Veteran athletes likely had a nagging sense of deja vu and newer athletes had something to prove this weekend at the West Coast Classic, where every workout was a CrossFit Regionals or Games repeat. Also on display was the effectiveness of individual athlete group training, as large representations from Training Think Tank and Underdogs Athletics took top event and final leaderboard spots. It turns out, iron does indeed sharpen iron.
Here are the top 10 athletes for both the individual divisions and team divisions.
View this post on Instagram
Editor’s Note: The top five men, women, and teams qualify for the 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games. The unofficial Games qualifiers below are noted in bold.
2021 CrossFit West Coast Classic Women’s Top 10
1. Bethany Shadburne (632)
2. Kari Pearce (628)
3. Danielle Brandon (573)
4. Dani Speegle (542)
5. Regan Huckaby (528)
6. Alexis Raptis (517)
7. Kloie Wilson (485)
8. Kelly Stone (433)
9. Alison Scudds (397)
10. Jessica Androsik (392)
2021 CrossFit West Coast Classic Men’s Top 10
1. Cole Sager (583)
2. Noah Ohlsen (548)
3. Sean Sweeney (513)
4. Will Moorad (489)
5. Brandon Luckett (481)
6. Dallin Pepper (461)
7. Spencer Panchik (454)
8. Cedric Lapointe (428)
9. Tola Morakinyo (417)
10. Jacob Pfaff (414)
2021 CrossFit West Coast Classic Team Top 10
1. Invictus (603)
2. Invictus Unconquerable (595)
3. Ohio Brutes (539)
4. Backcountry Black (530)
5. Blues City Athletics (528)
6. Team Man Made (510)
7. Venture CrossFit (435)
8. CrossFit Hype (396)
9. CrossFit Grandview (381)
10. Salt Lake City CF Gold (316)
West Coast Classic Day 1 Recap
For the men, what happened in Vegas this weekend may not stay in Vegas. When Mat Fraser bowed out of CrossFit Games competition this past year, some of the first names that rose to the top in succession rumors were Noah Ohlsen and Cole Sager.
Both certainly lived up to the hype this weekend, but Day One’s star was 19-year-old Dallin Pepper, three-time CrossFit Games teen division champion. He may be young, but he’s a bigger CrossFit athlete at six feet, 212 pounds. Pepper took second on event one’s snatch ladder, a repeat from Regionals 2016, which took the men up to a final two snatches at 265 pounds. Vegas local and former CrossFit Games team division competitor Tola Morakinyo won the event handily in 5:49. Morakinyo has been training in the area under coach Justin Cotler along with athletes Kari Pearce, Bethany Shadburne, Danielle Brandon and Matt Dlugos.
Event two threw it way back to the 2013 Games with legless rope climbs and thrusters. Josh Bridges won the event in 6:07 that year. By that time, Sager had already started foam rolling ahead of the next event, having finished in 4:50, with Pepper and “Cowboy” Sean Sweeney close behind. Though Spencer Panchik, third of the Panchik trio to compete in the Semifinals, finished 10th in this event at 5:36, he still has something to brag about. He was well ahead of older brother Scott’s 7:08 at the 2013 Games. Pepper finished the day on top, followed respectively by Sager, Sweeney, Ohlsen and Will Moorad.
The women’s side was also a mix of tried-and-true CrossFit veterans, welcome back Lauren Fisher and Shadburne, as well as some lesser-known faces. One of these was firefighter Kloie Wilson, a former Regionals athlete, who took first in the snatch ladder, edging out Dani Speegle by a second. Event two was a testament to how far fitness has come since the 2013 Games: 19 women finished ahead of Alessandra Pichelli’s 2013 first-place time of 9:33. Kari Pearce dominated this event at 6:21 and sat atop the leaderboard after day one, followed by Brandon, Speegle, Shadburne and Regan Huckaby, in that order.
It seems like it’s been years since we’ve seen teams compete at the CrossFit Games (because it has been), but do you remember Invictus? If you somehow don’t, they sent two dominant teams to this semifinal as a reminder. Teams also took on repeat workouts, with event one throwing back to a 2015 invitation workout of thrusters and rope climbs in pairs. Invictus Unconquerable took first in this grueling workout at 14:26 with Colorado’s Backcountry Black in second, just ahead of Invictus. Event two was a 2014 Games repeat of three rounds, 30 worm squats and 30 worm burpees. Backcountry Black clocked in at 10:20 for first place, followed by Ohio Brutes and Invictus, all miles ahead of 14:02, the winning time at the 2014 Games. The Invictus team at that games finished in 21st place with 17:46 — this year’s squad was 18 places and seven minutes better.
Day 2 Recap
The 2019 CrossFit Games was the first to invite winners from each country to the Games, which meant over 100 athletes competed the first day in Madison. The Ruck Run cut the field down to 40 athletes in a brutal 6,000-meter run with three weight increases during the run. Athletes on day two of the West Coast Classic got outside to take this on. Cole Sager did enough to win the event in 31:27, though he didn’t best his 2019 time of 26:47 — but he also didn’t have the pressure of being cut this time. James Sprague and Sean Sweeney followed in second and third, respectively.
After a rough first three events, Panchik found his stride in the 2017 Triple G Chipper, in which athletes worked through 100 pull-ups, 80 GHD sit-ups, 60 pistol squats, 40 row calories and 20 dumbbell push-presses at 100 pounds. The biggest differentiator in this event was how long athletes could go before breaking up the pull-ups. In 2017, Fraser took this event in 10:46. Panchik upgraded the event win with a time of 9:53. Ohlsen followed in 10:18, a far cry ahead of his 2017 time of 11:57. The men’s leaderboard turned over a bit at the end of day two, with Sager moving into first, followed by Sweeney, Ohlsen, Luckett and Pepper now in fifth, just hanging onto a qualifying spot.
On the women’s side, Shadburne seemed in sync with Sager’s strategy of doing enough to win, finishing the grueling ruck in 32:50, finishing behind her 2019 Games time of 28:43 which was good for eighth place there. Madie Edwards and Alexis Raptis put some names between Shadburne and Pearce, which would prove to build some momentum for 22-year-old Raptis, a former podium finisher at the Games teens division.
In the Triple G Chipper, Shadburne cruised to another first place finish after knocking out over 70 pull-ups unbroken and never putting the 70-pound dumbbell down during the push presses. Training partner and fellow Vegas resident Pearce finished behind her, followed by Jessica Androsik and another good showing from Raptis. Shadburne took over the leaderboard top place, followed by Pearce, Brandon, Huckaby and Speegle.
The teams also started the day with a ruck, in a nod to the 2019 Games team ruck. Renewed Strength CrossFit was the only team to finish ahead of the 40-minute time cap. This may have been a testament to the rougher course in Vegas, no team at the 2019 Games came close to the time cap. Blues City Athletics stayed consistent with a second-place finish, followed by Invictus Unconquerable.
After a hefty serving of endurance and cardio, teams finally got to touch a heavy barbell with one-rep max clean and jerks, scored in gendered pairs. The men of Salt Lake City CF Gold took first with a combined 725 pounds, followed by Blues City and Invictus, both with 700-pound totals. Atlanta’s Venture CrossFit women combined for 470 pounds to take first, followed by Invictus Unconquerable at 460 and Florida’s CrossFit Hype at 450. Five points separated the top three teams at the end of day two, with Invictus in first, followed by Invictus Unconquerable, Blues City Athletics, Team Man Made and Backcountry Black falling to fifth.
Day 3 Recap
Individuals awoke to three events to push through on the final day of competition. With Luckett and Pepper tied at 357 for fourth place and Games veteran Moorad gaining on them, big points were at stake. Luckett didn’t sit on his hands with this in mind as the competition got underway. After bottoming out in 22nd place on event one, he had been gaining ground all weekend, and found his best luck in the 2017 regional finale event. Luckett blazed through 30 bike calories, 20 burpee box jump overs, and 10 150-pound sandbag cleans in 2:48, three seconds ahead of Sager and six ahead of third-place Dlugos.
View this post on Instagram
Moorad knew what was on the line too, as he took his shot in the next event, 2014 Games Push Pull, which traded out a traditional sled for the new Torque Tanks. Athletes pulled these trolley-looking sleds down the field via battling rope and then pushed back up the field. Moorad had a handle on the event from the beginning, finishing solidly ahead of Ohlsen. Training Think Tank’s Jake Berman barely edged out Sager on the chip timer for third place.
Going into the final event, Sager, Ohlsen, Sweeney and Moorad were likely safe to say they were heading to Madison. Luckett held the fifth and final qualifying spot, 32 points ahead of Pepper in sixth place. The last event from 2015 regionals was a sprint, with 15 ring muscle ups followed by an ascending clean ladder, one lift at each weight. Canadian Cedric Lapointe took first in 1:20, followed by Brian Huynh and Morakinyo. Pepper finished three places ahead of Luckett, but it wouldn’t be enough for the young phenom to break through to Madison this year.
The women’s race was similar on day three, with two-time mom Huckaby sitting in fourth, Speegle just 10 points behind in fifth and Raptis just behind. The first event of the day came down to a chip-timer check, as Speegle managed to get the correct foot across the line just 35 hundredths of a second ahead of blue-haired Brandon. This event would also mark the best finish of the weekend for Sydney Wells, twin sister of Games veteran Brooke Wells, who transitioned from college track and field to CrossFit.
Raptis would make a surge for her Games berth in the push pull event that followed, finishing first, 18 seconds ahead of Shadburne and, more importantly, five places ahead of Speegle and 10 ahead of Huckaby, booster her into fourth overall, ahead of Speegle. The final event would be a sprint for the fifth ticket, and Speegle, the best lifter of the three in contention, would feel good about a heavy clean ladder.
Brandon took the event in 1:30, nailing her final 200-lb clean, followed by Wilson and Speegle, who also easily stood up the bar. Huckaby barely edged out Fisher for fourth place, and the barbell would get the best of Raptis, who came in 2:36 after struggling with the 200-pound lift. This would move Speegle into fourth, 34-year-old Huckaby into fifth and put Raptis out of contention.
Teams also got to tangle with the Torque on Sunday, in an event that tested grip strength, with some teammates hanging as others performed chest-to-bar pull-ups and toes-to-bar. Invictus Unconquerable won this one, followed by Invictus and Team Man Made. Event six brought about bikes and partner deadlifts, which was a favorable combination for Ohio Brutes, who came in ahead of Invictus.
Team event seven welcomed back the worm, and came with a lot of anxiety for any team without Invictus in the name. Just 20 points separated third through sixth place, and 144 hand-stand push-ups and 144 worm lunges stood in their way of finding out who was going to Madison. Invictus Unconquerable and Invictus shocked no one by finishing one-two. Backcountry Black, who had been sitting just outside qualification in sixth place, finished third in the event, a huge momentum swing for the team. Ohio Brutes took fourth, followed by Salt Lake City CF Gold. Team Man Made dropped to 11th place in this event, taking them from third place overall to sixth.
All that remains between now and the 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games is the Last Chance Qualifier competition next weekend, giving athletes and teams who narrowly missed their bid to Madison a final opportunity to qualify. These will take place virtually July 2-4.
Featured image: @thewestcoastclassic on Instagram