May 24, 2014
South Central Update: Day 1
By Lauryn Lax
Day 1 at the South Central Regional started out like another day in the gym—except for those thousands of people watching.
Day 1 at the South Central Regional started out like another day in the gym—except for those thousands of people watching.

Day 1 at the South Central Regional started out like another day in the gym—except for those thousands of people watching.

Day 1 at the South Central Regional started out like another day in the gym—except for those thousands of people watching.

The individual men and women arrived at the Freeman Coliseum at the tail end of team competition to warm up for heavy lifting, skill work and something nasty.

Taking center stage among the men, first-place Open finisher and 2013 Games qualifier Roy Gamboa, of CrossFit Abilene, found himself at the top of the Leaderboard at the end of the day. Other former Games’ contenders, however, fought to stay as close to the top as they could.

Last year’s regional winner, Mike McGoldrick, held onto a top-10 spot (seventh) despite his 24thplace in the last event of the day, while 2012 Games athletes, Jason Hoggan and Bryan Diaz, finished the day in 21st and 34th place, respectively. 

On the women’s side, the top three ladies from 2013 were back in action. Holly Mata, Cassidy Lance and Jenn Jones entered the arena to reveal the continued hard work they put into their training following the Games.

Last year’s leading lady, Jenn Jones, still leads the way today, holding consistently in first-place throughout Friday afternoon.

However, all eyes were on the final two heats, boasting many regional veterans from last year, eager to take a shot at earning their podium spot this weekend.


Events 1 and 2

It was all about proficiency and confidence on the competition floor, as men stepped up to their bars for the first event of the day.

While Gamboa did not have a top-three finish as some may have expected, Gamboa said he felt confident.

“It may not have been the strongest, but overall, as long as I got my first snatch, I knew that was good, and right afterwards, the handstand walks went better than I could have planned,” Gamboa said, reflecting on the day. “The length of our gym is roughly 120 feet, so after every workout the past several weeks, I try to be tired and hit a full 120 each time.”

All eyes were on another newcomer, Joseph Guesnier of Flatland CrossFit, who hit a 285 lb. snatch for the heaviest of the day. Guesnier’s third-place finish in the handstand walk minutes later left him in top three following Event 2.

Eighteen-year-old Sam Jett also made his inaugural appearance as an individual this year. Jett snatched 235 lb.—a feat he says he’s proud to have accomplished.

“It felt scary out there on the gym floor,” Jett said. “I was standing next to Jeremy Callahan and, of course, they’re all really nice guys, but they’re big, like Hulks, beside me.”

He added: “I was able to catch my snatch a lot lower than most people because I am very flexible and don’t have much meat on my legs.”

Hoggan was not as lucky. He mistakenly loaded his bar with a weight higher than he intended—taking it from 230 lb. to 265 lb. on his second attempt, and missed.

“230 lb. felt easy so I told the judge I was going to put 245 lb. on and loaded it to 265 lb. without thinking because I can’t do math,” Hoggan explained. “I almost hit it, so that would have been a PR. Afterwards, I realized it was 20 lb. heavier than I thought, so I lowered it to 250 lb. and missed.”

Handstand walking immediately followed.

Diaz made it a total of 55-feet, and says he is glad the heavy skill-based work is over for the weekend.

“Gymnastics is not my strong suit, so I may have a hole to dig myself out of after today, but that’s what makes it fun, right?” Diaz said.

Five-time regional competitor Paul Smith echoed Diaz. While Smith’s 39th place standing surprised many, since he came in fourth in 2013, the 5-foot-11, 220-lb. Smith of Get Lifted CrossFit said body-weight movements are not his strong suit.

“I am a bigger athlete and I knew the first day was just going to be about trying to stay near the top 10,” he said. “I struggle a lot with those movements—gymnastics and flexibility are not my best, but I am happy today is done, and I am ready … for Saturday. This is my fifth year, and going to be my last year, competing as an individual before I do more team stuff, and I want to try to make one last run for the Games.”

Another fresh face, Jared Astle, won the event, just short of three full laps (355 feet)—85 more total feet than second-place finisher Gamboa (270 feet).

“This is my first regional, and first time in the Open actually, but I have been messing around with CrossFit for about six years,” he said. “I was in the Navy before and that’s why I never did the Open, but I thought overall it went well today.”

Event 1 Results
1. Joseph Guesnier (285 lb.)
2. Marco Coppola (285 lb.)
3. Mike McGoldrick (275 lb.)

Event 2 Results
1. Jared Astle (355 feet)
2. Roy Gamboa (270 feet)
3. Joseph Guesnier (235 feet)

Event 3

The competition got nasty as Nasty Girls V2 was next up. Several of the men who struggled with the skill and technique of the snatch and handstand walk fought to redeem themselves on the final event of the day.

Braden Torrez, who was near the end of the Leaderboard after Events 1 and 2, rose to the occasion, solidifying a first-place spot in the event.

“I knew I had to make up some stuff for the snatch event and the handstand walk didn’t go as planned either, so really my game plan was to move fast and to try to stay unbroken with the cleans,” Torrez said. “I think that was a big part. Pistols have always been a strength for me, and really, it was just about being quick since I am a smaller guy.”

Pistols were also a strength for Cory Spell, who finished the event in 9:31 minutes (10th place). 

“I consider myself good at muscle-ups and pistols,” Spell said. “I am quick and have the flexibility to bounce out of the hole real fast and go right into the next one. I’m pretty happy with my time.”

Hoggan attempted to fight his way from his 26th- and 20th-place finishes on Events 1 and 2. The crowd rose to its feet as Hoggan fought to finish Nasty Girls.

However, on his last set of cleans, Hoggan dropped the bar, not once, but three times, and struggled for his 12th-place finish (9:36).

Hoggan dropped flat on his back to the floor and the medics escorted him to the first aid room to attend to a concern not known at the time of publication.

Event 3 Results
1. Braden Torrez (7:43)
2. Jordan Cook (7:50)
3. Luke Mullen (8:10)

Overall Standings
1. Roy Gamboa (28)
2. Jordan Cook (28)
3. Richard Bohlken (30)
4. Joseph Guesnier (33)
5. Caleb Christian (35)
6. Jared Astle (38)
7. Mike McGoldrick (38)
8. Travis Williams (38)
9. Cody Spell (43)
10. Stephano Tsaganis (47)


Events 1 and 2

Jenn Jones started the weekend off strong with a first-place finish in Event 1, hitting 180 lb. on her third attempt of the hang squat snatch—15 lb. more than second-place finishers Whitney Welsch and Teresa Trojanowski (tied with 175 lb.).

Welsch attempted to snatch 190 lb. on her third attempt, just barely missing it.

“I couldn’t be happier,” Jones said of her event win. “I followed the game plan I had set with my snatches and it worked out. In this environment, I feel like I just perform better overall. I am not working out by myself. I am among others who push me. It’s the community.” 

Cassidy Lance was all smiles as she snatched 165 lb., as was Holly Mata when she got 155 lb. up after missing her first attempt at 145 lb.

“I’m just really glad it’s over,” Mata said. “The snatch and handstand walks are the two events I was definitely not (looking forward to). I’m more of a power snatcher, so the squat snatch is really uncomfortable, and then the whole form where you only have two minutes—tons of anxiety.  With the handstand walk, it is what it is. I’m not a gymnast.”

The former gymnasts of the South Central Region made their mark on Event 2, many of them having walked on their hands since they were young kids.

First-time regional competitor, Arielle Armstrong, took first in the event after walking 340 feet. She was a gymnast for 12 years and a competitive cheerleader for three.

“I’ve been on my hands all my life,” Armstrong said. “I practiced once and that was it because I still continue to tumble regularly, so that helps.”

Jones took second after handstand walking 300 feet.

“I had been practicing my walks like everyone else and felt good how everything went,” Jones said.

“It doesn’t matter how much you practice,” said competitor Sara Urban, who sits in 38th after Day 1. “When you get out there, the nerves kind of catch up with you, you’ve got to calm them down. You’ve gotta do what you came here to do and what you know how to do. The handstand walk was great for me. Almost 20 feet, that was probably a PR.”

Event 1 Results
1. Jenn Jones (180 lb.)
2. Teresa Trojanowski (175 lb.)
3. Whitney Welsch (175 lb.)

Event 2 Results
1. Arielle Armstrong (340 feet)
2. Jenn Jones (300 feet)
3. Amanda Schwartz (245 feet)

Event 3

Just like it started, Jones ended the day on a high note.

She managed to finish the event faster at least 10 seconds faster than she had in practice with a time of 9:29.

Amanda Schwartz also pulled through to a second-place overall finish after Day 1 when she took first in the event with a time of 8:24.

Lance solidified third place after the first three events. The former gymnast relied on her technical skills to power through her pistols and muscle-ups, five seconds ahead of Jones.

Other notable performances included Chely Galvan’s second-place finish that reedmeed her from her 25th-place finish in Event 1 to 8th place at the end of the day.

Jessie Jo Young’s 9:52 finish, keeping her within the top 10—a place she hopes to stay. The first-place finisher of the 2014 Open finished 15th overall at last year’s regional.

“Last year, I looked around and just didn’t think this would be me,” she said of being in the final heat. “It’s just cool. This year, I feel like I do belong here. I definitely am still going to be working my butt off, but I am just ready to get after it, and just be tired.”

Event 3 Results
1. Amanda Schwartz (8:24)
2. Chely Galvan (9:06)
3. Jessica Malone (9:21)

Overall Standings
1. Jenn Jones (8)
2. Amanda Schwartz (14)
3. Cassidy Lance (18)
4. Arielle Armstrong (19)
5. Beth Spearman (29)
6. Jessie Jo Young (31)
7. Candice Ruiz (32)
8. Chely Galvan (33)
9. Audra LeBeau (35)
10. Jessica Malone (37)