The Open is getting intense at Torrance CrossFit, despite the fact that they sit in 115th place overall in Southern California (unofficial).
“There is a lot of shit talking going on … but of course, in a great, fun way,” said Dan Uyemura, co-founder of the affiliate.
Less than a year old, Torrance CrossFit aims to make the Open less intimidating to its athletes. Uyemura and co-founders Jamie and Lexie Hagiya decided to run the Open as a gym-wide intramural competition.
By signing up for the Open, members automatically signed up for the intramural competition. The owners separated their 70 competitors into three teams using a snake-style draft, and since the start of the Open, they’ve ranked the teams based on the scores of the top five men and top five women, the cumulative team score and attendance.
“By creating the intramural competition within our gym, we were able to make it less about where you rank in the world and made it more about, ‘We’re going to compete with ourselves and see how we all do,’” Uyemura said. “This took a lot of intimidation out of the Open.”
Uyemura is the captain of Team Boomsauce, while Jamie captained The Dream Team and Lexie heads up Team Aloha. Every person got a custom T-shirt as a team jersey, and lately the gym is filled with blue, red, and green.
At the end of the Open, the team with the lowest overall points will get a trophy and a special “2014 TCF Intramurals Winners” T-shirt. At the end of 14.2, Team Boomsauce led with 11 points, followed closely by The Dream Team with 15 points, and Team Aloha trails with 21 points.
Whether it was the potential free T-shirt or peer pressure, the vibe in the community got member David Chang to register.
“Everyone at TCF and the greater CrossFit family are so damn encouraging that I signed up for the Open,” Chang said.
Since the start of the Open and the intramurals draft, the vibe around the box is buzzing with strategy and friendly banter.
During the initial draft, Jamie and Lexie both had multiple chances to draft their younger brother, Trent Hagiya. Since Trent is one of the top male athletes at the affiliate, Uyemura saw the opportunity and snatched him up before the two sisters could realize their mistake.
But Trent, 26, refuses to be bitter about being a late pick in the draft.
"In regards to my sisters passing me over, all I have to say is this: the best revenge is success,” Trent said. “And I plan to deliver that.”
In addition to sibling rivalry, the snake-style draft saw a divide between couples, as well. Each of these CrossFit Games Open rookies has found yet another reason to participate by challenging their partner in best of five.
Kelsee Richmond of The Dream Team called out her boyfriend, Chris Ready of Team Aloha, on his confidence. Richmond said she could get a higher score than Ready on three or more of the five Open workouts and wagered a half-marathon row.
“I told him to shake on it but he wouldn’t do it!” Richmond said.
“Half a marathon it is,” he said. “And every time you stop, it’s a 20-burpee penalty.”
After hearing about Ready and Richmond’s bet, Haley Larson of Team Aloha and her boyfriend, Peter Jordan of The Dream Team, have made the same wager.
These side bets have started a trend. Even the team captains, whose scores don’t officially count toward their team’s total score, are creating their own side wagers. Uyemura has to beat Lexie in all five Open workouts or suffer through the dreadful row-burpee wager. He’s currently 2-0.
But Lexie isn’t fazed.
"I wouldn't have even made this bet if I thought I even had an iota of a chance to row a half marathon,” she said. “Dan has so many holes in his game. There's no way he sweeps me."
But the captain’s wagers end there. Neither Lexie nor Uyemura dare to take on Jamie, who posted 405 reps for 14.1 and is currently in fifth overall in SoCal.
With two Open workouts left to go, it is still anyone’s game.
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