May 31, 2014
NorCal Team Report: Day 2
By Hilary Achauer, with Matt Nichols and Laura Lee Cole

Moving day.

As Pat Sherwood put it on the "CrossFit Games Update," Saturday is moving day.

By the end of Saturday, the Leaderboard is often a very different place than it was the previous day.

Going into Day 2, Rocklin CrossFit Honeybadgers were comfortably in first place, six points ahead of second place CrossFit 808. Diablo CrossFit—looking to make their fifth trip to the Games—was in third place.

After completing Events 4, 5 and 6, Rocklin and CrossFit 808 held onto their first- and second-place spots, but a new team moved into third place: NorCal CrossFit.

To make it to the Games, NorCal will have to hold off Caffeine and Kilos, only three points behind them in fourth place. 

Team Events 4 and 5

On the morning of Day 2, the teams were split along gender lines.

In Event 4, the women took on a descending ladder of thrusters and rope climbs, then the men tackled the same work immediately after in Event 5. The women of CrossFit 808, including former Games athlete Elyse Umeda, won Event 4 with a time of 8:11, just missing Brick Nation’s event record of 8:08.

NorCal CrossFit claimed their second event record of the weekend, finishing in 6:42, well ahead of the previous record, 7:09, set by CrossFit Marysville.

As they’ve done for every event, CrossFit Santa Cruz ran out on the floor holding hands. Many of the athletes on the team not only train together, they are also coworkers at CrossFit HQ.

In Event 4, the women of CrossFit 808 were the first to finish the 50 thrusters. Their transitions were smooth, with each woman finishing her reps quickly. Then they moved onto the 10 rope climbs, each athlete completing two climbs in a row.

Their speed on the rope climbs increased CrossFit 808’s lead over Rocklin CrossFit Honeybadgers. Rocklin’s women made up some time on the thrusters, but they were no match for 808’s efficient, relentless pace.

In the lead the entire event, the women of CrossFit 808 finished their last six rope climbs, two ascents for each teammate, before finishing in first.

The team credited their win to communication and smooth transitions during the thrusters.

“Transitions were a big part of that workout,” Elyse Umeda said, “minimizing transitions and communicating with your teammates.”

Six-foot Brandy Richardson took on the biggest sets of thrusters, and she said no matter how many times she practiced, the pain was the same.

“The thrusters today hurt just as much as they did in practice,” Richardson said.

The men of CrossFit 808 started off Event 5 in the lead, trying to follow in the women’s footsteps. They were the first to the rope climbs, but CrossFit 808 was quickly overtaken by the men of NorCal CrossFit. The team of Pat Barber, Elliot Waite and Nick Zambruno took on three rope climbs each, and they were first to the second set of thrusters.

No team would be able to catch the men of NorCal.  

NorCal picked up even more speed during the second set of the 135-lb. thrusters, breaking up most of the reps between Waite and Barber. The men wasted no time on their thruster transitions; as soon as a man put his hands on the bar, he dropped immediately into a front squat to begin his thruster.

Of this technique, Barber said, "It seemed to be the simplest way, seemed pretty fucking easy to bring your hands in and toss it to your partner. We practiced that way, and it worked out well,” he said.

Even with a slip on his first climb during NorCal's second visit to the rope, Barber and Zambruno stretched NorCal’s lead even further, returning them to the last set of thrusters with no other team to follow until they were several reps deep.

“You can only go as hard as you can go. I knew some people would be faster on thrusters, but I knew we would be faster on rope climbs. Nick and I are both fast and consistent on the rope. We needed Elliott to do more thrusters. We kept Elliott a little more fresh for the thrusters and Nick and me a little more fresh for the rope climbs,” Barber said.

NorCal CrossFit won the event, finishing 45 seconds ahead of any other team in their heat. Their win did not change the overall standings; NorCal remains in fifth place overall, with Rocklin CrossFit Honeybadgers holding tight to the first place spot.

Team Event 4 Results
1. CrossFit 808 (8:11)
2. Rocklin CrossFit Honeybadgers (8:43)
3. Diablo CrossFit Anejo (9:21)

Team Event 5 Results
1. NoCal CrossFit (6:42)
2. Rocklin CrossFit Honeybadgers (7:27)
3. CrossFit Natomas (7:28)

Team Event 6

To win this event, teams had to be fast. Event record fast. All of the top three teams in the last heat beat the standing event record of 16:08, set by Reebok CrossFit Frankston. The win went to Rocklin CrossFit, who finished 15:20. NorCal came in second, followed by CrossFit 808.

Event 6 was a relay of 9, 6 and 3 reps of strict handstand push-ups, hang power cleans and burpees. The first man for CrossFit 808, Joshua Akiona, finished his portion of the relay first in 1:53, sprinting between the transitions. But Barber, of NorCal CrossFit, used his elegant, efficient burpees to take the lead, and helped his team pull ahead. The NorCal men were done with their work in 6:29, followed by Rocklin CrossFit.

With the women going second in this event, the win came down to their ability to do strict handstand push-ups. Miranda Oldroyd was through her first set of burpees and back to the wall for her second set of handstand push-ups before the final male athletes from several teams had completed their first sets of hang power cleans.

Ashley Beaver of Caffeine and Kilos made up time for her team with rapid handstand push-ups, but 19-year-old Valerie Calhoun, of Rocklin CrossFit Honeybadgers, brought her team into the lead. Despite a few no-reps on her last three handstand push-ups, Rocklin’s anchor Jennie McKernan helped clinch the win for her team, their second so far.

“To be as fast as we wanted to be, we all needed to be unbroken. We were pretty excited about today. We felt really confident about it,” McKernan said.

Over two days and six events, Rocklin’s worst finish has been third; they’ve accumulated three second-place finishes, putting them 11 points ahead of second place.

Looking forward to the rest of the weekend, Rocklin's Gary Baron said they expect to have a rough time with Event 7.

“In practice it's just not our best, but, again, we don't know how other teams are going to stack up,” Baron said. “We can only do the best that we can.”

Team Event 6 Results
1. Rocklin CrossFit Honeybadgers (15:20)
2. NorCal CrossFit (15:40)
3. CrossFit 808 (16:06)

Overall Standings
1. Rocklin CrossFit Honeybadgers (11)
2. CrossFit 808 (22)
3. NorCal CrossFit (31)
4. Caffeine and Kilos (34)
5. Diablo CrossFit Anejo (42)
6. CrossFit 808 Plan B (54)
7. CrossFit Santa Cruz (56)
8. CrossFit Davis (66)
9. CrossFit Anywhere (68)
10. CrossFit CSA (68)