May 25, 2014
Asia Team Report: Day 3
By Akshay Mathur and Melanie Lim

Shogun CrossFit will represent Asia at the CrossFit Games.

The sound of heavy barbells hitting the ground made for a rude awakening on an early Sunday morning here in Seoul, South Korea. Event 7 for teams had them work through 500-meter rows, double-unders, and high repetitions of deadlifts and toes-to-bars. The variety of movements meant that the more well-rounded of the teams found themselves emerging at the top of the Leaderboard.

With a comfortable 10-point lead over InnerFight, Shogun CrossFit was favored to win from the start of Day 3.

Team Event 7

Grimacing faces, chalk all over the competition floor and sweat angels decorated this relay-style event.

The row and double-unders did not pose a huge problem for most teams; however, the same could not be said about the deadlifts.

Some pairs struggled with this portion of the workout, principally because of the requirement to work simultaneously. Having one team member work through deadlifts, while their partner held their barbell at the hang, resulted in fatigued grips and weary forearms.

Warehouse Warriors in Heat 2, who were visibly pleased by their performance, were the first team to finish the event in the 21-minute time cap.

“We have been training with each other for a while and we are very familiar with each other’s strengths and weaknesses, so we made sure we sent out the right couples at the right time,” said Craig Harriman of Warehouse Warriors.

The Heat 3 teams had swag and weren’t afraid to show it.

While the men of InnerFight chose to don hot pink board shorts, CrossFit Asia wore Captain America t-shirts and Shogun CrossFit sported bright pink tank tops.

As Heat 3 began, the first couple from InnerFight went rep for rep with Shogun CrossFit, both finishing their first round at 7:30.

InnerFight opened up a slight lead when their second couple snuck past Shogun’s second couple, Allison Snyder and Michael O’Brien.

Unexpectedly, the second couple from CrossFit 0260 began to make their move and pushed Shogun into third.

Although this presented an opportunity for InnerFight to widen the gap, it was at this point that they hit a wall.

Matt Jones, the third male from InnerFight, struggled with double-unders, leading to a lag in the deadlift station and eventually resulted in the team squandering their lead.

This was just the opportunity 0260 and Shogun needed to power ahead.

0260 maintained their lead and finished strong with Kristen Johnson, the last female to perform, who strung five reps of toes-to-bars at a time and finished up their last set with relative ease.

“It’s absolutely inspiring to win our first event. Our strategy was to send the slowest pair first and the fastest last to prevent the log-jam on the deadlift and that seemed to have worked,” said Johnson.

0260 finished the event 13-seconds faster than Shogun, who maintained a steady pace to take second place.

“We were looking forward to this event and we are happy with the result. This is a classic CrossFit workout and we knew that we had to gain an early lead,” said Shogun team member Michael O’Brien.

After Event 7, CrossFit Shogun led InnerFight by 19 points.

Team Event 7 Results
1. CrossFit 0260 (18:59)
2. Shogun CrossFit (19:12)
3. Warehouse Warriors (19:19)

Team Event 8

In the final event of the weekend, teams were left to work individually for the first time, before passing the baton on. Unable to utilize the strategy of splitting responsibilities between specialists, weaknesses were quickly revealed and punished.

Game plans varied across the heats. Smaller athletes came off the pull-up bars quickly, but were stuck when confronted with the heavy overhead squats (185 / 115 lb.), whereas larger athletes took a longer time to reach the bar but eased through the weights with relative comfort.

At the end, only a handful of teams managed to reunite with more than half their members on the mat, leaving most athletes back at the start line cold but raring to go.

Event 8 was the final opportunity for the fans to show their support for these teams, and with most Asian athletes facing with the challenge of overhead squatting the equivalent of their bodyweight or more, the crowd had much to root for.

CrossFit Gangnam’s contingent of fans in gray hollered in excitement, as their second male athlete steadily made his way through the overhead squats unbroken, which helped to secure the team an overall lead in Heat 2.

“We don’t have the strongest athletes, but we cheer the loudest because we love them!” exclaimed a supporter from CrossFit Gangnam.

Highlighting the striking difference in skill sets between Asia and the rest of the regional, butterfly pull-ups only made their debut appearance in the final heat.

Taking the mat early was Se Won from CrossFit Asia, showing distinctive comfort with unbroken repetitions on all the pull-ups and squats. Unfortunately, the same could not be said with the women as the team watched their lead erode with Patty Banks struggling on the high volume of pull-ups.

“Our star athlete, Dana, was supposed to be the first female but she injured her shoulder yesterday. We had to change our strategy, but luckily our girls were strong enough to cover for each other,” said Se Won, drawing attention to Dana Allison’s performance in the earlier event, where the normally efficient athlete struggled through the double-unders.

Without missing a beat, Shogun CrossFit’s Miki Mullen pulled the team ahead by demonstrating commendable strength in her unbroken overhead squats.

Left fighting for the final two podium places were defending champions CrossFit Asia and InnerFight, who both managed to send two thirds of the team to the finishing line, tying for second place.  

“Shogun has been strong right to the end, and we’re happy for them. Next year, we will be back, whether it’s with the same team or otherwise. For now, we’re just glad the weekend is over,” commented Marcus Smith from InnerFight.

By the time Austin Hiracheta of Shogun CrossFit crossed the finish line as the fourth male athlete, the team had punched their ticket to Carson. Finishing consistently within the top ten all weekend, Shogun CrossFit reclaimed their victory from 2012, proving once more that in the CrossFit competition, fortune favors the versatile.

Team Event 8 Results
1. Shogun CrossFit (17:57)
2T. InnerFight (18:02)
2T. CrossFit Asia (18:02)

Overall Standings
1. Shogun CrossFit (19)
2. InnerFight (39)
3. CrossFit Asia (53)
4. CrossFit CSTL (57)
5. CrossFit Misawa (61)
6. CrossFit 0260 (66)
7. CrossFit Utmost (66)
8. CrossFit TLV (75)
9. CrossFit Zest (93)
10. CrossFit Hub (95)

Correction: Kristen Johnson was originally incorrectly named Kristen Arnold in Team Event 7.