Just like last year when we called it 12.4, 13.3 became the season's first separator. A gift to many, a curse for some, a trial for all.
On Wednesday night, Dave Castro held out on the crowds at CrossFit Roots in Boulder, Colo. For the first 15 minutes of the live stream, he brushed away the camera each time it zoomed in for the announcement of 13.3.
Once he finally pulled the equipment out of the box, the audience was shocked. Workout 13.3 would be a repeat of 12.4: Karen, 90 double-unders and 30 muscle-ups … as many rounds as possible in 12 minutes.
Kristan Clever was hit by the announcement. At 5-foot-2, wall balls aren’t her favorite. Fortunato, on the other hand, was stoked. She had prayed to the Games gods for wall balls, and she got her wish.
Fortunato was the first to finish Karen, but Clever caught Fortunato on the double-unders with one unbroken set. The two women reached the rings at the same time. Smoked by the movements and the thin air in the mile-high city, Fortunato and Clever came short of their performances on 12.4. Clever ended with 14 muscle-ups while Fortunato got 10.
The rematch was fun to watch, but it wasn’t exactly confidence inspiring. Neither competitor bettered their score from last year, and both seemed to struggle — Fortunato at the rope, Clever at the wall.
Luckily, the vast majority of the CrossFit world who performed 13.3 upon its first release, back when it was called 12.4, didn’t follow suit. Nearly 80 percent of the CrossFitters who submitted scores for 12.4, and 13.3 improved over last year.
With a score of 273 reps, Julianne Broadbent, of SPC CrossFit, the second fittest team in the world, took the 13.3 first-place spot in the Central East. In an effort that proves one workout can make or break a season, she catapulted up the Leaderboard from 98th place to 52nd.
Michelle Kinney, a 2011 CrossFit Games athlete, completed 266 reps moving her up several brackets to second place. Kinney has spent the last season training for her second Games appearance after narrowly missing her 2012 opportunity by one position at Regionals. That miss allowed Heather Welsh to advance. Coincidentally, Welsh’s score of 259 puts her in fifth, several places behind Kinney.
One point above Kinney in first place within the Central East is CrossFit Maximus,’ Jennifer Smith. Last year, during 12.4 Smith posted 246 reps. This year she added 10 muscle-ups giving her a score, that when compiled with her first place 13.2, and fourth place 13.1, was simply too much to be overtaken.
Rounding out the top three with a 13.3 score of 264 reps, is dark horse Alyssa Ritchey. She’s yet to be CrossFitting for a year and she says even though she had done well in the Open up to this point, she wasn’t sure how this workout would go. She says she adores muscle-ups, but hates wall balls.
“It’s a dream come true,” she says. “I’m good at CrossFit, but I would have never expected to be third in the region of over 4,000 girls. It’s an honor to be in that position because I know there are a lot of girls out there working their butts off just as hard as me every single day.”
Familiar names and previous CrossFit Games competitors, Lisa Shiu and Lindsey Smith, also saw a Leaderboard leap after their 13.3 performances. After completing 262 reps, Smith jumped into the 23rd position, while Shiu’s 258 reps is good enough for 17th place in the Central East.
With three top-10 finishes out of three Open Workouts, Rich Froning Jr. continues to remind the world why he’s the champ two years running. His score of 319 reps on 13.3 is good enough for third worldwide, and first in Central East.
Froning is followed quickly by Scott Panchik’s 13.3 score of 300 reps. Panchik’s performance puts him fourth worldwide over Neal Maddox and Jason Khalipa. It also bumps CrossFit Games competitor, Dan Bailey, out of second with his 13.3 score of 267 reps.
While the Leaderboard was winding and weaving like a country road, 2010 CrossFit Games champion Graham Holmberg jumped into the Central East’s fourth-place position with a score of 273 reps. Just above him with a score of 280 reps — 12 reps shy of his 12.4 performance — is CrossFit Games competitor, Marcus Hendren.
It doesn’t matter if you call it 12.4, or 13.3, it’s still an equalizer. There’s no more getting by on your looks when a workout like this comes around. Especially when it comes to the performance of an entire team.
Few Central East teams are as used to performing under this kind of pressure as two-time CrossFit Games competitors team CrossFit Maximus. Their consistent Open performances thus far has landed them first overall with a 13.3 score of 1,551 reps.
One point behind team CrossFit Maximus, and scoring higher than any other team within the Central East on 13.3, is CrossFit Mayhem. Their 1,582-rep performance bested the second highest 13.3 competitors CrossFit Polaris by 17 reps.
For the last three weeks, affiliate teams like CrossFit Polaris, CrossFit Mayhem, CrossFit New Albany, and 8th Day Gym have been swapping places under CrossFit Maximus in an effort to win the Central East. With two workouts left, and a single-point lead, first still isn’t a guarantee for anyone.
The CrossFit Games Masters competition begins at 40 now. It’s separated into five divisions, and the competition is just as furious as the rest of the CrossFit universe.
In each division, only the top 20 competitors worldwide get to continue their season. For Central East competitors Ronald Thomas, and David Hippensteel, their chances look better after each workout.
Thomas, 2011 Masters CrossFit Games competitor from CrossFit New Albany, scored 256 reps on 13.3. That’s a four-rep improvement over last year’s 12.4. Currently he’s sitting in first place worldwide within the 45-49 masters.
Fellow Central East competitor, David Hippensteel, is also representing his region well. Hippensteel’s 13.3 performance was amazingly 64 reps better than his 12.4 go. After submitting 252 reps, he now holds the first place spot worldwide, Masters 55-59.
Open Workout 13.3 was like drawing a line in the competitive CrossFit sand. Just like last year when we called it 12.4, it became the season's first separator. A gift to many, a curse for some, a trial for all.