May 19, 2012
Regional Report: Australia Tackles Snatches and Sprints
By Michael McCoy and John Michael Bric

This workout was as much about grit, determination and technique as it was about detail.

With the jitters of Day 1 put to rest, the competitors filed into the stadium and were greeted by the ominous sight of 70 and 100 pound dumbbells. The morning after Day 1 of the Australia Regional, in which we saw Kara Gordon achieve a world record, started with Event 3 that entailed a couplet of snatches and sprints.

This workout was as much about grit, determination and technique as it was about detail. Once again in all three divisions, mistakes were made, which became costly. Almost every heat saw competitors fail to complete full range of motion or make the tragic mistake of not placing both hands behind the line. As a result many athletes lost valuable time and wasted energy as they were forced to complete the sprint again.

Unfortunately, for many the snatches took their toll not only on their bodies but also on their participation in the Regional as they failed to meet the minimum requirements, ultimately marking the end of their journey. All in all, five teams and five women bowed out of the competition at Event 3:

CrossFit Norwest
CrossFit Albury Wodonga
CrossFit Dunedin
Raw Edge CrossFit
CrossFit Sydney

Lisa Michetti
Stephanie Brennan
Jo Mass
Claire Fraser

They will now have to wait until 2013 to make their mark.

Event 3
1.     Mahdi Te Heuheu: 3:51
2.     Chad McKay: 3:54
3T.   Sam Joraslafsky: 3:56
4T.   James Newbury: 3:56

1.     Rob Forte (16)
2.     Brendan Clarke (17)
3.     Brandon Swan (21)

Event 3 was always going to be the first real test for competitors at the Regional. Not only did competitors across the world struggle to complete this workout, many failed to make the first round cut.

In the Australia Region, however, all male competitors managed to make it through to the next workout.

Yesterdays Event 1 winner, Chris Saliba was in action in the earlier heats, but failed to re-produce his heroic performance of Day 1, finishing last to slip even further down the Leaderboard to 38th position.

For crowd favorite Jason Haywood, a top three finish was crucial if his hopes of making the Games for the first time were to eventuate, and that looked likely after placing 2nd in Heat 3. However, several competitors in the final heat bettered his score of 4:22 pushing him down to the 12th place spot overall.

In the end, Mahdi Te Heuheu from New Zealand was the star performer, upsetting several big names to win in an impressive time of 3:51.

“I didn’t think I was going to go that fast. I’ve never gone that fast in training so I’m very happy with it,” he said with a huge grin. “I managed to get through them unbroken, so maybe it was slightly easier for me than the other guys.”

CrossFit veteran Rob Forte was the overnight leader and managed to hold onto the top spot with an 8th place finish in the event. However, his finish was met with a bit of controversy.

Forte failed to touch the mat with both hands during one of his middle sprints, and just when he was about to start a new set of snatches, he was told he had to repeat the sprint and touch the mat.

“I don’t know how much time I lost but I’m a bit disappointed,” he said. “But it doesn’t make a difference, it’s just a little mistake and can’t do much about it now.”

He now sits just one point ahead of youngster Brendan Clarke, who put in another exceptional effort, tying with Kieran Hogan in 5th place. Chad MacKay, who came 12th at the 2010 Games, also moved up the Leaderboard to place 4th with the second best time in Event 3 overall.

Event 3
1.     Ruth Anderson Horrell: 5:03
2.     Kara Gordon: 6:01
3.     Jennifer James: 6:07

1.     Kara Gordon (6)
2.     Ruth Anderson Horrell (8)
3.     Amanda Allen (14)

Heading into Day 2 of the women’s comp, the burning question was whether Amy Dracup would bounce back?

Last years Regional Champ started the day outside the top five after finishing 10th in her favorite workout, Diane, and 6th in Event 2. But things didn’t get any better for the Victorian, failing to complete the one-arm dumbbell snatches, and finishing with a disappointing 21st place.

She’s now moving down the Leaderboard in the wrong direction, and with only three more workouts, she sits in 8th position overall. There’s no denying she needs to perform some magic to make the top three and qualify for the Games again.

However, while Dracup continued to struggle, yesterday’s world record breaker, Kara Gordon, continued to shine. The 22-year old finished the event with the second best time and holds onto the overall lead.

The gap between 2nd, however, has been cut to just two points, with Ruth Anderson Horrell powering through the snatches, to win the Event in a time of 5:03.

“I felt really good coming into the meeting about this event, but it felt really heavy in the warm up, ” says Horrell. “It took me a wee while to learn how to get it up, but I always knew I was going to get through the workout.”

The event also saw the two oldest competitors in the female division gain some ground.

44-year-old Megan Smith jumped up to 4th spot overall, while 41-year-old Amanda Allen continued her consistent form, finishing with the 6th best time to move into the top three for the first time this weekend.

“It’s another strong consistent result and if I can continue to do that over the weekend maybe things will end with a positive result for me,” she said. “Anything can happen in any workout. I just hope for another solid consistent performance and that it’s enough again.”

The workout also claimed a few victims, with three athletes failing to make the cut, meaning an already weakened field has been reduced even further to only 29 competitors in the female division.

Event 3
1.     CrossFit Birkenhead: 5:29
2.     CrossFit Athletic: 5:49
3.     Tropic Thunder: 6:04

1.     Schwartzs CrossFit Melbourne (11)
2.     Tropic Thunder (16)
3.     CrossFit Plus (21)

Unlike the previous team events, this one required only two athletes to push through the gauntlet of dumbbell snatches. The workout proved to be a real killer with only a handful completing the event, and five teams failing to make the first round cut.

Heading into the event, Schwartzs CrossFit Melbourne and CrossFit Newcastle were the teams to beat, but it was neither who scored the fastest time.

CrossFit Birkenhead was sitting well outside the top 20 after Day 1, but absolutely annihilated the third workout, blasting through the one arm snatches to be the only team to finish heat one. Their time of 5:29 ended up being the fastest time for this workout giving the team some hope of making it to Event 6.

The snatches proved to be a killer for the teams again in the second heat with only two completing the three rounds in the allocated 12-minute cut-off. CrossFit Brisbane won it in a time of 9:48, but it would only be good enough to have them in 7th place overall in the event.

The final heat had a few more surprises, with CrossFit Athletic upsetting some of the bigger names to win in a time of 5:49. Once again Philippa Robinson shining for her team, ripping through the final set of snatches, just like she did the hang cleans the day before.

“It’s just what you have to do to make it happen. It wasn’t fun the first time I tried it, but it got easier,” says Robinson

Teammate Paul Walton was one of many impressed with her efforts.

 “I kind of knew that compared to most of the other guys, I’d be slow, but having Philly (Phillipa) I knew she’d turn the bell well. So as long as I stayed steady I knew she’d bring it home.”

However, despite the impressive finish, their time still wasn’t good enough to beat CrossFit Birkenhead, meaning they’d have to settle for the second spot.

CrossFit Newcastle slipped down two spots and are now out of the top three after failing to finish the workout, while Schwartzs CrossFit Melbourne finished 5th to maintain their overall lead.

Event 4 now awaits.