June 3, 2013
North West Regional Report: Last Climb
By Robin Runyan, Carla Conrad and Ivory Carr

After a long, strenuous weekend, the competitors faced one last challenge.


To finish the weekend, the competitors had to speed through rope climbs and squat cleans.


After a long, strenuous weekend, the teams faced one last challenge. The teams alternated between men and women, with three sets of two rope climbs and 2, 3, or 4 squat cleans. This event was the last chance for some teams to secure a top three spot and a ticket to the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games.

The final heat was fast paced and high energy. CrossFit Fort Vancouver (14:23) continued its near perfect weekend with a first place finish in the event. Showing all around strength, stamina, and collaboration each Fort Vancouver team member made quick work of their ascents and squat cleans.

“We had a blast this weekend. We are super pumped to be heading to perform at the Games,” Adam Neiffer of Fort Vancouver said.

Neiffer was impressed by the energy of the crowd and the support from the Fort Vancouver cheering section.

“It was electric out there. You could feel the energy from the crowd on the floor,” he said.

Fort Vancouver won it all in 2010 and returns to Carson seeking to bring the Affiliate Cup back to the North West.

Jet City only finished outside of the top four on one event and they were determined to make it back to Carson. Ryan Calkins and the entire team were all smiles at the end of the competition.

“We are really excited. After finishing in fourth last year it feels really good to earn a solid second place and a trip to compete in Carson,”  Calkins said.

The third and final spot on the podium appeared to be up for grabs going into the final heat of Event 7. Spokane Valley looked to maintain its location at third and secure a spot to compete at Carson. Owner and team athlete Dan Staton was firm and passionate when he explained what his team was at Regionals to accomplish.

“I said it before; we are here to prove it again. Last year there were doubters and rumors so this year we had to come back to show that our training is legit and remember all along we knew our integrity was solid,” Staton said.

After earning a spot last year, then being disqualified, the Spokane Valley was determined to show that they're a clean and competent team.

When asked specifically about their stellar performance on Event 7 Staton pointed to teammates, Jason Uberuaga and Salem Giampietro.

“Anchors! Talk to our anchors,” Staton said.

“That was why we were picked as anchors and we did what we had to do,” Uberuaga explained.

Spokane Valley’s first male competitor, Kevin Longmeier, suffered an injury during his portion of the event but managed to finish, leaving the team at a deficit.

“We obviously didn’t anticipate the injury and when we saw it we didn’t get discouraged. We just knew that each of us would have to work that much harder to make it happen,” Giampietro said.

The team rallied to finish the event in second and overall in third securing the coveted final qualification to Carson.

Event 7
1. CrossFit Fort Vancouver (14:23)
2. Spokane Valley (15:24)
3. Jet City (15:50)

Games Qualifiers
1. CrossFit Fort Vancouver (9)
2. Jet City (26)
3. Spokane Valley (31)
The first two heats for the women’s final event engaged the crowd, cheering for their athletes as they walked onto the competition floor at ShoWare Center.
In Heat 1, Diana Shaw waved as the announcer told the crowd that today was her birthday. It was Michelle Belden crossed the wire first, her first heat win of the weekend.
In Heat 2, Kelsey Nagel quickly pulled ahead of the field with efficient, fast rope climbs and squat cleans to finish at 5:01.8, sixteen seconds before Erin Gessford. Nagel placed 4th in the Event overall and finished 11th on the final leaderboard, moving up twenty five places from her standings after Event 1.
In the women’s final heat, the top athletes swiftly ascended the ropes at 3,2,1...go. Rory Zambard was first across the floor to the bar and her touch and go cleans advanced her time effectively.Briana Sands was first back to the ropes and continued with a slight lead for the rest of the heat, finishing in first at 4:30.5.
Zambard reached the wire seven seconds behind Sands with 4:37.5 and that time put Zambard atop the final Leaderboard. Ashleigh Moe came in 5th at 5:05.8 and Emily Carothers was 16th for Event 7 at 6:22.7.
Lindsay Vaughan was the last athlete to the final set of cleans, as the women gathered around to encourage and cheer. Vaughan completed under the time cap at 9:33.5 to the enthusiastic crowd crescendo.
Zambard thanked her box, CrossFIt Bellevue and family for all the support throughout the weekend.
“Listening to the crowd, hearing my friends and family cheering for me will be a wonderful  memory that I will have from this experience. Also, completing the 100s in Event 4 was amazing, but my best memory was stepping on that pad in the last event, finishing,” she said.
Ashleigh Moe was thrilled with the support from her box, with nearly fifty fans from CrossFit Skagit to cheer her on to her 2nd place finish.
What was the first thing they would do post Regionals? Both athletes agreed. “Eat!”
Event 7
1. Briana Sands (4:30.5)
2. Rory Zambard (4:37.5)
3.  Samantha Snyder (4:54.8)
Games Qualifiers
1. Rory Zambard (31)
2. Ashley Moe (40)
3. Emily Carothers (46)
In between the 225-pound squat cleans and the rope climbs, the North West men found ways to have a good time in Event 7. In Heat 2, John Petroff, who sported the best mustache from the weekend, was the last to finish. The rest of the heat surrounded him and cheered him on, which helped him to finish at the last second. He joked afterwards, “Was my form good?” 
High fives and faster times filled Heat 3. Mark Buskas and Matthew Coffelt battled rep for rep throughout the workout, with Buskas finishing at 5:04.3 and 5:04.6. Some of the men started high-fiving each other as they passed other competitors on the sprints.
Eye of the Tiger played as the top men took the floor for the final heat of the day. The top 12 men looked calm as they approached the starting mat. But when the timer went off, the race up the ropes started, with the tall overall leader Bryan Miller jumping up half the rope at a time. Ryan Swobody flew up the rope like Spiderman in his attempt to secure his third place spot.
The pace stayed fast and furious throughout the first few rounds. After the second round of rope climbs, Noah Pester looked over at teammate and friend Swobody and smiled. 
“We’re constantly messing with each other. We were evenly matched throughout the workout and I was comfortable knowing he was there,” Swobody said after the event.
Kevin Simons, going into the event in fourth place, followed Swobody close in the third round, trying to get that third spot. But it was the overall leader Miller who secured his first place finish with a time of 4:38. Swobody closely followed at 4:48, and Ben Stoneberg at 4:58.
Swobody says that this is the first year he allowed himself to believe that he could make it to the Games. He will join Master’s qualifier Litsa Olsson from his affiliate, CrossFit Marysville, at the Games this summer.
“I’m excited to be down there with her,” he said.
When talking about CrossFit Marysville, which he owns with Pester, he choked up.
“I couldn’t ask for anything more,” he says. “They took an entire weekend off to yell for me.”
Stoneberg said he feels stronger than when he competed at the Games in 2011. The CrossFit Intensify athlete did his own programming leading up to the 2013 North West Regional and plans on adding some running into his training before the Games.
“All of the workouts went as I practiced this weekend,” he said. “I did what I expected to do in the workouts and I’m happy to be here and to go back to the Games.”
Miller had three first place finishes this weekend, including two on the last day. He’s been following the Invictus Competition blog for programming and plans on sticking to that heading into the Games. 
After being happily surprised to lead this weekend, Miller worked hard and had fun through the workouts.
“The last day was the most fun. I was a little stressed out and sore going into today,” Miller said.
His box, CrossFit Beaverton, cheered him on all week.
“It was great knowing they were there and had my back,” he said.
Event 7
1. Bryan Miller (4:38)
2. Ryan Swobody (4:48)
3. Ben Stoneberg (4:58)
Games Qualifiers
1. Bryan Miller (20)
2. Ben Stoneberg (25)
3. Ryan Swobody (32)