May 20, 2012
Regional Report: North Central Games Athletes Determined
By Nicole Scott Smith

With so many different movements, every athlete had a strong suit to help propel them closer to their goal.

With their eyes on the prize, the top 18 men and women, along with the top 12 teams hit the turf of McCook Exposition Center with the same goal: to earn a spot in the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games in July. This final Event of the weekend would secure a trip to The Home Depot Center for the top three in their respective category. The competition was fierce.

Muscle-ups, wall balls, box jumps and dumbbell/buddy carries were the prescription for the teams. On the individual menu-deadlifts, muscle-ups, wall balls, toes-to-bars and burpee box jumps, ending with a heavy 100’ farmer carry.


With so many different movements in the workout, every athlete had a strong suit to help propel them closer to their goal. “Toes-to-bars were the hardest, so it was all about pacing. That is where I made up my time,” commented CrossFit Gambit’s Jake Howard.

The crowd helped bolster the spirits of the athletes, especially those from CrossFit Springfield, who had three men in the final Event. But in Heat 3, the men pulled out all the stops for a rowdy finish to the North Central Regional.

“I knew it was one of my strengths going into the weekend, so I was looking forward to that workout the whole weekend,” said Phillip Kniep. “I had to come back and redeem myself after Event 1.”

Kniep was 1st on to the final set of wall balls and to the farmer carry. Andrew Koch, Justin Allen and Kyle Kasperbauer took off in a 100’ foot race with 100lb. dumbbells in hand. “Being a Marine helped me keep going when I felt like slowing down. The Marine mentality of ‘keep going’ is ingrained in us as Marines,” said Koch.

Pastorek and Kniep were on the rings at the end, but it was Kniep who took the win in 14:10. Pastorek was one rep behind and hit the 2nd place position with a time of 14:25. The tight battle for 3rd ended with Kyle Kasperbauer edging past Koch with a time of 16:42.

At the end of Day 3, Brandon Pastorek finished 4th overall and was only seven points short of standing on the podium, even after a 1st and 2nd place finish in Events 5 and 6.

Event 6

1. Phillip Kniep 14:10

2. Brandon Pastorek 14:25

3. Alex Nettey 15:52

Overall Standings

1. Kyle Kasperbauer (20 pts.)

2. Phillip Kniep (34 pts.)

3. Justin Allen (39 pts.)


CrossFit Omaha’s Libby DiBiase and CrossFit VisOne’s Tosha Jefferies tied for 1st in the second Heat but Heat 3 had North Central screaming for their favorite ladies in one of the tightest races of the day. Stacie Tovar and Elisabeth Akinwale came off the deadlifts together, but it was Deborah Cordner Carson who was on Tovar’s heels on the second set. Cordner Carson broke ahead and hit the wall balls, leaving Tovar and Akinwale to battle it out on the rings. CrossFit OKC’s Ginny King held her own with these popular athletes, pacing Tovar on wall balls. Cordner Carson held her lead into the farmer carry, but Akinwale scooped up the 70lb. dumbbells and plowed down the field.

“It was hard to grip the dumbbell, because my arms were blown,“ said Akinwale.

Pacing the burpee box jumps like champions, Akinwale and Cordner Carson were neck and neck. “It was an emotional roller coaster,” said Cordner Carson. “You learn so much about yourself fighting for something you really want. The longer a workout is, though, the better it is for me.”

The two women tied with one muscle-up each. Their time was 17:02. Tovar, who praised the high standards the judges set for the weekend, was mid-field at the 17- minute cut-off.  

North Central’s Top 3 Women stood on the podium together in 2011, as well, with Tovar, Akinwale and Cordner Carson in 1st, 2nd and 3rd.

Event 6

1. Elisabeth Akinwale 17:02

1. Deborah Cordner Carson 17:02

3. Stacie Tovar 17:04

4. Ginny King 17:12

Overall Standings

1. Elisabeth Akinwale 10 pts)

2. Stacie Tovar (21 pts.)

3. Deborah Cordner Carson (28 pts.)


For these Top 12 Teams in North Central, communication, strength and teamwork would be put to the test. With a time-cap of 25 minutes, these athletes pushed their bodies to the limit and set their focus on the win, no matter the circumstances. QCCF Awesome’s Josiah Lorentzen broke his big toe failing a 255lb. snatch in Event 5 and teammate Tyler Tisue had to step in. CrossFit Kilo finished the men’s portion first, followed closely by CrossFit Jenks. But when the Jenks ladies took to the rings, the girls sealed the deal according to teammate Breck Berry.

Kilo was strong on both buddy carries and held a solid hook grip on 2nd place. “We stuck right to our plan,” commented Spencer Gann. “We did a lot of practice on the buddy carry. We knew if we could hook grip the dumbbell, we’d be fine.”

CrossFit Bellator 1 fought their way through the pack, but it was Jenks that took the 1st place spot in an impressive 13:41. CrossFit Kilo turned in a 15:15 for 2nd in the Heat. The crowd was pumped up and screaming for Bellator 1’s final 100’ buddy carry, pushing the Bixby, Oklahoma team to the 3rd place spot in the Event.

Event 6

1. CrossFit Jenks 13:41

2. CrossFit Kilo 15:15

3. CrossFit Bellator 1 17:10

Overall Standings

1. CrossFit Jenks (12 pts.)

2. CrossFit Kilo (17 pts.)

3. QCCF Awesome (22pts.)