May 30, 2014
North East Team Report: Day 1
By Keka Schermerhorn

Day 1 was all about strategy for the teams in the North East.

For the fourth consecutive year, athletes and spectators gathered at the Reebok Headquarters in Canton, Massachusetts for the North East Regional.

With 11 out of the top 30 women, and six out of the top 30 men in the North East choosing to compete on a team, including three-time individual Games competitor Daniel Tyminski, the expectations for this already competitive field are high.

CrossFit New England’s CFNE Team A placed second at the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games, and is seeking its sixth consecutive invitation to the Games, and another shot at the Affiliate Cup, despite only having one returning member from last year’s squad.

The time to beat for Event 1 was set early on in Heat 1 by CrossFit Virtuosity, with a time of 7:49.

CrossFit King of Island Park, which beat the event record in practice, came up 34 seconds short of it in competition, but still had the best time of the day at 7:44.

“There’s just a few things that were off,” team captain Mike Abgarian said. “We had three no-reps for lock out—it's subtle differences. In our gym, the bars deaden when we drop, so we found we are faster dropping singles. Here, the bars bounced, so we kept having to move the bar back. Molly (Abgarian) went unbroken and then I had to catch up! It was still good though.”

Team Event 1

There was nowhere to hide during the first team event, as all six team members faced the muscle-ups. The high-skill gymnastics movement exposed weaknesses, with some teams choosing to take the muscle-up penalties and moving on to the comparatively easier clean and jerks.

For the past three weeks of regionals, Event 1 has been the biggest predictor of whether or not a team would end up on the podium on Sunday, with 92 percent of the teams who won Event 1 ending up with an invitation to the Games.

Most teams employed a similar strategy, sending out their best players first so as to give their later women as much time as possible to get through the smaller sets of the couplet. Athletes were only allowed three failed muscle-up attempts before having to move on to the clean and jerks and taking a penalty for each incomplete rep.

Rest too little in between reps, and you risk a failed attempt. Rest too much, and you may run out of time, leaving the relatively light clean and jerk reps unfinished, costing additional penalty points.

Jessica Pamanian helped her team, CrossFit Virtuosity, to a No. 3 spot after Day 1.

“It didn’t go as planned on the muscle-ups. The rings are different than we are used to—the straps are longer and we were swinging. But we improvised. That’s what it’s all about.”

Flashing a huge smile, Pamanian added: “I kinda like this feeling. Being on a team. It feels good.”

Team Event 1 Results
1. CrossFit King of Island Park (7:44)
2. CrossFit Virtuosity (7:49)
3. CrossFit Free (8:00)

Team Events 2 and 3

With little more than an hour to recover from the muscle-up and clean and jerk relay, athletes returned to the competition floor to take on Events 2 and 3.

For Event 2, teams had eight minutes and two tries per athlete to amass the sum of the highest successful hang squat snatches for each team member. Athletes needed to move with speed, precision and caution if they wanted to contribute big numbers to their team’s total.  

Event 2 was plagued by no-reps, most of them a result of the athlete not hitting full depth.

Once their times at the platform came to an end, teams had two minutes to transition to Event 3, where instead of the barbell, athletes would put their feet overhead, for a max-distance handstand walk.

Technique varied tremendously, with team members walking nearly the whole length of the field in an upside down split, or a scorpion-like backbend.

Female athletes in the North East proved their strength under pressure with all three females on Team Dynamix Strength hitting a 150-lb. snatch.

Kaitlyn Fitzgerald, from CrossFit King of Island Park, hit 165 lb., the highest hang snatch by a woman on a team.

 Kylee Claxton walked the length of the field during the handstand walk, proving her efficiency while inverted.

“In practice, my contacts kept falling out, so I had to bring out contact solution, eye drops, everything,” Claxton said. “I was so proud of making it all the way! The hardest part was knowing where you were on the floor, but the judges would call out for you so that helped.”

Games veteran Tyminski, competing on CrossFit Lindy due to an injury during the Open, contributed a 245-lb. snatch to the team’s score.

“Two-hundred forty-five felt great,” Tyminski said. “I really wanted 265 but I was scrambling to get the weight on the bar and just ran out of time.”

Event 2 Results
1. Team Dynamix Strength (1145)
2. CrossFit King of Island Park (1070)
3. CrossFit Southie (1065)

Event 3 Results
1. Team Dynamix Stregth (710)
2.  CrossFit Free (590)
3.  CrossFit Wicked (575)

Overall Standings
1. CrossFit King of Island Park (8)
2. Team Dyamix Strength (9)
3. CrossFit Virtuosity (15)
4. CrossFit Wicked (18)
5. CrossFit Milford A (18)
6. Reebok CrossFit 5th Ave Rhinos (18)
7. CrossFit Free (25)
8. CFGC (26)
9. CFNE Team A (27)
10. CrossFit Southie (30)

Three teams, CrossFit Wicked, CrossFit Milford A and Reebok CrossFit 5th Ave Rhinos, sit in fourth place with 18 points each, a mere three points away from third.

As Day 1 comes to a close for teams, so does the focus on individual skills. Events 4 and 5 will test their ability to communicate and function as a team.