Last year saw 225-lb. hang cleans and 100-lb. dumbbell snatches. Lifting ladders have been a part of the last two Regional competitions. Will the trends continue or will this year bring something new and unexpected?
3, 2, 1 … relax. Breathe. The Open is over. Five workouts up, five workouts down.
For the majority who took part in this massive global participatory event, it is time to breathe a sigh of relief. To let our hair down and maybe have a celebratory meal and a drink or two. But for the top few in each region it is time to turn their attention to the next step in the CrossFit Games competition season: Regionals.
The competition in NorCal, as with the rest of the world, has gotten better, more skilled, stronger and faster. While there are familiar names at the top of the Leaderboard, there are a lot of new ones, as well. The familiar names have all improved over last year and the new challengers will either spur them to greater performances or they will make way for the new breed.
Only one man in NorCal was able to claw his way into the third round of four minutes on 13.5. Marcus Filly, a veteran competitor out of TJ’s Gym Mill Valley, managed a resounding 213 repetitions, a 38-rep victory. Second and third places belong to the dynamic duo of Neal Maddox and Jason Khalipa with 175 and 169 reps, respectively.
On the Women’s side of the NorCal fence, Rachel Doucet, fighting out of CrossFit Monterey, climbs to the top of the 13.5 peak with 173 reps. The legend Annie Sakamoto, co-owner of CrossFit Santa Cruz Central, gets her highest Open score with 164 reps and second place.
Diablo CrossFit powerhouse, Alessandra Pichelli, and Games veteran, Elyse Umeda from CrossFit 808, share third place with a score of 161.
The NorCal team standings haven’t changed much with all five workouts. Diablo CrossFit Anejo took first for 13.5 (for a total of three first-place finishes), Rocklin CrossFit second and CrossFit 808 third.
The Open is the gateway to Regionals. Forty-eight men and women and 30 teams will take the field at the NorCal Regional competition at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds the end of May, but only three of each will continue on to the big show in July when the CrossFit Games return to the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
In the Men’s Division, overall top honors for the third straight year belongs to Maddox. Maddox, owner of CrossFit X-treme Athletics, amassed only 14 points and two first-place finishes, as he makes his way to the Regionals in a dominant position. Khalipa, one of the most experienced competitors in CrossFit, takes second place. The battle for third, waged for five long weeks by Pat Barber, Garret Fisher and David Millar came down to the final workout of the Open. Millar, the SoCal transplant from CrossFit West in Santa Cruz, Calif., edged out Fisher by a single rep for the win and third place. On the worldwide Leaderboard, Maddox stands at sixth place and Khalipa is one place behind at seventh.
The NorCal Women’s Leaderboard belongs to Alessandra Pichelli. Diablo’s Pichelli took possession of the No. 1 spot at the week three mark and never gave it up. Sarah Pierce of CrossFit Sonoma County is in second place and no doubt is relishing the hometown advantage that the Regional venue gives her.
Diablo CrossFit is back in the top three with Whitney Heuser, a member of last year’s third-place team at the Games, in third place. Pichelli also boasts an eighth-place finish on the worldwide Leaderboard.
The NorCal Team Division was all Diablo CrossFit Anejo. They took first place on 13.1 and never relinquished it, amassing just nine points over the five workouts. NorCal CrossFit, powered by Khalipa, Barber, Fisher, Miranda Oldroyd and newcomer to the NorCal stage, Molly Biss, ended the Open in second place, tight on Diablo’s heels with 12 points. Third place goes to the veterans at Rocklin CrossFit. Both Diablo and NorCal rose high in the worldwide rankings with second- and fifth-place finishes, respectively.
The buzz from now to Regionals traditionally centers on who is going individual and who is going team. Both Diablo and NorCal have individual competitors among their highest scorers and how that will affect the competition field at Regionals remains to be seen.
In the Masters’ Divisions, NorCal is sending an astounding 27 athletes to the CrossFit Games come July. Included are past Games champions and multiple podium finishers. The incredibly rapid spread of CrossFit is reflected in the Masters Divisions, and NorCal is at the forefront of this latest CrossFit movement. For the NorCal masters, the focus is now the Games nearly four months hence.
For the individuals and the teams, the stage is set for the NorCal Regional in May. Who will go individual and who will set foot on the competition field as part of a team? What will the workouts consist of? Last year saw 225-lb. hang cleans and 100-lb. dumbbell snatches. Lifting ladders have been a part of the last two Regional competitions. Will the trends continue or will this year bring something new and unexpected? The next month will be full of anticipation.