May 10, 2014
Canada West Update: Day 1
By Lisa Zane

Lucas Parker and Erica Livett lead in the overall standings.



Event 1: One-Rep Max Hang Squat Snatch

Expectations were high for Lucas Parker and Tyson Takasaki heading into the one-rep max snatch event that started the Individual Competition, since the two have the heaviest snatches in the region. Parker has snatched 291 lb., while Takasaki has snatched 290 lb. from the ground.

Event 1 demanded hang squat snatches, and only gave the competitors three chances to set a one-rep max.

Parker was conservative at the start, opening with 245 lb. before going up to 255 lb., and ending with a failed attempt at 275 lb. After dropping the barbell, the ginger-bearded athlete immediately turned and waved to the audience in appreciation.

“I opened conservatively, because I didn’t want to miss my first lift at 245, and then I was just not lucky enough to make that last lift,” he said. “I’ve been a little apprehensive about my shoulder all year, especially with this weekend being fairly shoulder-dominant. But it feels good so far, so knock on wood!”

Where Parker failed, Takasaki succeeded.

Takasaki managed to hang squat snatch 280 lb. to win the event, despite a torn ligament in his left thumb.

“Definitely a PR from the hang by 10lb,” he said. “I’ve done 270 in practice, but the 280 today was the highest. I think the 280 will put me in decent standings with this field of players.”

Brent Fikowski earned second place with a 260-lb. hang squat snatch. The contender is new to the region; he’s better known down under where he took sixth at the 2013 Australia Regional.  

Zach Carlin pulled off a 255-lb. snatch, tying Parker for third.

Event 1 Results
1. Tyson Takasaki (280 lb.)
2. Brent Fikowski (260 lb.)
3T. Lucas Parker (255 lb.)
3T. Zach Carlin (255 lb.)

Event 2: Max Distance Handstand Walk

Two minutes after setting their one-rep max hang squat snatch, the competitors advanced to Event 2: max distance handstand walk in three minutes.

Parker walked across the 120-foot competition floor once, and came close to crossing it a second time before he lost his balance and fell at the 210-foot marker.

Fikowski walked 15 feet further than Parker to finish just 15 feet short of two full passes of the competition floor.

The only man to do better than Parker and Fikowski was regional rookie Justin Liwanag. Liwanag successfully crossed the 120-foot competition floor twice before falling five feet into his third crossing. He won the event with a total of 245 feet.

“Not gonna lie – I was looking forward to this event,” Liwanag said. “I’ve been practicing a lot with Tyson (Takasaki) and he told me I could do it. I’ve never done a 120-foot straight-away before, so it was definitely a PR.”

This is Liwanag’s last opportunity to compete for at least two years, as he will soon report for a two-year prison sentence.

Jason Burke, an athlete who had never successfully completed a handstand walk prior to the event, pulled off a huge PR, walking 40 feet.

“It’s just luck,” Burke said.

Ninety five feet into the handstand walk, Takasaki’s injured thumb got pinched and he fell earlier than he had expected. The 95-foot walk put the Event 1 winner in 13th place on Event 2.

Event 2 Results
1. Justin Liwanag (245 ft.)
2. Brent Fikowski (225 ft.)
3. Lucas Parker (210 ft.)

Event 3: Nasty Girls V2

Nine years after Nasty Girls was released as the WOD, the competitors in Canada West tore through Nasty Girls V2.

The second version of Nasty Girls was extra nasty. Castro put pistols where air squats used to be, and added 40-lb. to the hang power cleans.

Taylor Mason made a rookie mistake in the first heat, speeding into the lead before fatigue set in on the last set of muscle-ups. All but one man got ahead of him as he struggled to pull his body above the rings, and push out of the dip.

“I am still learning,” Mason said. “I am working on finding consistency to get to the end and push through the pain in last rounds.”

After Mason finished in 14:01, Jason Biggeman was the only athlete left on the floor. The other athletes gathered around him and cheered him to the finish. He racked his last clean and stepped onto the finish mat 20 seconds before the 16-minute time cap.

“That’s the only thing that got me through it, there at the end,” Biggeman said. “Just watching them yell at me, and knowing they were done already, but they stayed to help me out.”

In the final heat, the men were so close that it was hard to tell who was in the lead. Mitch Barnard separated himself from the pack in the second round, and kept it until the last set of muscle-ups. Barnard was the rabbit, and Parker was hunting him down. Parker and Barnard came off the rings at the same time, and went rep-for-rep on the cleans before jumping on the finish mat.

The finish was so close that even when watching the slow motion footage on the livestream, the commentators struggled to see the difference. Parker edged Barnard out for the Event 3 win.

“During warm-ups, Mitch (Barnard) said he was just gonna go for it and see what happened,” Parker said. “So I decided to start more conservatively and see what I could throw in at the end. I saw him go unbroken on the first two rounds of muscle-ups, but the last round he broke them up, and it was those 20 seconds that allowed me to catch up. But definitely a dramatic finish for two contrasting strategies coming to a head at the end.”

Event 3 Results
1. Lucas Parker (7:57)
2. Mitch Barnard (7:58)
3T. Brent Fikowski (8:27)
3T. Joe Scali (8:27)
3T. Zach Carlin (8:27)

Overall Standings
1. Lucas Parker (7)
2. Brent Fikowski (7)
3. Zach Carlin (11)
4. Tyson Takasaki (20)
5. Mitch Barnard (21)
6. Joe Scali (23)
7. Jason Cain (26)
8. Chris Vienneau (31)
9. John Gillis (34)
10. Jonathan Gibson (36)


Neither of the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games veterans are competing in the Canada West Regional this year, leaving the region’s two berths to the Games up for grabs.

The field is further widened by the absence of second-seeded athlete, 42-year-old Jolaine Bloom. Forced to withdraw due to food poisoning, Bloom will nonetheless compete in the CrossFit Games but in the 40-44 Division.

Event 1: One-Rep Max Hang Squat Snatch

Fans didn’t have to wait long to see the heaviest women’s one-rep max snatch.

It was set in the second heat by a woman who stands at just 5’0”. Christina Verhagen loaded with barbell to 175-lb, deadlifted it to her waist, violently jumped, and caught it. She stood up from the bottom of the overhead squat to the cheers from the crowd.

She even surprised herself.

“I PR-ed the snatch by five pounds, and it felt very good!” Verhagen said. “You know, I asked Lucas Parker how to be good at CrossFit, and he told me I needed to get strong to compete. So I spent a year getting strong and it paid off today.”

Six competitors chased Verhagen, but finished 15-lb. behind her with a one-rep max of 160 lb. Emily Abbott, Brittany Brown, Whitney Darchuck, Erica Livett, Taryn Romanowich, and Chrystal Shoff snatched 160 lb. to tie for second place.

Emily Beers, Deanna Fester, and Chelsea Miller lifted the third-heaviest weight of 150 lb., but with a six-way tie ahead of them they took 8th in the event.

Event 2 Results
1. Christina Verhagen (175 lb.)
2T. Emily Abbott (160 lb.)
2T. Brittany Brown (160 lb.)
2T. Whitney Darchuck (160 lb.)
2T. Erica Livett (160 lb.)
2T. Taryn Romanowich (160 lb.)
2T. Crystal Shoff (160 lb.)
8T. Emily Beers (150 lb.)
8T. Deanna Fester (150 lb.)
8T. Chelsea Miller (150 lb.)

Event 2: Max Distance Handstand Walk

Two minutes after the women snatched, they got upside down to walk as far as possible on their hands.

In the first heat, Taryn Haggerstone came within 40 feet of making two passes of the competition floor.

She set the bar for the women to come, but even with the standard set no women in the later heats could match her.

Beers kicked up in the third heat, and walked across the floor. After kicking down at the end of the competition floor, she rested on the finish mat before trying to take a second pass. She got another 40 feet across the floor before she lost her balance, and fell.

“I would have been very angry with myself if I hadn’t made it to the end of the first length, because I did gymnastics for many years as a kid,” Beers said, adding that she was excited because she had never done handstand walks in competition before.

Beers and Haggerstone were the only two women to reach the end of the competition floor and turn around. Erica Livett came within twenty feet of making one full pass to take third on the event.

Jayde Quilty’s 35-foot walk didn’t get her high on the leaderboard, but she took it as a win.

“For the last six months, I have practiced handstand walks twice a week,” Quilty said. “It’s paid off.

Event 2
1. Taryn Haggerstone (200 ft.)
2. Emily Beers (160 ft.)
3. Erica Livett (100 ft.)

Event 3: Nasty Girls V2

The 16-minute time cap for the three rounds of 50 pistols, 7 muscle-ups, and 10 115-lb. hang power cleans was aggressive. Few athletes in the early heats finished all the work.

Taryn Haggerstone was one of the few. She notched six muscle-ups early in the first round, but failed multiple attempts at her last rep. Finally, she completed it with only one-minute left on the clock.

Later, former Canada East and Europe Regional competitor, Tina Popp, sped through the pistols in the second heat. Wearing a tank top that read Oh My Quad, Popp had the legs necessary to handle the reps.

“I visited Miami Beach and the comments you get as a woman with muscular legs are crazy, so you know, I wanted to embrace it,” Popp said afterward.

Popp finished well within the time cap, at 12:35.

The third heat was packed with women vying for the fastest time on the event. Whitney Darchuck, Sarah Bustard, and Jenn Webber led early on with Alex Parker not far behind. In the final round, Parker got ahead. After her final set of muscle-ups, Parker sprinted to the barbell and completed her 10 hang power cleans unbroken to take a come-from-behind win. Eight seconds later, Webber joined her on the finish mat. It would take another 48 seconds for Bustard to finish.

“I knew this would be a good event because all three movements are a strength for me,” Parker said. “But you never know where you’re gonna stack up in the end.”

Event 3 Results
1. Alex Parker (11:34)
2. Jenn Webber (11:42)
3. Sarah Bustard (12:30)

Overall Standings
1. Erica Livett (10)
2. Whitney Darchuck (14)
3. Jenn Webber (20)
4. Emily Beers (22)
5. Emily Abbott (22)
6. Nancy McKeage (25)
7. Alex Parker (26)
8. Taryn Romanowich (26)
9. Christina Verhagen (28)
10. Brittany Brown (32)

As Day 1 comes to a close, the athletes are headed home to recover, with the daunting strict handstand push-ups and rope climbs to come.

*Additional reporting by Jamie Bougie and Laurel Peters.