May 20, 2012
Regional Report: Tight Races in NorCal
By Leah Lutz, John Bourgeois and Stacy Brown

This would be about pain management and simply battling through fatigue.

The faithful volunteers quickly took the field to stage the floor for the final event of Day 2. This Saturday afternoon was hot and dry, weather that would surely make this grueling workout even more taxing for every athlete on the field. Teams and individuals have all come into this workout with a plan for the squats, shoulder to overheads and the seemingly endless number of pull-ups.


It was high noon when the affiliates took the stage for Event 4. This is truly a team event which requires clear communication, and it was evident early on which teams had practiced their transitions. It was also a workout that placed an uneven burden on the female athletes, as only one team actually finished the workout leaving many male competitors with much less time under the bar than their female counterparts.

In Heat 1, it was North Marin from beginning to end. During the women’s portion of the event, Rocklin and Lifeworx were right on their heels, taking turns in the number two spot. When the men took over, North Marin widened their lead while Rocklin took the second spot over Lifeworx based largely on the speed of their pull-ups.

Heat 2 saw another dominant performance, but this time with a bit more drama. The women of CrossFit West pulled out to an early commanding lead. However, during the transition to the overhead squats, their bar hit the ground resulting in a one minute penalty. This allowed Brethren CrossFit, Level 10 CrossFit and CrossFit Avalanche to pass them. Undeterred, the women of West made up time quickly on the overhead squats and were again in 1st place by the time they were back on the pull-up bar. West’s dominance continued through much of the men’s portion with Brethren and Level 10 giving chase. In the end, Brethren was able to make up some ground on the final set of shoulder-to-overheads and finished just a few reps behind West. However, again, no team in this heat finished under the cap.

The top 10 teams did not disappoint in the final heat of the day for the affiliates. It was a five horse race for most of the way between CrossFit Diablo Anejo, RCF Honey Badgers, CrossFit 808, TJ’s Gym Mill Valley and CrossFit Redding. Diablo and the Honey Badgers were neck and neck through most of the first half, however Redding made a late push to take the lead just before the transition to the men. In fact, all of the top five teams were within 10 seconds of each other at the transition to the men. Redding was holding strong until it got to the front squats, when the Honey Badgers took a lead they would not relinquish. According to Chad Augustine of the Honey Badgers, the team considered this workout “unfinished business” and they came prepared to play to their team’s strengths on this workout. They were the only team to complete the event under the time cap at 24:49. Gary Baron grabbed the bar with 30 seconds left and repped out the final 25 shoulder-to-overheads with lightning speed to cap off an incredible heat.

Event 4

1.     Rocklin CrossFit Honey Badgers 24:49

2.     TJ’s Gym Mill Valley 25:07

3.     CrossFit 808 25:28


1.     CrosFit 808 (11 pts)

2.     Diablo CrossFit Anejo (13 pts)

3.     Rocklin CrossFit Honey Badgers (16 pts)


For the men in Event 4, the question was not just how they would deal with the high number of squats, pull-ups and shoulder-to-overhead movements, but also how they would deal with the heat. With the sun bearing down, and no help from the hot wind that was blowing through the competition field, the men were doubly challenged. While this event has already demanded more of many men throughout the CrossFit world than most are physically able to give, several NorCal men considered themselves well-prepared for this, and were as eager as one can be for a workout with an imposing number of squats, shoulder-to-overheads, and pull-ups. Blair Morrison, 3rd overall coming into Event 4, said this was right up his alley and he came into it with a clear strategy. The men knew this would be about pain management and simply battling through fatigue.

In Heat 1, Dirty Alvarez of CrossFit Oahu jumped out to an early lead in the back squats and pull-ups, but he faded during the first round of shoulder-to-overheads and was overtaken by CrossFit Oahu teammate Adam Jamieson and Ray Espinoza of CrossFit X-treme Athletics. Jamieson kept his lead throughout the heat and won in a time of 20:39. It was a race for 2nd place between Espinoza and Brian Huberty of CrossFit Oakdale, with Huberty surging ahead during the round of 40 overhead squats and finishing in 21:37. Espinoza was 3rd and in the final round of shoulder-to-overheads when time was called at 22 minutes.

Noel Famy, of CrossFit Ewa Beach moved to an early lead in Heat 2 working consistently through each station, and the battle in the heat was for 2nd place. Alex Rollins held 2nd place for most of the workout, but seemed to lose steam at the overhead squats, and Jake Neubauer came from the back of the pack to fight Rollins and Will Zerling for 2nd place. The crowd went wild in the blazing sun, with Rollin’s cheering squad pushing him on. Famy sauntered to the final bar for his shoulder-to-overheads, and simply blazed through all 30 unbroken for an impressive time of 19:47, and the first finish of men’s event under the 22 minute cap. This time was strong enough to place him in 6th overall for the event. Having torn his hand early in the workout, the pain and fatigue were evident on his face as he slowly walked back to the bar for his final set of shoulder-to-overheads, which he rapidly completed unbroken to win the heat. “I trained to go unbroken on my back squats, the first round of pull-ups and those final push presses,” Famy said when asked about his strong finish.

However, the real battle in the heat was for 2nd place, with Alex Rollin and Will Zerlang very close through the second round. However, Jake Neubauer made a strong showing on the overhead squats to pass them both. Neubauer finished in the 2nd place spot at 20:25 with Zerlang holding on for 3rd at 20:39.

The crowd on hand was eager to see the top male athletes and all eyes were on Heat 3, with the expectation that Neal Maddox of CrossFit X-treme Athletics and Jason Khalipa of NorCal CrossFit would continue their back and forth battle. But there were plenty of eyes on all of the top male athletes, as women in the crowd went particularly crazy as Blair Morrison of CrossFit Anywhere took off his shirt.

Once the action started, Khalipa was the first to finish the back squats, followed very closely by Maddox, Morrison and Gabe Subry of CrossFit 209 Sport. From the round of front squats, Khalipa managed to take a 20 second lead on Maddox which he would keep for the duration of the workout.

An epic battle raged for 3rd place between Blair Morrison and Gabe Subry. Morrison held a very slight lead from the second round of pull-ups, but it was too close to call. In fact, they arrived at the bar for their last set of shoulder-to-overheads at exactly the same time. They were going rep for rep, but Morrison had to drop the bar while Subry’s unbroken final set made the difference. With his hand bloody from a bad tear on the last set of pull-ups, Subry said he trains for pain management.

In the end it was Khalipa at 15:57, Maddox at 16:17 and Subry at 17:29. Tomorrow as the men compete in the final event, the battle for 1st will continue between Neal Maddox and Jason Khalipa, and with five points separating the next three competitors, that 3rd ticket to Carson is up for grabs.

Event 4

1.     Jason Khalipa 15:57

2.     Neal Maddox 16:17

3.     Gave Subry 17:30


1.     Jason Khalipa (6 pts)

2.     Neal Maddox (6 pts)

3.     Blair Morrison (29 pts)


The women of Heat 1 went to battle with Event 4, and although each and every woman fought with all they could muster, no woman in this heat could complete all 360 required reps. Every woman gave it their all, and the crowd pulled for each and every athlete. Both Sarah Pierce of CrossFit Sonoma County and Sarah McRoberts of CrossFit Lodi made it to the final pull-ups, but they were unable to finish the workout before time ran out.

In Heat 2, these strong competitors demonstrated both skill and incredible endurance through the long field of movements, the focus and determination clear on each woman’s face. Crista Jorgensen of Northstate CrossFit took an early lead, while Anh Vu and Jackie Perez fought hard for 2nd place. As this long workout progressed, Jorgensen powered through each movement, increasing her lead, for a killer 1st place finish in her heat at 19:32, giving her a 3rd place finish overall in this event.

As the top women took the field in Heat 4, the crowd rose to its feet and all knew that this would be an exciting race from start to finish. The top women of NorCal did not disappoint, and everyone in the Arena was riveted the entire workout. Annie Sakamoto, clearly a crowd favorite, had been looking forward to this workout as it is full of movements at which she excels, and she took an early lead. Working at a strong and steady pace, taking only very short breaks, Sakamoto finished in 16:59 for 1st place. Jenny LaBaw, steady on the barbell movements throughout the entire event, came in 2nd place in 18:36. Elyse Umeda, making up time whenever she hit the pull-up bar, finished in 20:19, good enough for a 4th place finish overall. Amy Woods and Chyna Cho gave the crowd a fantastic finish as the two fought rep for rep in the final pull-ups and shoulder-to-overheads, finishing with a tie at 21:31.

Looking forward to tomorrow and the final events, this is still a very tight race, with Chyna Cho and Elyse Umeda just 6 points back from 3rd place overall.

Event 4

1.     Annie Sakamoto 16:58

2.     Jenny LaBaw 18:35

3.     Crista Jorgensen 19:32


1.     Jenny LaBaw (14 pts)

2.     Annie Sakamoto (16 pts)

3.     Candace Hamilton Hester (21 pts)