Leading by 14 points at the beginning of the last day, CrossFit Central Downtown Black entered the Freeman Coliseum with one thing goal: qualify for the CrossFit Games.
Fighting to the finish through the last two events, the team reached their goal.
The crowd went wild when CrossFit Central Downtown Black officially finished the last Event of the weekend in record time.
Taking the podium means much more to the team then a ticket to Carson, California. It means redemption from last year’s fourth-place finish.
“It means everything,” said the team’s coach Michael Winchester. “I think this speaks to the level of athletes, and the men and the women on this team—how much they came together, worked hard and worked well together.”
Team member Ingrid Kantola will finally get her shot at going to the Games after trying to get there as an individual for five years.
“This is my sixth time going to regionals, first time as a team,” Kantola said, “but having been to regionals before and never qualified, I don’t know what this means exactly except that it’s awesome.”
Behind CrossFit Central, it was a fight among Team Ballistic, CrossFit Katy, #TeamDensity and CrossFit EaDo to see which team would take the final two qualifying spots. Going into the final evnets, only two points separated Team Ballistic from CrossFit Katy and #TeamDensity.
Anticipation was high as the teams of Heat 3 walked onto the floor. CrossFit Katy fans were on their feet, decked out in bright neon yellow T-shirts chanting, “Katy, Katy, Katy!”
At the sound of, “3,2,1 … Go!” the first pairs of men and women started rowing and double-undering. Team Ballistic, CrossFit EaDo and CrossFit Katy were the first teams off the erg advance to the deadlift and partner hold.
CrossFit Central Downtown Black did not appear flustered, however. As its first two athletes advanced to the deadlifts, they maintained a consistent pace, sticking to their game plan of being smooth and steady.
It was a battle rep-for-rep as each team duo made it to the rig for toes-to-bars.
CrossFit EaDo was the first pair of athletes off the toes-to-bars. A few minutes later, their second pair was off the toes-to-bars, as well.
In the final minutes, CrossFit Katy snuck up behind EaDo, taking a time of 15:41. Five reps later, EaDo took second place in the heat.
The final pair for CrossFit Central Downtown Black were left in the fight, right next to Team Ballistic, jumping off the bar two reps before Ballistic finished.
No team in the last heat was able to match the time of second heat team CrossFit Cedar Park, whose final pair of athletes came off the rig in 15:33. The first-place finish advanced the team to ninth place overall.
While Central finished seventh in the event, they were able to still maintain their first place overall lead by 11 total points, while Team Ballistic bumped from second to third behind CrossFit Katy.
“We knew what our splits were coming out to the event,” said Chad Morales of CrossFit Katy. “Fast transitions were a big deal for us, and we knew what making up those quick seconds, keeping that flywheel spinning, was going to do for us.”
“We had our fastest pair go last to clean up,” said teammate Adam Heiman.
CrossFit EaDo was still left in fifth place, within 10 points of a third-place spot.
“We practiced that probably five or six times, and we knew it was going to be a strong one for us,” said team member Ben Thomas. “It left us right on the cusp. We’ve got one more, focus on the next one. Today’s our best day so anything can happen. They make movies about underdogs for a reason.”
Team Event 7 Results
1. CrossFit Cedar Park (15:33)
2. CrossFit Katy (15:41)
3. CrossFit EaDo (16:10)
The final heat of the weekend all came down to who could butterfly the fastest through 49 pull-ups and overhead squat the barbell with speed and precision.
As each male and female athlete worked through the couplet, the energy of the Freeman Coliseum came to life. Every second and every break counted in the sprint-paced event.
CrossFit Central Downtown Black remained in the lead throughout the event, revealing no glaring weaknesses. One after another, each athlete flew through the pull-ups and consistently squatted down and up.
At 10:10, Ingrid Kantola was the team’s final athlete on the rig, butterflying her way through rep after rep in sets of 25-15-9, with only one-second break off the bar between reps.
As Kantola made her way to her barbell, CrossFit Central fans rose to their feet, proceeding to count out each rep. On “seven,” Kantola sprinted into the open arms of fellow team member Lisa Thiel to give her a hug at 11:54.
“The support of the community has been amazing all weekend,” Kantola said. “I heard CrossFit Central fans counting my reps, and it definitely helped me know I was getting all my reps in. When I dropped the bar, I ran to whosever arms were open for me. It was awesome!”
More than two minutes later, Team Ballistic (14:20), Pillar CrossFit (14:21) and CrossFit Katy (14:27) were next in line—not one of them touching CrossFit Cedar Park’s time of 13:21 from the previous heat.
CrossFit EaDo was not as lucky. It fell behind early, taking 20th in the event. At the end of the day, they were unable to climb out of their 5th place overall spot.
While the final push was also not enough for Pillar CrossFit to move out eighth place, the team could not be more proud for their first performance at the regional competition.
“This was our first time out here and I am ready to start training for next year,” said team member Christina Reyes.
CrossFit Katy and Team Ballistic round out the top three.
“That was one of the workouts we were worried about coming into today,” Morales said of Event 8. “We had a lot of ground to make up from a couple rough workouts this weekend, and just knew we had to finish it out, finish the weekend strong.”
Brothers Ryan and Aaron Bielefeldt, of Team Ballistic, brought thier new affiliate’s team to its first-ever regional competition.
“I just knew everyone had the ability to go fast on that one and there was going to be no hiccups,” Aaron said. “It was going to be relatively seamless, and I was right. Now, we are going to have fun tonight, rest up, heal a little bit, then get back to work.”
He added: “We want to make some noise and make a name (at the Games).”
Team Event 8 Results
1. CrossFit Central Downtown Black (11:54)
2. CrossFit Cedar Park (13:21)
3. Team Ballistic (14:20)
CrossFit Games Qualifiers
1. CrossFit Central Downtown Black
2. CrossFit Katy
3. Team Ballistic