength. I practiced the whole thing one time and a variation of it again. It was a lot of fun for me.”
Barden finished the Event in second, and overtook both Rachel Martinez and Horan for the first-place spot at the end of Day 2.
Horan, ever the picture of consistency, had her worst finish of the weekend on this event, taking sixth place, and now sits in second place, with the same amount of points as Martinez.
Event 5 Results
1. Rachel Goldenberg (5:42)
2. Shelia Barden (6:12)
3. Rachel Martinez (6:44)
Women Overall Day 2
1. Shelia Barden (16)
2. Dani Horan (17)
3. Rachel Martinez (17)
4. Rachel Goldenberg (24)
5. Megin Oczkowski (32)
6. Jessa Lemoine (39)
7. Keidy Toomey (53)
8. Sara Hill Mass (55)
9. Lauren Conner (57)
10. Kristen Kane (58)