The Individual men, fresh from a day off following Wednesday’s events at Camp Pendleton, started Friday’s competition with the Broad Jump, an event that was originally scheduled for Wednesday.
To avoid slipping on the rain-slick ground, the athletes competed beneath the Home Depot Center to attempt to stick their landings on a graduated long-jump mat.
The big men clearly owned the Broad Jump. Nate Schrader leaped 117.00 in one of the early heats, and he actually had a 120 (10 full feet) no-repped for a bad landing. He said landing was challenging because you couldn’t land wide in a squat stance, but the second-place finisher from the Mid Atlantic Region didn’t need the 10-foot jump in the end.
Schrader’s leap was just beyond Spencer Hendel’s 115.50 and Aja Barto’s 114.00.
Matt Chan jumped 106.50 and said his strategy was to go “safe, push it a little harder but stay safe, and then go for it and see what happens.” He had hoped for 108.00 and was pleased to come very close to that target.
The athletes then headed to the track for med-ball mayhem as the men hooked into GHDs and started launching 4-lb. balls downfield.
With only 20 seconds to unload racks loaded with 10 balls, speed and coordination played a big part in determining the winner. The more balls in play well down the field, the better the score.
In the second part of the event, the Track Triplet, athletes were faced with a buy-in run before three rounds of 8 split snatches (115 lb.), 7 bar muscle-ups and a 400-meter run.
A 115-lb. snatch isn’t enough for weight to challenge the strength of the world’s best CrossFitters, so the workout was all about maintaining high power output on the snatches and muscle-ups before gritting the teeth for a grueling 400.
In the first men’s heat Joey Warren crossed the line in 8:39.2 and set the early pace, although he didn’t manage to launch his med-balls far down the field and tied for 23rd in the Ball Toss
“Move fast, stay calm, breathe slow,” Jason Khalipa said of his strategy for the Track Triplet. The second heat saw the 2008 CrossFit Games champion take an early lead, gaining ground on the snatches. As Khalipa rounded the corner on his final run, he ripped off his gloves and threw them to the ground. The crowd roared as he pulled ahead to easily win his heat with a time of 8:49.
Lucas Parker, a small but thick athlete, surprised many by launching his med-balls well across the field to tie Dan Bailey for fourth overall in the Ball Toss. Parker finished the Track Triplet in 9:03, good for 16th.
“The type of athlete I am, I always have a strong finish,” Parker said. “Sometimes I wait too long to make my move, but this one was long enough I knew I could hold back and finish strong.”
Of note to many, Parker remained fully clothed after an exhibition that is now referred to as “the Parker incident” at Camp Pendleton.
The third heat did not start out well for Daniel Tyminski. He struggled with the med-ball toss and took 43rd place with his throws.
“I threw the ball really bad,” Tyminski said. “It was fuel for me to go harder.”
Dan Bailey, known for having the fastest 400-meter run of all the CrossFit competitors, started out in the lead. By the time Bailey got to the second run, he had a pained look on his face as he rounded the track. Tyminski then pulled ahead in the second set of snatches and muscle-ups.
“I knew the snatches and muscle-ups would be easy,” Tyminski said, “so my strategy was to make up time there. Bailey passed me on the first run, but I didn’t worry because I knew I’d make it up.”
By the third run, Tyminiski had about a quarter-track lead over Graham Holmberg and Chris Spealler, who were in a fight for second. As they came around the track for the final run, Spealler started to overtake Holmberg and dove across the finish line to gain a slight edge over Holmberg with a time of 8:14.8. He was clocked one-tenth of a second ahead of the 2010 Games winner.
Chad Mackay used his size to his advantage to win the med-ball toss, but he quickly fell behind in the Track Triplet. The final heat saw 2011 Reebok CrossFit Games champ Rich Froning move into second place early on, behind Kenneth Leverich. Ben Smith, a favorite to win the 2012 competition, struggled on the bar muscle-ups and fell behind as Matt Chan pulled into the lead.
Chan held his lead until the last run, when Froning made his move. Although he started out about 20 feet behind Chan, Froning kicked it into second gear, lengthened his stride, and pulled ahead of Chan to win his heat with a time of 8:15.
Mackay scored 72 points in the Ball Toss to take first, Chan was second with 69, and Froning was third with 68.
On the Track Triplet, Tyminski’s 8:03.2 from Heat 3 stood up. Interestingly enough, Spealler’s 8:14.8, also set in Heat 3, stood up for second, with Holmberg third at 8:14.9. In the final men’s heat, Froning let up at the finish line and finished fourth with 8:15.6. A few extra hard strides would have earned him second.
Overall, Rich Froning is first with 366 points, Kyle Kasperbauer is second with 355 points, and Matt Chan is third with 353 points.
After tonight’s opening ceremonies, the Individual competitors have a date with big-ass med balls and parallette handstand push-ups.