May 17, 2014
North West Update: Day 1
By Emily Beers, Carla Conrad and Tim McIntosh
Athletes began the day with a strategic decision: Snatch for an achievable weight or go for a personal max?
Athletes began the day with a strategic decision: Snatch for an achievable weight or go for a personal max?

Athletes began the day with a strategic decision: Snatch for an achievable weight or go for a personal max?

Spectators filed into the ShoWare Center in Kent, Washington, expecting fireworks between the top men's and women's competitors. And fireworks they received.

Athletes began the day with a strategic decision: Snatch for an achievable weight or go for a personal max?


Events 1 and 2

Ben Stoneberg and Cole Sager lifted on side-by-side platforms in Event 1. Both men opened at 235-lb. After hitting their lifts, both climbed to 255 lb. After their next two attempts, Sager finished with 265 lb., beating Stoneberg by 10 lb.

Sager and Stoneberg’s different styles showed during Event 2—the handstand walk—but brought similar results for the two rivals. Sager looked controlled, walking slowly, in a calculated, almost deliberate fashion. Stoneberg’s style was kamikaze, motoring down the course at turbo speed, his legs pawing the air.

Stoneberg barely slipped past Sager, finishing with a 235-ft. handstand walk, just 5 feet further than Sager.

“I think that’s the furthest I’ve ever gone,” said Stoneberg—16th at the CrossFit Games last year and favorite to return to California this summer. “At my gym I have to go around corners when I’m practicing.”

Event 1 Results
1. Connor Nelson (265 lb.)
2. Cole Sager (265 lb.)
3. Nicholas Rocco (260 lb.) 

Event 2 Results
1. Cody Anderson (280)
2. Andy Rosenbaum (270)
3T. Kaylor Hasbargen (235)
3T. Ben Stoneberg (235)

Event 3

Next up, Nasty Girls V2. Sager entered the event with six points and Stoneberg, seven.

Event 3 belonged to Stoneberg. Halfway through, Stoneberg was threatening Rich Froning’s blistering Event 3 Record (7:21). On his last clean, the bar yanked from his grip and clattered to the ground. But Stoneberg grabbed the bar, snapped out the last rep and stepped into the red finish square. He didn’t match Froning, but finished nearly a half-minute ahead of Sager.

Nasty Girls was, indeed, nasty. After topping his heat, Nelson Connor of CrossFit North Sound exhaled, bent over, then fetal-curled on his red finish mat.

Despite the intensity on the floor, Sager said there’s no rivalry between he and Stoneberg. In fact, Sager, Stoneberg and Austin Stack (currently fourth), bounce training ideas off each other often, Sager said.

“It’s like a brotherhood … we communicate all the time,” he said. 

The ultimate goal of these friends is to join each other in Carson, California in July.

“We want each other to be at the Games,” Sager said.

At the end of Day 1, Stoneberg leads with nine points, while Sager sits just one point back.

Event 3 Results
1. Ben Stoneberg (7:42)
2. Cody Anderson (7:53)
3. Cole Sager (8:14)

Overall Standings
1. Ben Stoneberg
2. Cole Sager
3. Cody Anderson
4. Austin Stack
5. Nicholas Rocco
6. Kaylor Hasbargen
7. Jesse Disch
8. Grant Piros
9. Daniel Spray
10. Andy Rosenbaum


Events 1 and 2

Rory Zambard and Emily Carothers—last year’s champions—are facing two challengers in the North West. On Day 1, Carleen Lessard and Samantha Petersen announced their intentions to dethrone the champs.

During the women’s snatch event, the athletes deployed various strategies to claiming a one-rep-max hang squat snatch. While some chose manageable weights, one athlete, Marisa Liepman, reached too far. Her 125-lb. attempt failed three times; she did not complete any attempts at that weight.

Petersen’s performance today announced a return to form. Peterson went to the Games in 2011 and 2012, but dipped during last year’s regional. A week before the regional, she discovered a thyroid problem. But today, she dominated the snatch event.

Peterson’s second snatch was a near miracle. After losing her balance, she tipped, stepped forward with her right foot, centered herself and completed the lift to huge cheers. That 160-lb. lift put her into a three-way tie for fourth place overall in Event 1.

During the last snatch heat, Carothers progressed in 5-lb. increments, beginning with 150. Zambard jumped by 10 lb. to 165 in her second attempt, but missed. Carothers was successful with each increase. Zambard attempted one more time at 165 and finally succeed.

Catlin Anderson of Arbor CrossFit and Zambard tied for first with 165 lb.

"I'm taking each workout one at a time and feeding off the adrenaline,” said Anderson. “With the level of competition here I'm not going to be top three so my strategy is to go out and try to smash every workout.”

Only 5 lb. separated the top 11 women. Five snatched 155, three hit 160 and three put 165-lb. overhead.

Carothers also shined during the handstand walk. A former NCAA University of Washington gymnastics title-holder, Carothers’ form was perfect as she completed two complete walks. During the third walk, her form waggled, but still added 20 feet to finish far ahead of the field with 260 feet.

“These workouts happen to be strengths of mine, so I expected to do well with them,” Carothers said. “My focus will be to pace myself, as I watched the coverage from last weekend and saw that the gals that came out fast did not do well. I will take it one workout at a time, focus on what I have to do and not be watching everybody else.”

Event 1 Results
1T. Caitlin Anderson (165 lb.)
1T. Molly Hunsinger (165 lb.)
1T. Rory Zambard (165 lb.)

Event 2 Results
1. Emily Carothers (260)
2. Kim Reinhardt (175)
3. Carleen Lessard (95)

Event 3

During the last heat of the day during Nasty Girls V2, Zambard, Carothers and Lessard matched each other rep-for-rep. Although Zambard eked out an early lead, Carothers grabbed first place during the middle of the event. Then Lessard slid past Zambard as the three raced for the red finish mat.

Sprinting from her last muscle-up, Lessard grabbed her bar, eager to catch Carothers. The crowd roared as Lessard got within two cleans of Carothers. But Lessard dropped the bar and Carothers stepped into the red square first.

Meanwhile, Brittany Chestnut snuck into third place ahead of Zambard.

“My strategy was to try and stay steady,” Zambard said. “Pistols are not my forte. It was a matter of staying consistent (on the cleans), but my grip got to me sooner than I expected. The scores are not what I hoped for but that … means things will be more interesting on Day 2 and 3.”

Lessard is pleased to be in second place.

“My being right next to (Carothers and Zambard) really helped me stay focused,” Lessard said, smiling. “My strategy is to bring it and beat ‘em.”

Event 3 Results
1. Emily Carothers (8:39)
2. Carleen Lessard (8:52)
3. Brittany Chestnut (9:40)

Overall Standings
1. Emily Carothers
2. Carleen Lessard
3. Rory Zambard
4. Regan Huckaby
5. Karen McCadam
6. Samantha Petersen
7. Kim Reinhardt
8. Molly Hunsinger
9. Brittany Chestnut
10. Lori Kline