This is it.
Athletes within the Central East demonstrate just how well trained they are when day Day 2 of the Central East kicks off in true CrossFit fashion. Never blink; you miss greatness. Listen closely; every decimal is one rep closer to victory. Always absorb; that big show feeling can last a lifetime.
The dust has settled on Diane and the debilitating hang power cleans of the first day of Regional competition in the Central East. Day 1 at the Ohio Expo Center set the stage for high expectations going into Day 2. World Records have been set. There was an abundance of PRs and even a few disappointments.
As athletes enter the Central East arena it becomes more and more clear that Colombus, Ohio - the hub of the Central East - is making a killing … on coffee. With beverage in hand, athletes greet a newly re-worked battle ground full of domineering dumbbells, and judges preparing to uphold a standard that clearly reflects the attitude of the Central East - proof by action, not verse. “The 70lb. snatch scared the hell out of me,” said Kristie Waltz.
Meanwhile, SPC CrossFit’s Julianne Broadbent was feeling good about her team’s standing at the top spot in team competition – but she said they’re keeping their eye on CrossFit Naptown, which were nipping at their heels.
Day 1 of the Central East Regional introduced athletes to a cornucopia of challenges, including superior tests of timing, and preparation, enhanced by the sheer demand placed on them physically. Yet today, before athletes enter a true test of teamwork, they must pass a test of strength. A test some fail, and others pass.
Teams of two, one male and one female are faced with completing three rounds each of 10 one-arm dumbbell snatches followed by the sprint. The crowd behind Hillary Shop of CrossFit Future was deafening as she struggled to get the dumbbell overhead. In the end, she didn’t get past the first round and her team did not finish. “Hillary couldn’t snatch the dumbbell a few weeks ago,” said coach Mark Dankow. “It’s a huge accomplishment she got as far as she did.”
Other teams like team PCF and Jacked and Tan, prove their consistency and dedication on the second day in a row showing a methodical consistent approach. A sort of gamesmanship that seems to hold true to several teams who came to play for more than just a single day’s event; teams like Jacked and Tan with the likes of Taylor Layman who skipped his law school graduation to compete next to fiancé Jessica Travers. “I’d be wearing my engagement ring if I wasn’t snatching 70lb.,” Travers said.
However, brute strength and a gas tank to boot pays off in spades in the second team heat when Friendship CrossFit breaks the current Event 3 world record with a time of 4:57, besting CrossFit Greensboro’s previous record of 4:58. By the end of Heat 1, that record stood as strong as Dawn Elsea – who made that 70lb. dumbbell look easy. Elsea and teammate Juice Weaver completed the workout with each set unbroken. “We feel great,” Weaver said. “I had two no-reps and didn’t want that to happen … We will take our 15 minutes. I was worried there were a couple of really good teams out there.”
Asked how she made the snatch look so easy, 44-year-old Elsea, a former competitive body builder replied with a smile. “I’ve been lifting longer than most of these kids have been alive.”
1. Friendship CrossFit (4:57)
2. SPC CrossFit (5:24)
3. Jacked and Tan (5:45)
1. SPC Crossfit
2. Team Faction
3. Rogue Gahanna
Before the Central East Males tackle Event 3, another record is broken away from the competition floor. It’s the crowd, and they have grown to such staggering levels that the fire marshal is frequently witnessed taking a head count.
Shawn Stauffer, who started Regional competition on Day One in the men’s star-studded heat alongside Froning, Holmberg and Bailey, powered through the dumbbell snatches in the first heat. “I trained that workout more than the others,” he said. “I was ready. Competing with the big dogs definitely motivates you.”
Travis page, who finished 5th in the Central East CrossFit Open, opted out of the competition. Page, a veteran CrossFit competitor pulled out prior to Event 3 due to injury while Rich James – one of the many standouts from CrossFit New Albany in this competition gave the men in Heat 2 and Heat 3 something to contend with, finishing all four rounds with a time of 4:09. David Stowe met that challenge in Heat 3 of the men’s competition. Neck and neck with Joe Weigel as they lifted the dumbbell overhead, Stowe gained his lead through the sprint and finished with a time of 3:51. Some may be happy to leave the dumbbell snatches behind but not Stowe. “I liked that workout,” he said. “I wish it was longer. I could keep that pace for a while.”
Heat 4 was where the excitement really came and top competitors of Day 1 did not disappoint. Dan Bailey faced fellow competitors down the line, including Rich Froning, Graham Holmberg and Marcus Hendren. As they pushed through rounds one and two, the ability to keep up strong stamina under such a demanding workout was obvious. Dan Bailey stole the lead while Holmberg and Hendren were fighting for it sprinting to the finish at 3:22 another new world record for Bailey, besting the previous record of 3:40 by Lucas Parker. Holmberg and Froning dove to the mat to finish the workout in 2nd and 3rd place respectively, but it was Marcus Hendren who would stand as an example of how the rules of CrossFit are finite and integral. Hendren sprinted his last round only to have to do so again after he took off without tapping the dumbbell at the finish of the last round.
Formidable athletes like Holmberg, and Hendren prove that the Central East is still wide open. It’s not the Froning and Bailey show anymore.
1. Dan Bailey (3:22)
2. Graham Holmberg (3:36)
3. Rich Froning (3:37)
1. Dan Bailey
2. Graham Holmberg
3. Rich Froning
Going into the women’s division, the soreness of Day 1, the mental and physical demands of these workouts combined with the reality of a 70lb. dumbbell snatch staring them in the face resulted in one withdrawal and put even more pressure on female competitors.
Just minutes before the women’s first heat lined up at the mat, Jessi Howald withdrew from competition, making her the fourth female competitor to do so since Regionals began on Friday. She would not stand alongside competitors like Jennifer Haynes, Leah Clark, Taylor Drescher and Casey Strope – who tried with all their might to get through four rounds of crushing snatches and sprints. “I feel excellent about that workout,” Drescher said when it was over. “I knew going into the WODs, anything heavy is going to be in my favor. I was excited about the dumbbell snatch and am excited about the snatch ladder tomorrow. I lift stuff up overhead every day. Anything heavy is my kind of workout.”
Jennifer Haynes, 41, was unable to get a rep by the time the horn blew for time. Stope and Jennifer Gatlin finished with just one rep each. As daunting the task may have seemed, it was proven that it could be done. Jen Osborn dominated Heat 2 – the first to motor through 10 snatches followed by Caitlin Mills. But as the rounds drug on, the strong would break from the pack as Osborn who finished the workout in 5:51.
And then … there were 12. The women of Heat 3 arrived to their respective spots welcomed by cheers from the crowd that would only get louder with every passing round.
Just 42 seconds in – Julie Foucher hit her first sprint and was a force to be reckoned with. Keeping a strong pace and moving through each alternating snatch Foucher set a new world record set by Jasmine Dever (4:57) falling to the mat at 4:28. Lindsey Smith appeared to be pacing herself under the weight – the haunting of her back injury in the mind of spectators and the struggle of the weight put Michelle Kinney behind. Showing just how things can change based on the workout and the skill these athletes bring to them, it was not Lindsey Smith or Lindy Barber that claimed 2nd place after Foucher, it was Heather Welsh at 5:17. Foucher said she had practiced this particular workout in a variety of ways and, “hoped to do it in under five minutes.”
A goal she shattered.
1. Julie Foucher (4:28)
2. Heather Welsh (5:17)
3. Jennifer Osborn (5:51)
1. Julie Foucher
2. Lindsey Smith
3. Heather Welsh
Welsh came out of Event 3 as a dark horse for the women’s competition but as crew rolled barbells out for a hell of a chipper set for Event 4, it’s certain that there is plenty more to come here at the Ohio Expo Center.