The South West Regional was hit with a stomach virus last night that took out many athletes, including Christian Lucero and top contender Chris Hoppe. Other athletes reported being sick but powered through the day, including Tommy Hackenbruck and Patrick Burke.
There was no upset today and the top three men and women from the end of Day 2 remained in their spots on top of the Leaderboard through both events.
After a grueling two days and five events, the long chipper of rowing, box jump overs, deadlifts, wall-ball shots and ring dips not only tested how well-rounded an athlete is, but also their endurance. Those who needed more time to rest risked not finishing in the 21-minute time cap.
Event 6 belonged to Ute CrossFit athletes, as Tommy Hackenbruck and Brennen Fjord pulled ahead early on and left the rest of the pack behind. Hackenbruck finished just seconds behind the event record in first place for the event, as well as the only person in the region to complete all 450 reps.
“Feels great,” Hackenbruck said of his first event win. “I’m just glad it was wall balls and not pistols. I think the box jumps were a big factor in just gaining time on people, so moving quickly on the box jumps throughout was probably the biggest thing.”
Hackenbruck cheered on his former teammate, Fjord, on the rower as the clock ticked down. Fjord was a few calories short of finishing under the time cap, but finished second overall in the event.
“That is something we practice multiple times a week, ending on a row or an airdyne.” Fjord said. “Getting through the wall balls and especially the deadlifts, then it was all heart and all gas, no breaks.”
Chad Cole was just three points behind Burke, who sat in third at the end of Day 2. In lanes next to each other, Burke and Cole went rep-for-rep for the first half of the event, but Burke pushed past Cole in the second set of deadlifts. With only one more event to go, Burke is four points ahead of Cole. Burke would have to falter on the last event for Cole to get past him.
“I wanted to be ahead of (Burke) the whole time,” Cole said. “I got to the point where I just wanted to hold his pace. At the end I gained some ground on him, but it just wasn’t enough. Looking to the last event, I’m hoping. He’s four points ahead. I still got a shot.”
Peter Egyed snuck in from Heat 3 for a third-place finish in the event.
Event 6 Results
1. Tommy Hackenbruck (20:24)
2. Brennan Fjord (21:07)
3. Peter Egyed (21:26)
You might have missed the action if you blinked during Event 7. Most of the men in the final heat flew through their 64 pull-ups and made short work of the eight overhead squats.
The crowd was on its feet as the men came onto the floor in Heat 4, the final. It would be hard to shake up the Leaderboard at this point, and fans cheered on their top three contenders, coming to a deafening roar when favorite Chris Spealler was introduced.
Spealler finished the pull-ups first, but casually walked to his barbelll. Hackenbruck was a few seconds behind on the pull-ups, but sprinted to his bar. Without a pause, Hackenbruck picked up his bar, flew through the squats and was on his finish mat at 1:31, securing first place in the event, the event record, and first place overall.
“I feel amazing,” Hackenbruck said afterward. “This is just a stepping stone to get to the Games, but I was really nervous after the workouts were announced. I took it as a challenge that if I was going to have a chance at the Games I needed to get through a tough regional.”
Hackenbruck was relieved to have finished the weekend so strong. “It was a strange weekend with guys getting (sick), but I’m happy to be going and happy that Chris and Pat are going with me.”
Shaun Hazelton had an edge over Spealler, as the 205-lb. overhead squats were much easier for him to handle. He completed his reps first and was second to reach his finish mat, tying for second in the event with Egyed and Matt Hathcock from the earlier heats.
Cole got stuck on the overhead squats and could not overtake Burke, securing third place for Burke.
"It feels amazing,” he said. “I was very happy to stay healthy enough to finish out the weekend."
The Games will see Spealler for a seventh and final year with his second-place finish overall.
“It’s just super special because it’s going to be my last,” he said. “It feels good to end where I started.”
Event 7 Results
1. Tommy Hackenbruck (1:31)
2T. Peter Egyed (1:54)
2T. Matt Hathcock (1:54)
2T. Shaun Hazelton (1:54)
CrossFit Games Qualifiers
1. Tommy Hackenbruck
2. Chris Spealler
3. Patrick Burke
On the women’s side, no one finished Event 6 under the time cap across all regions, and the South West was no different. Athletes could only hope to get as far ahead of their competition as possible.
The pressure was on for Mandi Janowitz to follow in her coach’s footsteps and secure a top spot in Event 6 but she couldn’t get past Andrea Ager and Whitney Cappellucci in the ring dips and the second set of wall-ball shots. The Ute CrossFit athlete finished in third on the event to stay in third place overall
“That’s the thing about CrossFit: nothing is secure,” she said. “It may look like that but it’s really deceiving. One mistake on my behalf, a mistake on the other women’s behalf, and the tables could be flipped. I’ve got to keep that in mind going into the last event.”
Ager walked onto the arena floor with a big smile and waved to the crowd as she was introduced. There was no trace of yesterday’s frustration and it was clear she was determined have a different ending in today’s events.
The race was close with different leaders emerging from each station, but Ager finished her ring dips first and was able to hold onto her lead for the remainder of the event.
“I have done this workout four times, which is not a fun workout to keep repeating,” Ager said after the event. “Today, I changed my strategy a little bit and I got a 70-rep PR.”
Cappellucci was not going down without a fight. She caught up to Janowitz and Ager in the ring dip station and was able to gain a lead on Janowitz by just a few reps. Her second-place finish moved her up the Leaderboard into eighth place.
Event 6 Results
1. Andrea Ager (21:51)
2. Whitney Cappellucci (22:21)
3. Mandi Janowitz (22:25)
Similar to the final team event, pull-ups and overhead squats in Event 7 were deceiving. The 64 pull-ups were doable for any of the athletes, but they still had to strategize how often to rest so to get through heavy overhead squats.
Tiffany Hendrickson wasted little time resting during her pull-ups and was the first to move to the barbell. She picked up the 135-lb. bar and completed eight overhead squats unbroken. Hendrickson’s first-place finish secured her second place overall and she’ll make a second trip to Carson, California.
“I am pleased and excited overall with the weekend,” Hendrickson said. “Last year I was a small fish in a big pond. This year I have more confidence and I am looking forward to challenge myself more.”
Andi Turner, of CrossFit Dixie, got to her bar before Amanda Goodman and both completed their overhead squats unbroken. But Turner’s slight lead paid off and she reached her finish mat ahead of Goodman for second place.
“With my gymnastics background I knew I could hold on longer than most of the girls and my overhead squat is stronger than most,” Turner said, “so I knew if I was going to go balls to the wall on any event, it was going to be this one.”
Goodman and Janowitz came in third and fourth for the event, respectively. The results of the final event guaranteed the Leaderboard would remain unchanged for the top three with Goodman in first, Hendrickson in second and Janowitz in third.
“I feel awesome,” Goodman said. “The plan was to be top three, so first place was perfect.”
This will be Janowitz’s first time competing at the Games as an individual.
“I feel amazing. I am on cloud nine,” Janowitz said. “It means the world to be going to the Games with such tough competition. I was having to chase many different girls all weekend and they made it tough.”
Event 7 Results
1. Tiffany Hendrickson (2:00)
2. Andi Turner (2:11)
3. Amanda Goodman (2:24)
CrossFit Games Qualifiers
1. Amanda Goodman
2. Tiffany Hendrickson
3. Mandi Janowitz