December 7, 2017
Pernich Repeats; Kiel Is Crowned
By Brittney Saline
2017 Liftoff winners are crowned.
2017 Liftoff winners are crowned.

For the first time in CrossFit Liftoff history, we have a repeat champion.

Two-time CrossFit Games team athlete Cameron Pernich (he has competed with Boise CrossFit and Verdant CrossFit) won the men’s overall division of the 2017 CrossFit Liftoff—two max-effort lifts and a test of general physical preparedness—with a 325-lb. snatch and a 385-lb. clean and jerk.

Though the 23-year-old’s weightlifting total of 710 lb. put him outside the top 10 at 15th, he complemented his strength with overall fitness, taking second in Event 3 with 349 reps in the 12-minute AMRAP of 25 pull-ups, 50 calories on the rower, 100 overhead squats at 45 lb., 50 box jumps and 25 pull-ups.

In 2016, Pernich posted a total of 720 lb. at a body weight of 233 lb. This year, he weighed in at 224 lb., sacrificing 10 lb. on his total but improving his capacity in the test of GPP, increasing his reps per minute from approximately 27 to 29 in the AMRAP, which featured the same work as last year but in a timeframe shortened by three minutes.

The women, however, crowned a new champion. Twenty-six-year-old Kelsey Kiel, a 2016 CrossFit Games team athlete with CrossFit Parallax, won the overall women’s division at a body weight of 168 lb. with a 202-lb. snatch, a 257-lb. clean and jerk and 289 reps in Event 3. She earned top-12 finishes in all three events. 

Pernich and Kiel will each take home US$3,000.

The top male pound-for-pound prize went to 31-year-old Serafim Veli, who snatched 385 lb. and clean-and-jerked 455 lb. at a body weight of 198 lb.

For the second consecutive year, Evagelia Veli —who took eighth in the 53-kg weight class at the 2016 Rio Olympics—earned the women’s pound-for-pound title, snatching 205 lb. and clean-and-jerking 249 lb. at a body weight of approximately 122 lb. Her total of 454 lb. is a 22-lb. improvement over last year’s total, when she lifted at a body weight of 108 lb. (Veli also took second in the pound-for-pound category in 2015). Serafim and Evagelia—who share surnames but are not related—will each earn $3,000.

CrossFit is all about well-rounded fitness, but we all love a heavy lift. The CrossFit Liftoff celebrates moving large loads, and large loads were definitely lifted.

The men’s top snatch went to Gor Minasyan, a 23-year-old lifter from Asia, who snatched 396 lb. at a body weight of 310 lb. Aleksanyan Ruben took second with 385 lb., and the pair swapped places for the clean and jerk, where Ruben took first with 496 lb. and Minasyan took second with 473 lb.

On the women’s side, the top lifts belonged to Quiana Welch, who snatched 224 lb. at a body weight of 170 lb., and Cassidy Duffield, who clean-and-jerked 257 lb. at a body weight of 150 lb.

All of the top lifters will earn $3,000.

Just as in the CrossFit Games Open, the CrossFit Liftoff also featured teenage and masters competitors, with athletes ranging from 14 to 68 years of age, and one look at the Leaderboard proves that the only number that matters is the weight on the barbell.

You can view full results from each of the 16 age divisions by visiting the Leaderboard, but here are just a few highlights:

Fifteen-year-old Marya Drabicki, who took 10th in the Teen Girls 14-15 Division at the 2017 Reebok CrossFit Games, posted both the heaviest snatch and clean and jerk (175 lb. and 221 lb., respectively) at a body weight of 157 lb. Her weightlifting total of 396 lb. was six pounds heavier than Sequoia Barrera’s in the 16-17 Division, and would have put her in the top 50 in the Individual Women’s Division.

The Masters divisions saw some familiar faces, as CrossFit Games individual veteran-turned-master Neal Maddox took first in the Men’s 40-44 Division with a 255-lb. snatch and a 305-lb. clean and jerk at 40 years old and a body weight of 203 lb. Two-time CrossFit Games Masters 60+ champion David Hippensteel also added another title to his resumé, winning the Liftoff’s 60+ Division (he took first overall as well as first in each of the lifts) with a 172-lb. snatch and a 222-lb. clean and jerk at 61 years old and a body weight of 164 lb.

And if you needed any more convincing that age is just a number, if 40-year-old Marina Novelli, who won the overall Women’s 40-44 Division and posted a total of 410 lb. (she snatched 181 lb. and clean-and-jerked 229 lb. at a body weight of 152 lb.), had been ranked among the individual women, her total would have been good enough to make the top 35.

The barbells may have settled for now, but don’t let your calluses get too smooth. Registration for the 2018 Reebok CrossFit Games Open begins in January.

*This article may be updated to include winners as scoring validation completes.