Everyone loves a race—especially when it’s between five-time Pacific Regional champion Kara Saunders and 2017 Reebok CrossFit Games champion Tia-Clair Toomey.
“I just laugh now, because every workout I do I’m like, ‘Oh hey there she is,’” Saunders said after winning Event 4 in 5:49.48, her first win of the weekend.
Toomey finished second in 6:04.63, and the pair had remained within a handful of reps of each other throughout the couplet of snatches and bar-facing burpees. Saunders maintained the lead throughout the event with deliberate, measured burpees and somewhat inconsistent snatches—sometimes she did singles, sometimes she held on for larger sets.
“I’ve been leaving it up to interpretation this week,” she said of her game plan, grinning.
The pair had also raced in the previous event, although for second place. All the Event 3 glory went to Courtney Haley, a two-time individual Regional athlete and former national-level gymnast. She broke away at the first obstacle, maintaining her lead as she stayed steady while others—including the world’s fittest women—got stuck on the stairs. Haley finished at 9:33.94, and the win, coupled with a 15th-place Event-4 finish, put her in fourth after Day 2.
“I absolutely loved it,” she said after the win.
James Newbury must have studied Mat Fraser’s playbook.
Fraser famously won the Central Regional last week with five event wins and one ninth-place finish. As of the end of Day 2, Newbury has four event wins and one ninth-place finish.
“Have faith in your training, have faith in your ability, put in your best effort and you’ll be fine,” he said of his strategy.
Perhaps more important than Newbury’s fourth win was Khan Porter’s first second-place finish in Event 4.
The three-time Games vet missed qualification by two spots last year and entered Day 2 this year in eighth. After a 15th-place finish in Event 3, he dropped to ninth. Then came the burpees.
He couldn’t fend off Newbury, who made the arena floor look like a trampoline as he rebounded from chest to feet, but Porter’s burpees weren’t too shabby, either. He stayed low and kept his transitions fast, and Porter’s second-place finish was enough to put him in fourth overall, tied for points at 268 with fifth-place Matt Mcleod and just two points ahead of Brandon Swan, in sixth.
Rasmus Andersen made his first CrossFit Games appearance as an individual competitor in 2016. Then he failed to qualify the following year, finishing the 2017 Meridian Regional in ninth. Though he started the weekend just outside contention in fifth, top finishes in Saturday’s events put him not just in contention but in the top spot overall.
On Friday night, Andersen posted that he was looking forward to Event 3.
“Excited to show that big guys can still be gymnasts,” he wrote. Andersen weighs 215 lb. and stands at 6 feet.
Though Jonas Mueller took the early lead in the event, Andersen overtook him with an unbroken third handstand walk. Lukas Esslinger made a push to catch the Dane, but Andersen was more confident on the obstacle, his neon-yellow shoes waving in the air as he left Esslinger behind.
“It was really important to get ahead of him,” Andersen said after winning the event in 9:52.49.
Event 4 went to Willy Georges. The Frenchman took 18th in his debut Regional appearance last year; this season, he finished the Open in third worldwide and has held a qualifying spot all weekend so far.
Though Georges’ bar-facing burpees were not as fast as some of his competitors’—Georges paused slightly at the knee and then again at the top of each rep—his touch-and-go snatches on the heavy barbell bought him the berth he needed to stay clear of Esslinger and Andersen. Georges took the win at 5:42.24, and French flags waved throughout the stands as he gave his winner’s interview.
“Thank you to everybody. The French support is really helpful,” he said, his French translated by an interpreter.
Last year, Jamie Greene took fourth in the Meridian. With none who finished ahead of her competing in the Meridian this year, she was the favored to win. So far, she does not disappoint, following back-to-back second-place finishes on Day 1 with a pair of firsts on Day 2.
Though Lauren Fisher was faster on the early handstand walks of Event 3, Greene cycled the single-leg squats more quickly, capitalizing on the lead even more when Fisher stumbled on the second handstand walk. Greene won at 10:01.13 to Fisher’s third-place 11:55.76 (second went to Alizee Andreani in Heat 1).
Greene followed her first win of the weekend with her second, taking Event 4 in 6:05.99.
She shared some wisdom afterward.
“Get to the finish line faster. You get to rest longer.”
Meanwhile, Oddrun Eik Gylfadottir, who had been in eighth at the end of Day 1, edged out Manila Pennacchio for second in Event 4, launching her to fourth overall with just two points more than Carmen Bosmans in fifth.
After finishing Day 1 in ninth yesterday, last night, defending Regional champion Noah Ohlsen posted that he wasn’t worried. He showed why in Event 3.
He devoured the handstand walks with no rest after the muscle-ups and still did all but one crossing unbroken. If it weren’t for a no rep on his last set of muscle-ups, he might even have taken the event record from Mat Fraser. But points are more important than records, and the 100 Ohlsen earned in Event 3—combined with 94 points earned with a second-place Event 4 finish—put him in first going into the final day of competition, 40 points ahead of second-place John Coltey.
“That one was for you, Nick,” he said after winning Event 3, dedicating the performance to a family friend who recently died from a heart attack.
Alec Smith’s second- and seventh-place finishes put him in the fifth and final spot after Day 2, with big brother, Games veteran and 2015 Games champ Ben Smith, outside the bubble in sixth, six points out from qualification.
Ohlsen wasn’t the only one who made a comeback on Day 2. Emily Bridgers, who has announced that this year will be her last of competition, moved from 11th after Day 1 to second after Day 2 with back-to-back wins on Events 3 and 4.
And she didn’t just win them, she took the records—on both events.
She padded through Event 3 with confident, short steps on her hands, her legs angled in a wide V above her. She finished at 8:21.86, about 10 seconds faster than the previous record set by Marisa De Los Santos in the South.
After the win, Bridgers said she was looking forward to Event 4.
“I really like burpees,” she said, grinning.
She wasn’t kidding. Though Bridgers did the heavy snatches in singles, her burpees were low and fast. She spun in the air as she cleared the barbell. Her record-breaking time of 5:29.38 held through the final heat, where Cassidy Lance-McWherter took third and moved into first overall at the end of Day 2.
PACIFIC - STANDINGS AFTER DAY 2
1. James Newbury (364)
2. Dean Linder-Leighton (304)
3. Bayden Brown (274)
4. Khan Porter (268)
5. Matt Mcleod (268)
1. Tia-Clair Toomey (388)
2. Kara Saunders (358)
3. Justine Beath (300)
4. Courtney Haley (290)
5. Madeline Sturt (274)
1. Reebok CrossFit Frankston (352)
2. Schwartzs CrossFit Melbourne (334)
3. CrossFit East Tamaki (318)
4. CrossFit 121 (312)
5. CrossFit Athletic (290)
MERIDIAN - STANDINGS AFTER DAY 2
1. Rasmus Andersen (328)
2. Elliot Simmonds (324)
3. Willy Georges (310)
4. Lukas Esslinger (308)
1. Jamie Greene (388)
2. Lauren Fisher (308)
3. Manila Pennacchio (286)
4. Oddrun Eik Gylfadottir (262)
1. CF Riviera Team (342)
2. CrossFit Valley Road (332)
3. Cape CrossFit Wolfpack (304)
4. CrossFit Norte Redondela (288)
ATLANTIC - STANDINGS AFTER DAY 2
1. Noah Ohlsen (324)
2. John Coltey (284)
3. Mitch Wagner (276)
4. Ethan Helbig (276)
5. Alec Smith (266)
1. Cassidy Lance-McWherter (336)
2. Emily Bridgers (322)
3. Mekenzie Riley (316)
4. Lindsay Eder (260)
5. Paige Semenza (258)
1. Team Soul (352)
2. Dwala Rangers (336)
3. TTT Animus (332)
4. CrossFit Balance (330)
5. Hustlehard CrossFit (314)
For complete standings after Day 2, visit the Leaderboard.