It’s not over until the last overhead squat is locked out.
Going into the last event of the SoCal Regional, Brick Nation was on top and looking to set an event record. Then Jarett Perelmutter struggled with his seven overhead squats in Event 8 and Brick Nation just finished under the 16-minute time cap, coming in ninth place. Nevertheless, their strong performances throughout the weekend allowed them to hang onto the podium with a third-place finish overall.
Invictus took first place overall for their fourth straight regional win. Team CDR Redlands finished in second.
“I feel super blessed to be a part of an awesome team, and an awesome community with great coaches that have prepared us well for this type of region,” Melissa Hurley of Invictus said after her team’s win.
“We still made it and there is something to celebrate there,” Perelmutter said after the team competition ended. “But it’s like if you won a hundred million dollars and someone came back and said it’s actually only a million,” he continued about Brick’s third-place finish. “You’re excited, but the hundred million always sounds a whole lot nicer.”
However, he realizes making it to the Games in SoCal is an accomplishment.
“We know there are a lot of people out there wishing and dreaming that they can make it, so we won’t take that for granted,” he said.
Team Event 7
Event 7 was a grip killer.
In this event, three partners of two worked their way through a row, double-unders, deadlifts (with one partner holding the barbell while the other completed reps), and toes-to-bars (with one person performing five reps while the other hung from the bar).
Although they got off to a slow start, Invictus won this event, their second win of the competition, setting an event record with a time of 14:51. The win moved Invictus into second place, just two points behind Brick Nation.
The 500-meter row and 125 double-unders were a warm-up before the real pain began, but Melissa Hurley of Invictus got tangled in her rope during her double-unders a number of times before getting in a rhythm and finishing her reps. For a brief moment, Invictus’ second team, Invictus Unconquerable, moved ahead of the top-seeded team for the affiliate.
The true race began once the partners started on their deadlifts. Teams who could hold tight on the deadlift, but pay attention to their partners so they wouldn't destroy their grip, took the lead. This strategy allowed Invictus, Brick Nation and CDR Redlands to pull ahead. By the time the final pair got to the toes-to-bars, it was a race between these three teams.
In the final minutes of the event, Invictus’ Nuno Costa and Ayo Anise raced against Brick Nation’s Chelsey Hughes and Jarett Perelmutter. Costa and Anise were able to hold on a little bit tighter than Hughes and Perelmutter, who dropped off the bar multiple times during their last few sets of toes-to-bars. Rushing to the mat to join their teammates at 14:51, Costa and Anise celebrated as Hughes and Perelmutter finished their final reps and stepped onto their mat at 15:19. Speeding up in the end, Team CDR Redlands was able to hold off Valley and finish in third at 15:35. Valley finished in fourth at 15:54.
CDR Redlands’ Calvin Davis said he likes how every team member participates in each event this year, particularly Event 7.
“Now it’s about the strength of the entire team,” Davis said. “Now elite members are not able to shine, as they did in past years.
“We’re so happy the weekend is almost over,” he said, “but we’re really looking forward to the last event."
Team Event 7 Results
1. Invictus (14:51)
2. Brick Nation (15:19)
3. Team CDR Redlands (15:35)
Team Event 8
Last year, Brick Nation qualified for the Games, but the team was disqualified after the regional competition.
This year, they were determined to make up for last year, but their dream of going to the Games almost slipped away on Event 8, a couplet of pull-ups and overhead squats. Invictus won the event, setting an event record with a time of 10:44. Valley CrossFit, anchored by Games champion Kristan Clever, came in second place, and Team CDR Redlands took third.
In Heat 1, The Mecca of Swole (from CrossFit Pacific Beach) finished in 14:08, a time that was good enough for fifth place in this event.
Anders Varner came out hot, finished his pull-ups in 50 seconds, ran to his bar, snatched it and completed the overhead squats unbroken, finishing his work with a split time of 1:35. Following Anders' lead, all but one team member completed their overhead squats unbroken.
Then came the final heat, with Brick Nation looking to finish under 11 minutes.
Perelmutter started off strong on the pull-ups, but earned multiple no-reps on his overhead squats because of this depth and failure to stabilize at the top. Visibly frustrated, Perelmutter took over four minutes to accumulate seven overhead squats. He finally finished his leg of the relay at 5:30, meaning each of his team members would have to finish their relay legs in about two minutes to finish under the time cap. At this point it wasn’t about winning the event or setting a record—Brick Nation needed to finish.
Meanwhile, Invictus, Valley, CDR Redlands and Kinnick Butter traded the lead. Costa and Hurley of Invictus worked through their pull-ups quickly and finished their overhead squats with ease, and Hurley jumped onto the mat to join her team at 10:44, an event record.
Then Clever took over. She finished her pull-ups easily, then squat snatched the barbell with ease and went straight into unbroken overhead squats, with a smile on her face. She joined her team on the mat at 12:16, second overall in the event.
“It was a very exciting heat!” said Chanel Call of Valley CrossFit. “We just wanted to go out there and leave it all out there.”
CDR Redlands finished right behind Valley at 12:35, taking third in the event.
Finally, it was up to Brick’s anchor, Hughes, to finish the work. She had 1:45 to get it done. Hughes finished her pull-ups in a minute, then walked to her bar slowly to collect herself. With just 30 seconds remaining, Hughes snatched the bar and completed her overhead squats unbroken. She threw the bar down and sprinted to her team, finishing just seconds under the time cap at 15:51.
“It was certainly an interesting ending to a crazy weekend,” Perelmutter said. “We held the lead going through seven events, but unfortunately we went from what was a world record in testing to just barely squeaking into the Games.”
Team Event 8 Results
1. Invictus (10:44)
2. Valley CrossFit (12:16)
3. Team CDR Redlands (12:35)
1. Invictus (31)
2. Team CDR Redlands (35)
3. Brick Nation (37)