Athletes go heavy, recover, and then go fast.
As you may have guessed, max effort overhead squats, burpees, and muscle-ups have a way of exhausting athletes.
The afternoon turned in a number of shocks and surprises. While last year’s Regional championship team, CrossFit Dallas Central, once again took hold at the top of the Leaderboard, two surprise names appear in second and third overall. Atomic CrossFit and CrossFit Katy are making a case for Games qualification.
The men’s division welcomed the return of Games veteran Chase Ingraham, aka Captain America, from CrossFit Dallas Central. Ingraham bowed out of the 2012 competition after a shoulder injury, but returned with a vengeance to finish out the first day of competition in first place. Just behind the Captain was last year’s fifth-place finisher Drew Bignall and then unaffiliated newcomer, Mike McGoldrick.
For the women, favorites Jenn Jones, Cassidy Lance and Holly Mata performed to expectations and sit atop the Leaderboard after day one.
At the end of Event 2, it would be powerhouses Jenn Jones and Aja Barto who went the heaviest and carried that momentum into Event 3.
The South Central men showcased impressive feats of strength as they powered through the overhead squat ladder in the late afternoon. Bryan Diaz, winner of the 2012 South Central Regional, set the bar high in the second heat of the day by completing three solid reps at 275 lb. Up next would be Aja Barto of Behemoth CrossFit who opened the event with a squat snatch at the same weight. Barto continued his way up the ladder, ultimately finishing with the top score of the day with three reps at 295 lb.
Barto was happy with the result, though he intended to go even heavier with the overhead squats.
"It was fun. It was definitely an interesting workout because it wasn't like one of the ladders last year when there wasn't anything after it, so I had to be pretty strategic going into the burpee muscle-ups with where I wanted to end up,” Barto said. “I had intentions of going 315- 325 but after the results of last week's Regionals and assessing everyone here today, I kind of just decided that if I could just get a top-five spot on that, then I could give myself ample time and recovery in addition to the two minutes for the burpee muscle-ups because I know I need it there."
Men’s Event 2
1. Aja Barto (295.3)
2. Mark Stewart (295.1)
3. Drew Bignall (285.3)
In all heats, the men started strong on the burpee muscle-ups. Most were controlling the rings after every rep to prevent them from swinging away from them and wasting precious time. But there came a time for just about every fatigued athlete when he looked longingly at the rings as if they contained the mysteries of the universe. Surprisingly, it was the lower heats that produced the fastest times. In Heat 2, Cole Marshburn beat Jacob Theriot (sporting a Taxi Driver-like Mohawk), but it was Luke Mullen in Heat 3 who carried the day with a time of 5:07.
Impressive as these finishes were, they had little effect on the top of the Leaderboard. The big dogs in the last heat couldn’t keep up on this particular workout, but this fact didn’t bother Chase Ingraham whose first-place finish in the last heat catapulted him to first place overall. Jason Hoggan set a fast pace but faltered with a handful of reps left. Ingraham failed on his 30th rep but his steady pace throughout ensured his winning time.
“Since Event 2 came out, it’s been weighing on my conscience,” Ingraham said. “I was between 245 and 255, but I knew had to get 255 to stay in the competition, but that wasn’t a for sure thing. Until the warm-up I wasn't sure where I was going to start. During the warm-up, I hit three at 255, and then I hit three at 265 after that, so that was a PR for me, for one and for three reps. That gave me a lot of momentum … And on the muscle-ups my goal was to just stay consistent, try not to go out too hard, try not to push too hard and it just ended up working out really …”
Men’s Event 3
1. Luke Mullen (5:07)
2. Cole Mashburn (5:21)
3. Jacob Theriot (5:26)
For the women, Event 2 started off heavy with many of the competitors choosing to start the overhead squat ladder at 155 lb. or more. The minimum work requirement proved to be a catching point for some athletes who went heavier including Christy Harper of CrossFit 318, and Amanda Schwartz of Premier CrossFit. Both ladies were in podium-striking distance prior to the event, but only completed two reps at 175, resulting in their elimination from the competition. Reputable performances include Cassidy Lance of CrossFit Bolt completing three reps at 190 lb., and Jenn Jones, who was the dominating force of the region during the Open, earning the top score of the day completing three reps at 190 lb. plus one additional rep at 195.
“I was really excited,” Jones said after the event. “The first event I was mortified for, but I really like overhead stuff because of my gymnastics background. So I was really pumped for the overhead squats.”
Amanda Schwartz, who finished in fourth place in the 2012 Regional, suffered a shoulder-related injury during the overhead squat ladder that would lead to her being unable to complete the minimum work requirement to continue in the competition.
Women's Event 2
1. Jenn Jones (195.1)
2. Cassidy Lance (190.3)
3. Teresa Crismon (190.1)
A number of athletes went rep-for-rep for over half of the workout. But then Jenn Jones and Holly Mata began to pull away. With a minute to go, Mata was slightly in the lead with four reps to go. She looked on her way to victory but then failed to lock out on her 30th and final rep. Jones made the most of her rival’s failure, finishing her last muscle-up and then stepping almost casually onto the finish mat just as time expired. In the end, Mata completed her final muscle-up but wasn’t able to make it to the finish mat on time.
Jones said she wasn’t aware of how close Mata was to finishing.
“I was just on my own clock and my own pace,” she says. “There was a couple where I was getting stuck at the top of the dip and having to kick it out so I didn't want to go faster because I probably would have failed. So I just do my own thing, I don't really worry about other people when I'm out there.”
Women’s Event 3
1. Jenn Jones (6:58)
2. Holly Mata (7:01)
3. Ingrid Kantola (7:03)
Marco Coppola of Team Density had the heaviest three-rep max of the day at 305 lb.
“I wanted to go pretty big and then I kind of had to,” he said. “The other guys on my team didn’t end up getting as high as they are able to, so I had to take a risk.”
The risk paid off for Team Density who are currently sitting in 10th place overall. Overall, though, the most impressive team performance came from Atomic CrossFit who secured first place for the event with a total score of 1,245 lb. lifted.
Team Event 2
1. Atomic CrossFit (1245)
2. CrossFit Katy (1240)
3. Team CrossFit Central (1230)
It was carnage on the rings. In fact, after the men’s third heat, a break was enforced as volunteers cleaned the blood off. The women suffered the most on the muscle-ups. Midway through any given heat of women, the faces were a blend of agony and intensity as they kipped with all their might to get those valuable reps. A few fell spectacularly from the rings, nearly wrenching a shoulder in the process. Others couldn’t press their way out of the dip and had to abandon the rep.
For the men, it was a different story. Many teams employed the quick and efficient strategy of basically leaping to the top of the rings, eliminating the need to kip and eschewing even the need to press from the bottom of the dip. As if by magic, they were suddenly and efficiently above the rings. The pace was fast but even those employing the aforementioned strategy slowed down. Many athletes started to struggle. In the last heat, Games veteran Jeremy Thiel of Team CrossFit Central got stuck on the muscle-ups with over a minute-and-a-half to go. Stalled, he tried in vain to finish out his three reps while his teammates could only watch.
With the dust (and blood) cleared, two teams shared the top position. Stalwarts CrossFit Dallas Central, along with CrossFit Get Lifted, both ended up with 108 reps. CrossFit Strong and River City CrossFit finished with 100 muscle-ups apiece.
Team Event 3
1. CrossFit Dallas Central (108)
2. CrossFit Get Lifted (108)
3. CrossFit Strong (100)
After three events, the overall men’s standings are as follows: Chase Ingraham is in first (24 points), Drew Bignall is in second (30 points), and Mike McGoldrick is close behind in third (31 points).
For the women, Jenn Jones is first (4 points), Cassidy Lance is in second (8 points), and Holly Mata is in third (12 points).
In the team standings, CrossFit Dallas Central sits in first (8 points), Atomic CrossFit is in second (11 points), and CrossFit Katy is in third (15 points).