With the South West so competitive across all divisions, it’s difficult to predict who will come out on top.
At the end of Day 1, the top 10 on the Leaderboard for both men and women in the South West remained within a few points of each other, but the end of Day 2 showed a clearer picture of who might be standing upon the podium tomorrow.
Today’s events were a test of skill and several athletes fell short. The strict handstand push-ups and legless rope climbs hindered many and allowed others to shine.
Athletes in Event 4 had to strategize where to take their recovery in this grueling combination of strict handstand push-ups, front squats and burpees. Handstand push-ups were the dealmaker or breaker and those who struggled fell behind quickly.
Only five women in the first two heats finished under the 20-minute time cap.
Darcie Warren and Jessica Nathe left the pack behind as they competed for the lead in Heat 2. Warren pulled ahead of Nathe and the two women finished in fourth and fifth in the event, respectively.
In Heat 3, Becky Clark finished first with a huge lead. She made great time working efficiently on her front squats and burpees and she performed all of her handstand push-ups unbroken, giving her a second place in the event.
Heat 4 started off with the women rushing through their first set of handstand push-ups, but it was Tiffany Hendrickson and Amanda Goodman who came off the wall first. The two remained rep-for-rep until the set of 15s, when Hendrickson gradually widened the gap. After recovering from a slight backward stumble on her first front squat, she moved calmly and efficiently to finish with a time of 10:45.
“With a longer workout you want to come out steady on the first two rounds, especially with a skill like strict handstand push-ups,” Hendrickson said of her strategy for Event 4. “I felt (Goodman) pace and I didn’t want her to get too much of a lead so I decided to just go for it.”
The strategy paid off with an event win for Hendrickson.
Coming off the wall after the 21 handstand push-ups, Hendrickson waved the crowd to pick up the energy and they responded with a rowdy applause. “I hate front squats but because we have a great crowd here in the South West I thought, ‘These guys are here for me,’ so I asked for some noise to get me through the set of 15.”
After the Leaderboard shake up yesterday, Emmalee Teribery, who finished third at the 2013 Regional, moved into the final heat for today’s events. She proved she belonged there, finishing third in the heat and fifth for the event.
Event 4 Results
1. Tiffany Hendrickson (10:45)
2. Becky Clark (11:37)
3. Amanda Goodman (12:02)
When legless rope climbs were introduced at the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games, many elite athletes struggled. A year later, legless rope climbs make another appearance and although most athletes moved through the early rounds with ease, it was the later rounds that exposed weaknesses.
It was clear in all heats those who didn’t pace would wear out and fail rope climbs toward the end. In the final heat, competitors shot toward their rope in their first sprint. Mandi Janowitz and Andrea Ager were up and down their ropes and running their second sprint before some of the other athletes were halfway up on their first round.
Janowitz and Ager continued switching back and forth on the lead, neither showing signs of slowing down until Round 5 where Janowitz pulled ahead. With a slight lead in Round 7, Janowitz stayed smooth while Ager struggled.
Janowitz continued with her lightning-fast pace, leaving Ager behind.
“My strategy was to be able to breathe on the runs and get myself calmly down the rope,” Janowitz said of her event win.
For Ager, what started out as an easy top score became a frustrating battle of her will. In her final round, Ager could not get past the last few inches at the top. After multiple attempts, Ager fell to the floor in frustration. She continued to shake her arms out as the remaining contenders finished one-by-one ahead of her.
Teribery and Goodman were determined to catch up to Janowitz. As Ager struggled with her final rope climb, Teribery took the lead against Goodman and finished second on the event.
At the end of Day 2, the gap between the top contenders is wider. Goodman is still in first, 10 points ahead of second-place Hendrickson. Janowitz moved into third with Teribery just four points behind her.
Event 5 Results
1. Mandi Janowitz (4:28)
2. Emmalee Teribery (5:46)
3. Amanda Goodman (6:05)
1. Amanda Goodman
2. Tiffany Hendrickson
3. Mandi Janowitz
4. Emmalee Teribery
5. Tennil Reed
6. April Digiannantonio
7. Andrea Ager
8. Nikki Carlin
9. Andi Turner
10. Whitney Cappellucci
In the final heat of Event 4, handstand push-ups continued to be a hindrance for athletes, but Chris Spealler made easy work of them as he breezed through each set unbroken.
The crowd cheered him on as he took and maintained the lead after the first set of handstand push-ups. He finished first in 11:06, which bumped him into third place overall on the Leaderboard.
“(Crowd support) feels great,” Spealler said of his fans cheering for him from the bleachers. “They are super supportive. Home feels good.”
Chad Cole, Chris Hoppe and Patrick Burke were desperate to get that second-place spot in the heat. Burke stepped it up toward the end of the event, completing his reps as fast as possible. Where Hoppe and Cole had to stop and take a breath, Burke pushed through and finished second in the heat.
“I kinda put my blinders on,” Burke said. “I was next to Chris Spealler and I knew he’d go at a pace I couldn’t hold so I stayed with my rep scheme. Toward the end I knew it was a race so I picked up the pace as needed.”
“I am playing my game and doing the best I can, but these workouts have been handling people throughout all the regions, so I just gotta stick to my game and let them fall where they fall,” he added.
Chase Duke from Heat 3 snuck in for a second-place finish on the event.
Event 4 Results
1. Chris Spealler (11:06)
2. Chase Duke (12:16)
3. Patrick Burke (12:35)
In Heat 3, Brennan Fjord, Matt Osteen and Jared Glover took the lead at the beginning, but it was Fjord who had a height advantage over Osteen and Glover. Osteen fell behind as Glover fought to keep up with Fjord.
Glover finished behind Fjord, whose time of 3:54 landed him in first place on the event.
In the beginning of the final heat, Tommy Hackenbruck took an early lead and was the one to beat. Burke and Cole were just behind, but were able to catch up and pass Hackenbruck as he slowed halfway through the event.
Burke needed to push past Cole to get into podium contention. He’s eager to get back to the CrossFit Games.
“I’m ready to go,” he said.
As Burke sped up in Round 8 to secure first place, Spealler also quickened his pace. Cole was determined not to let the day’s top contender get past him. In a dramatic finish, Cole and Spealler jumped off of their final rope climb and raced down the track to tie for 2nd in the heat.
Instead of descending the rope slowly, Cole’s strategy was to jump from the top after each rep.
“I just let go of the rope and it saved time and grip,” he said. “I’m a little faster so I knew the runs benefitted me.”
At the end of Day 2, Hackenbruck and Spealler are in solid positions in the top two.
Third place is still up for grabs. Burke currently sits in third, but Hoppe and Cole are close behind.
Event 5 Results
1. Brennan Fjord (3:54)
2. Patrick Burke (3:55)
3T. Chris Spealler (3:59)
3T. Chad Cole (3:59)
1. Tommy Hackenbruck
2. Chris Spealler
3. Patrick Burke
4. Chris Hoppe
5. Chad Cole
6. Kyle Boyer
7. Christian Lucero
8. Lance Castle
9. Jared Glover
10. Brenna Fjord