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SoCal Regional Report: Don't Drop the Bar

Published on Sun, 2013-05-19 14:57
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Hilary Achauer, with Jaimie Bougie, Jaala Thibault and Ashley Van Horne

Kicking things off was Event 6, affectionately referred to as "Gymnast's Delight."


It’s the third and final day of the SoCal Regional competition. Kicking things off was Event 6, affectionately referred to as “Gymnast’s Delight.” The mix of double-unders, handstand push-ups, toes-to-bars, shoulder-to-overhead, and walking lunges with a thick axle bar favored those with a strong upper body and iron grip.

If any competitor wanted to make a move, this was the time to turn it on. Bridges had a lock on first, but a number of Games spots were up for grabs in both the women’s and team competition.

“I love how Regional (competition) is becoming such a big deal. It used to be just a few CrossFitters that liked to compete,” Bill Grundler, currently sitting in 10th overall, said before Event 6.

“Now look at this — we're in an arena, and it's huge!”

Men

Toward the end of Event 6, Josh Bridges found himself in a familiar spot — all alone, in the middle of floor, miles ahead of the competition.

In one of the toughest regions in the world, Bridges is untouchable. He took his third, first-place finish of the weekend with a world-record time of 8:11. His time was more than two minutes faster than second-place Kenneth Leverich.

The only time Josh Bridges was not absolutely dominating Event 6 was on the double-unders, as most of the heat did all 100 reps unbroken and rushed to start the HSPU’s at the exact same time. Bridges started to pull ahead almost immediately, finishing his handstand push-ups almost a minute ahead of the field.

Most of the field broke up their toes-to-bars into smaller sets, but Bridges cranked out his first 30 reps unbroken.

On the shoulder to overhead, the bigger men caught up with the smaller men, who were able to fly through the gymnastics movements. Leverich held onto second place while Wayne Willette, Wes Piatt, Tommy Pease, and Teddy Hwang fought over third.

When it came to the lunges, it was all about who could hold onto that bar. As any CrossFit athlete knows, weighted walking lunges hurt.

In the battle for third, it was the man who didn't drop the bar, Piatt, who beat out Hwang and Willette for that third place spot.

“I went into (Event 6) knowing I needed to kill this one, and I know I need to win the next one,” Willette said.

He took fifth place with a time of 10:53.

“I did this workout as a warm-up about a week ago, so I knew that I was going to be really strong coming into the end of the workout,” Willette said. “Today, I was one of the last people to the axle bars, but one of the top people to finish the workout. I knew it would play out that way coming into it.”

Going into the final event, the race for third place is tight. Tommy Pease has 60 points while Wes Piatt has 67. For Pease to hang on to third place overall, he has to finish Event 7 above eighth place.

Women

Past Champion Kristan Clever revealed yesterday that she’s battling a shoulder injury. How would she approach an event that kicked off with 50 handstand push-ups?

“I knew it was going to hurt the whole time because when I was practicing the movements during the warm up, everything just hurt,” Clever said.

Clever finished the 100 double-unders and then went immediately into 10 strict handstand push-ups.

This was not her plan.

“I had this strategy that I was going to kip all of the handstand push ups,” Clever said.

Then the adrenaline kicked in.

“When I got on the wall, I started doing strict handstand push ups and after 10 of them, I was like — ooooh, that's right! I'm injured! I'm going to start kipping them now!” Clever said.

Clever finished third overall with a time of 10:46.

However, nothing could hold off the Voigt juggernaut. She walked onto the floor looking like she meant business, and ruled the event from start to finish.

Voigt took an early lead, opening up with 25 unbroken handstand push-ups. She stayed ahead of the pack the entire event, winning with a time of 8:54. Her win shook up the Leaderboard, shooting Voigt to first place and sending Voboril into third.

Voboril’s sixth-place finish was her lowest finish so far this weekend.

The shoulder to overhead was quick for the top women. Voigt finished all 30 reps in 2 minutes and 58 seconds. Valenzuela was just seven reps behind Voigt going into the lunges.

After Clever stomped on the victory mat to take third, the floor was full of lunging women in an all-out battle for fourth place.

Danielle Hale, Jamie Hagiya, Voboril, and Christina Sloyer all got through their shoulder-to-overheads within one minute of each other.

In the final ten meters of the lunges, Hagiya didn't put her barbell down. While Hale, Voboril, and Sloyer dropped the bar repeatedly, Hagiya kept moving forward.

With two meters to go, Hagiya passed Voboril, who dropped her bar just before the finish line.

“During that last set of lunges, I saw the finish line, and just said to myself, ‘Jamie, you don't drop that bar. You go all the way through. You don't stop until the end,’” Hagiya said.

When all was said and done, Hagiya finished in fourth with a time of 12:21, moving her from sixth into fifth place.

“You know, none of these workouts in total have been super in my wheelhouse, so what I've had to do is really pick apart the workouts,” Hagiya said.

Going into the last event, it seems unlikely an injured Clever (with 33 points) can challenge Voboril (with 20 points) for the third sport. However, the former Fittest Woman on Earth is known for her heart and determination. It will be a race to watch.

Team

There was no rest for the wicked in Team Event 6.

With the exception of the opening double-unders (50 each for the male and female athlete), this event required each athlete to work the entire time. Static holds can be taxing, especially during such a grip-dependent event.

Teams were smart to plug in their most gymnastically gifted athletes for the handstand push-ups and toes-to-bars, but could they handle the axle shoulder-to-overhead and walking lunges?

Despite a first-place finish from Team CDR Redlands with a time of 9:31, this event did not change the Leaderboard. Invictus still holds onto their top spot, followed by Team CDR Redlands and then Brick Nation.

Brick CrossFit fielded two teams this year, and their second team, Brick Republic won the second heat and took an overall third place on this event with a time of 10:20.

In the end, it was all about the clean. It turned out that cleaning the fat bar was the limiting factor for all teams, including the top seeded.

In the final heat, Brick Nation's Madelyn Curley and Craig Avera blew through the double unders, handstand push-ups, and toes-to-bars in 3:31, only stopping to re-do the 49th and 50th rep of handstand push-ups after a “no-rep” call.

Working with a one-minute lead over CrossFit Shifted, Curley and Avera began the shoulder to overhead. During the last 25 reps of shoulder to overhead, Avera helped Curley clean the bar onto her shoulders. 

Then the teams moved to the walking lunges.

Showing fatigue from the earlier movements of the event, the Brick Nation dropped their bars three times during the lunge. Every drop meant they had to clean the thick bar again, which became a challenge for duo.

Although Brick Nation started their walking lunges with a 20-second lead, it wasn't enough to hold off Team CDR Redlands, who won the event.

The CDR Redlands team was thrilled with their win.

“I actually feel like I'm at the Games right now!” said Sarah Compton of CDR Redlands.

“It's so well done. I also feel like our team is more relaxed, confident and prepared this year.”

Bob Harper of Biggest Loser said he’s proud of his affiliate.

“Brick came in on a mission and they've been looking good throughout this whole thing,” he said. “My favorite thing about CrossFit Regional (competition), as a whole, is the supportive community and the family here. The CrossFit family is like nothing else!"

Those who thought the team competition would be easier than the individual side are finding the bar has been raised — again.

Anders Varner of CrossFit PB (current in eight place overall) has competed in the last three regional competitions as an individual. This is his first year going team.

“We realized the competition among the top five teams was greater than we thought. It’s fast out there,” Varner said.

“Let me tell you, team competition is no cake walk. It almost moves faster than the individual competition. In individual, you can stop and catch your breath. In team, if you stop and catch a breath, someone else is shooting straight past you and flying all over the place."

 

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