To say the environment leading athletes and spectators into the Central East is bleak is an understatement. After two days of competition the skys are clouding and the rain is coming as if to ratchet the tension higher. Today is a day of finality; of last chances and long walks home. You can see it written all over the faces of those remaining. Those willing to push through for one more day; for one more chance.
The radically different feel of the third and final day is felt most within the athletes village. As they listen to their first event description, athletes seem to glare, somehow already predicting what's coming. While the machine like bodies sit patiently waiting for their instruction to end, their minds appear to be on the floor tackling their first, and possibly last task of the day: the snatch ladder.
For the teams, competitors will have 50 seconds for each member to complete the snatch before advancing to the next round. Those members who can not complete the lift head back off the floor. Individuals must complete 20 double-unders before moving on to their snatch attempt. If a lift cannot be completed, they can turn back to the rope and score more points with extra double-unders. Not to mention the fact that the field has been dwindled significantly. Since Event 1 there have been withdrawals in the men’s and women’s divisions. Some team members and individuals failed to finish the 10 dumbbell snatches required to advance to Event 5.
As the women from each team begin attempting rep after rep, some go far, some go nowhere. After making the 70lb. dumbbell snatches look weightless in Event 3, the crowd wanted to see what Dawn Elsea of Friendship CrossFit was going to bring to this workout.
“Strength is definitely my strength,” Elsea said after completing a snatch at 165lb.
Working as a nurse manager, Dawn has a Master’s in business and is currently finishing up her second Master’s degree in human health administration. Lifting for more than 25 years, Elsea has spent the last two years working on and off in regards to her her CrossFit training. Though she was able to get 170lb. over her head, the 44-year-old was no-repped and walked off the floor to cheers from the crowd. With Elsea’s help, Friendship CrossFit has shown that the sport is not just about skills, strength or functional movement - it’s also about fun. And they’re having fun.
When all was said and done, Julianne Broadbent of SPC CrossFit, was clearly the highlight of the female snatch ladder. Broadbent was the lone athlete to tackle the maze of barbells and she managed to power through the first two rows of barbells, and put the 165lb. bar overhead as the audience erupted. Broadbent left the floor after meeting the 170lb. bar. “We practiced that WOD before,” Broadbent says after completing the event. “It was a 10lb. PR for me. I was hoping for 160lb., so I’m obviously happy with 165lb. I can’t wait for the last workout. It’s our favorite. We love muscle-ups.”
As male members of Regional teams moved into their ladder, the 185lb. bar was the first hurdle for some. A tower of cards were stacked at the 215lb. mark and the determination of these athletes was all over the floor. The weights hit the floor with a heavy thud, CrossFit Rutherford set the bar completing the lift at 235lb. CrossFit CHF threatened to take that bar down as they approached 245lb. and did just that, completing the lift but walked off the floor after two failed attempts at the 255lb. bar.
When the bell finally rang, it was Darin Weeks of Practice CrossFit who finally broke the spell of the 255lb. bar late into the ladder. Weeks laughed after an explosion of applause from the audience followed his lift of 265lb. and it only got louder after a short pause at the squat and a completed 275lb. lift. Weeks would humbly leave the floor with a 10lb PR. “It’s scary when you go up to a bar and there is no chalk on it. You know no-one has been there,” he said.
1. SPC CrossFit (1105)
2. CrossFit Faith (1090)
3. Jacked and Tan (1060)
1. SPC CrossFit
2. Rogue Gahanna
3. CrossFit Faith
The individual female competitors arrive at their first bar with the weight of two days of competition on their backs and yet top spot holders; Lindy Barber, Lindsey McDuffie, Michelle Kinney, Lindsey Smith and the girl everyone’s watching this weekend - Julie Foucher - calmly begin their journey down the barbell labyrinth.
Lindy Barber moved through the ladder to the 145lb. bar but when she couldn’t lift it on the first attempt, she turned back to the rope. Kinney showed her strength early but faltered at the 140lb. bar choosing to stop as opposed to immediately attempting to better her score with additional double-unders.
The seriousness of Event 5 was clear, but a PR is a PR. It may not be game winning, but it still raises spirits as Heather Welsh jumped up and down with the crowd cheering her on hitting 140lb. Welsh also was an example of how the fight for placement is on the minds of many today. Unable to complete the 145lb., Welsh ran straight to the rope to score as many points as she could as she fights for the third spot. “I was hoping for 140lb. and I got it,” Welsh said. “The sixth workout will come down to whoever wants it more. I’m real happy with my performance thus far.”
Taylor Drescher, 20th going into the ladder, took 2nd place with 155lb. which moves her up into 13th. “After four events, I was happy with hitting 155,” Drescher said. “It wasn’t as bad as I thought but as it got heavier I would take extra seconds to catch my breath.”
Shrugging her shoulders with a slight smile, Foucher entered her second to last event with a substantial lead over her competition. With Coach and friend Doug Chapman watching and cheering along with the rest of the world, unable to contain the energy and excitement. Foucher reminded viewers for the fifth time in a row, why she is currently in 1st place gracefully moving past the 145lb. bar to a new personal record of 150lb., leaving Lindsey Smith all alone.
Smith successfully snatched the 160lb. bar for an Event 5 victory. The competitor appears to be all business today as Event 5 left her frustrated. “I had higher expectations,” Smith said. “But overall I’m happy with taking 1st place.”
After this, Smith said she’s going home to focus on more work yet to be done. “I’m excited for the final WOD. It’s CrossFit at its finest. I’m just going to go out there and have fun.”
1. Lindsey Smith (160 lbs.)
2. Taylor Drescher (155.03 lbs.)
3. Julie Foucher (150.18 lbs.)
1. Julie Foucher
2. Lindsey Smith
3. Heather Welsh
Jeff Edwards of CrossFit Broad Ripple was the first of the male competitors to take a lead, at the 225lb. barbell. Several individuals were out of competition between the 175lb. and 195lb. barbell, showing just how much of a toll has been taken on these athletes who logged personal records higher than what they achieved during competition.
Eventually Urankar and Panchik moved quickly through the ladder to the 255lb. barbell but Urankar could not recover his squat beneath the 265lb. barbell. Urankar ran to his rope after his first failed attempt leaving all eyes on Panchik as he tried and failed to complete the lift of 265lb. And then there were four; Froning, Bailey, Holmberg and Hendren were left on the floor.
Hendren stunned the crowd becoming the first man to complete the 265lb. snatch while Holmberg walked away at 245lb. Hendren left the floor after failing at the 275lb. barbell leaving two best friends and top two athletes alone within the spectrum of bars.
Bailey, missing several first rep attempts at numerous bars, finally walks to the side after failing at a respectful 275lb. Froning, with three bars left to completion and every competitor except Bailey on the opposite side of the gates observing, successfully pulled 275lb. solidifying his Event 5 victory with the largest ladder lift within the Central East.
As the 2011 CrossFit Games champion leaves the floor he hugs competitor Dan Bailey making it look all too natural for both men to be the last ones standing.
1. Rich Froning (257)
2. Marcus Hendren (265.27)
3. Dan Bailey (265.07)
1. Rich Froning
2. Dan Bailey
3. Graham Holmberg