Three former Games athletes (and one former Games champion) in SoCal chose to go team this year. Jeremy Kinnick, Jon Pera and Kristan Clever have all proven their fitness as individuals, so the question is: can they play well with others?
All teams had their eyes on Invictus. The team finished first at the SoCal Regional for the last three years. However, Brick Nation—who were disqualified last year and missed going to the Games—showed they were determined to win a spot this year. After taking a first place on Events 1 and 3, Brick finished in first place at the end of Day 1, with Invictus in second. Only one point behind Invictus is CrossFit Pacific Beach, the only team in the top three who has not yet made it to the Games.
The first team event was all about women and muscle-ups. This difficult gymnastics movement exposed any weak spots in the six-person teams, and rewarded a well-rounded roster.
The final heat featured three former Games athletes—Kinnick on Kinnick Butter, Pera on CrossFit Foothill and Clever on Valley CrossFit—but it was Brick Nation who won the event with a time of 7:27. Not an event record, but good enough for first place.
“We were hoping for a world record but we’ll take this win!” said Maddy Curley, a Brick Nation athlete and former gymnast.
“In training, we all practiced the 15 (muscle-ups) to see who had the fastest time, and our strategy was that we never wanted someone to be waiting on another person,” Curley said.
Former Games champion Clever on Valley CrossFit took on the 15 muscle-ups with ease, breaking them up into two smooth sets, but she was left waiting at the finish mat as her fellow female athletes struggled to complete their muscle-ups. Valley’s team finished the event in 15:02 and took 13th place.
In this first event, Kinnick Butter showed it might have the best of both worlds: a Games veteran and a well-rounded team. Kinnick Butter took second place with a time of 7:38, just barely edging out three-time SoCal Regional champs Invictus, who finished third.
“It’s very different being on a team this year,” said Games vet Kinnick, who is competing with a team for the first time at regionals. “It’s a lot less volume but a lot more fun. I’m excited for it!”
Coming in fourth with a surprising finish was Pariah CrossFit A in Heat 3; all of their ladies were able to connect muscle-ups, which helped them pull minutes ahead of the rest of the heat. The final female threw the bar into her chin on her first rep, but she didn’t let that stop her, and the team finished with a time of 8:44.
After the event finished, the teams were already looking ahead to Events 2 and 3.
“We’re going conservative on the snatches but we are pumped for the handstand walks and want to win the world record on that!” said Chelsey Hughes of Brick Nation.
Team Event 1 Results
1. Brick Nation (7:27)
2. Kinnick Butter (7:38)
3. Invictus (7:41)
With arms still burning from the muscle-ups and clean and jerks in Event 1, the teams moved on to Events 2 and 3. First, the athletes had to put as much as weight as possible overhead, and then they turned things upside down for a max-distance handstand walk.
Each team member was only allowed two attempts on the snatches, so most opened with a conservative weight.
In fourth place going into Events 2 and 3, the Pariah CrossFit A teammate who was not snatching switched out the weights for the teammate next on deck, allowing the snatching teammate to rest before his or her lift. Pariah CrossFit’s top weight for the men was 240 lb. and for the woman it was 175 lb., the highest weight of the day for team females.
The heaviest snatch of the day belonged to Paradiso CrossFit’s James McCoy, who snatched 295 lb. and completed the 120-foot handstand walk.
“That was definitely a PR!” McCoy said after the event.
“My snatch PR, from the ground, is 286 lb. so that was a lifetime snatch PR. I’m pretty confident from the hang, and I saw that Sam Dancer (Central East) got 295 lb., so I wanted to see if I could hit that."
Clever of Valley CrossFit rapidly moved under the bar at 155 lb., but missed her attempt at 165 lb. after her shoulder failed to lock out and stabilize. Valley took third on Event 2 and second on Event 1, moving them into third place overall.
After the intense focus of Event 2, the mood lifted for the handstand walk, with athletes smiling after making their way—on their hands—across the floor. All athletes on Brick walked the entire floor except for Amanda Douglas, who made it 40 feet. Though she walked the shortest distance, her team cheered for her the loudest. When Douglas got to the mat, Curley yelled, “Forty feet!” and embraced her teammate.
The athletes on CrossFit PB jumped up and down, smiling and hugging each other, when one of their team members, Jenn Ryan, made it just feet from the edge and secured fourth place for her team on Event 3. The camaraderie and celebration are clues as to why so many former individual athletes have chosen to go team this year. Though the competition is fierce, it almost always ends with a group hug.
Team Results Event 2:
1. CDR (1180)
2. Pariah CrossFit A (1170)
3. Valley CrossFit (1105)
Team Event 3:
1. Brick Nation (640)
2. Valley CrossFit (570)
3. CrossFit East County (565)
1. Brick Nation (12)
2. Invictus (16)
3. CrossFit PB (17)
4. Valley CrossFit (18)
5. Team CDR Redlands (19)
6. Pariah CrossFit A (21)
7. Ruination CrossFit Gold (23)
8. Kinnick Butter (27)
9. Invictus Unconquerable (30)
10. CrossFit Eagle Rock (31)