Regional Report: The Battle for The Games in NorCal

May 20, 2012

Sam Radetsky and Leah Lutz



Congratulations to the Games qualifiers.



The scores have been tabulated, the cuts have been made and the top 12 teams took the field for the incredible final event that would determine which three teams would head to the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games. The top teams have already demonstrated their teamwork, transitions, speed, strength and endurance, and this final workout demanded even more of each team member. Everyone here knew that this was bound to be a dramatic ending to the team competition, but the conclusion of this event took everyone by surprise.

As the mass of athletes gathered under the pull-up rig, the men charged into their muscle-ups and deadlift holds. From the very first rep, the crowd roared, thrilled to witness the athletic prowess of these top teams. The teams were moving through the first reps, and as they moved to the men’s partner carry, Brethren CrossFit, Rocklin CrossFit Honey Badgers, and TJ’s Gym Mill Valley pulled out in front, with Diablo coming right behind. It was the men of Rocklin who banged out their box jumps to pull ahead, being first back to the rig to complete the men’s half of this workout.

The crowd couldn’t have been more deafening as the top places jockeyed about between Rocklin, Brethren, TJ’s and 808, with Redding right behind. It would be hard to imagine a tighter race for most of this event. Fighting to stay with the leaders, CrossFit East Sac surged ahead into a battle for the lead on the women’s muscle-ups. The muscle-ups for the women proved to be the dividing line in this stacked field, as some women flew through and others struggled for each lockout. 

Diablo Anejo, East Sac and Rocklin Honey Badgers moved to the women’s wall balls first, and the field of 12 was now clearly separated with these three working for not just a trip to the Games, but also the 1st place NorCal Regional finish. Even through the women’s box jumps, these three teams stayed within five reps of each other. Diablo took first in the final buddy carry, and RCF and East Sac raced down the field with the buddy carry neck and neck, East Sac inching ahead in the last moment.

During the final muscle-ups, the tension and anticipation ran high and the final men’s and women’s muscle-ups proved relatively simple for the top two teams while all others struggled to complete those last few reps. Diablo CrossFit Anejo won Event 6 in 16:29 and East Sac took 2nd with 16:36. Rocklin struggled for the final muscle-ups, giving other teams hope for 3rd place, and Redding came in strong, eager to take that final Games rank, but the Rocklin CrossFit Honey Badgers, with experience and determination, finished in 19:07 to clinch 2nd place overall. CrossFit 808 finished this workout in 23:13, clearly struggling with the muscle-ups, but their strong and consistent work in the previous events earned them 1st place overall. The RCF Honey Badgers finish in 2nd place overall, followed by Diablo CrossFit Anejo in 3rd.

Immediately after the time cap sounded, TJ handed the mic to Jamie Lee of Diablo CrossFit Anejo for a special announcement. Taking the mic and still winded from the workout, Lee proposed marriage to his teammate Christy Hinkle. Lee had been planning this for the last month, and says this was going to happen no matter what their final placing today.

Event 6
1. Diablo CrossFit Anejo 16:27
2. CrossFit East Sacramento 16:35
3. Rocklin CrossFit Honey Badgers 19:07

1. CrossFit 808 19 pts
2. Rocklin CrossFit Honey Badgers 22 pts
3. Diablo CrossFit Anejo 24 pts


With just 18 individuals making the cut to the final event, Event 6 was divided into three heats of six athletes, promising tight races and some serious head-to-head competition.

Heat 2 started with a bang as Miranda Oldroyd jumped in the lead off the deadlift/muscle-up couplet in 4:35. Crista Jorgenson chased Oldroyd, just reps behind through the wall ball/toes-to-bars couplet. Oldroyd led the heat from beginning to end and finished with 15 burpee box jumps. She said that “the mental aspect was battling the heat,” and promptly threw up all over the warm up area afterwards.

The crowd stood in anticipation of the final heat. All of the final standings, as well as three tickets to Carson and the CrossFit Games, would be decided by this heat. The muscle-ups were far less of a problem for these women than for earlier heats, and it was no surprise when Annie Sakamoto took an early lead. She moved on to the wall balls at 4:25, and then built her lead by going on to the toes-to-bars before any of her competitors got to the wall balls. Chyna Cho moved into 2nd place and slowly started to close the gap on Sakamoto, but Jenny LaBaw moved to the dumbbell carry second behind Sakamoto.

Candace Hamilton Hester joined the top three women at the burpee box jumps before the time cap and the four athletes raced to get as many reps as possible before the buzzer. When the dust settled, Sakamoto won Event 6 without once relinquishing the lead and took 2nd overall. LaBaw held onto her overall lead and will be making a repeat appearance at the Games in July. Hamilton Hester, a true CrossFit pioneer, also clinched a ticket to the Games with a 3rd place finish overall. Congratulations!

Event 6
1. Annie Sakamoto 17:04
2. Jenny LaBaw 17:14
3. Chyna Cho 17:15

1. Jenny LaBaw 19 pts
2. Annie Sakamoto 29 pts
3. Candace Hamilton Hester 30 pts


The final event of the competition was men’s Event 6. The crowd had thinned a little, but plenty of loud and boisterous spectators still encircled the Arena at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds. Heat 2 read like the final heat in two years, with lots of young up and coming names such as Buddy Hitchcock, Garret Fisher and Zack Height.

Nick Lucchesi from CrossFit FTF jumped out to an early lead, closely followed by NorCal CrossFit’s Fisher. A welcome breeze blew through the Arena and the crowd responded with a surge of noise as the athletes moved through the second couplet. Height of CrossFit 209 Sport moved into the lead and grabbed the dual 100lb. dumbbells first.

The burpee box jumps in the hot sun were the sticking point for the heat. It was Buddy Hitchcock who made it back to the rings first and won the heat in 16:51 with Lucchesi and Height nipping at his heels. Height said anything would have been preferable to the burpee box jumps; even another round of deadlifts.

The final heat of the day featured the big boys of NorCal, led by the biggest and baddest of them all—Neal Maddox and Jason Khalipa. Khalipa’s father, front and center on his son’s lane, said that the two athletes were “feeding off each others’ egos,” and he hoped the day would end in a tie.

Maddox and Khalipa were one and two right at the start, trading places back and forth. The battle for 3rd settled down between Gabe Subry and Joey Warren on CrossFit Cadence. As the wall ball/toes-to-bars couplet progressed, Warren took second behind Khalipa, followed very closely by Subry and Maddox.

Khalipa made it to the box alone and was able to complete nine reps before Warren joined him. And then Subry, who jumped all the way over the box. Blair Morrison, in 4th place, had to drop the big 100lb. dumbbells twice on the farmer carry and Maddox caught him. But it was all Khalipa as he made his way back to the muscle-ups by himself. Warren was second to the rings, fighting for a Games bid, which he secured. Subry was 3rd in the workout and overall. He is on to the Games once again.

The final results for the men’s division of the NorCal Region are Jason Khalipa, Neal Maddox, Gabe Subry, and Joey Warren. See you in Carson, gentlemen.

Event 6
1. Jason Khalipa 14:29
2. Joey Warren 15:36
3. Gabe Subry 16:07

1. Jason Khalipa (9 pts)
2. Neal Maddox (13 pts)
3. Gabe Subry (41 pts)
4. Joey Warren (48 pts)