2010 CrossFit Games Finals

Affiliate Epic Matchup 1: Omaha and Northwest

Northwest CrossFit and CrossFit Omaha set the tone for our Affilate matchups.

This is the first of our epic matchups for the Affiliate Cup team competition. These matchups are inherently arbitrary, as all teams are competing against each other, nonetheless, there are certain teams that have caught our attention as uniquely alike or different, whose pairing is interesting to explore. In this case, Northwest CrossFit won the 09 Games (thus pre-qualifying them for the Home Depot Center), and CrossFit Omaha dominated the North Central Regional.

The rules of the team competition allow teams to manage their rosters aggressively. Because the Regionals had both individual and team competitions occurring simultaneously, there were lots of decisions to be made on who competed where. Some teams (like CrossFit Santa Cruz as one example) sent a great deal of their qualified athletes to the individual competition, whereas other teams (like CrossFit New England) sent the great majority of their qualified individuals into the team competition. Because the low percentage of individual athletes qualifying for the Games, many of the individual competitors at the Regionals will compete for their teams at the HDC. Some of the top 5 individual athletes (who are pre-qualified into the Games with no requirement to compete in the Regionals) competed for their teams at Regionals even though they will compete as individuals at the HDC. All this means that we could see some major surprises and/or shifts in finishing orders as teams make these changes.

Last year, Northwest CrossFit dominated Day 1 of the Affiliate Cup competition. Out of nearly 100 teams competing on Friday, they finished 3rd in the Run, 4th in the Stadium workout, and 12th in the OHS/Pull-up event. They brought three men and three women, which allowed them to rotate members to feature their strengths and keep them fresh. This put them 6 points ahead of their closest competitor (CrossFit Central) and virtually guaranteed an overall victory. This year's team, though, is comprised entirely of new athletes.

They have two gyms with over 500 members total. This year's team is made up of athletes from their Greenlake Seattle gym, which has 370 members. Business is booming, and they aren't focused heavily on Games-specific preparation. Owner Jake Platt explains, "I've been slammed with expanding both gyms (ran out of space in both of them), and haven't much time to get ready for the games. We're at 540 members plus 35 in our On-ramp program. We did try to qualify our Bellevue location that has 170 members, but they came up short this year, which really put things in perspective for us that the Games have evolved way more than I expected.

There is no doubt that the Games are going to be extremely difficult to win this year. I do feel optimistic that our team will do well, but I know there are a lot more teams that prepared way more than we have. As of this writing our team has not worked together, so I guess we're winging it again. However, all the guys know each other and I think we'll be fine with the teamwork aspect. We will be getting together over the next couple weeks in preparation."

The Northwest CrossFit team this year:
Jordan Reese (Team Leader) - Reservist Captain in Marine Corp with two tours of duty under his belt in Iraq.  Currently a fireman.  Grace 2:04/Fran 3:15/Kelly 18:05
Jeff Bates - Crossfit endurance and NW Crossfit coach. 1 mile run 5:15/Fight Gone Bad 423/ Karen 4:35/Helen 7:12
Tyler Searle - Taekwondo fighter and NW Crossfit coach. CrossFit total 1034/Diane 3:43/Fran 3:12
Sara Woods - Ex Univ WA swimmer and mother of 10 month old Willa. Cindy 20/ Josh 10:09/ Nancy 12:10
Cassidy Lance - Ex Univ WA gymnast and NW Crossfit coach. Angie 18:18/ Grace 2:25/ Fran 4:35
Kelsey Rasmussen - Ex Univ WA Captain women's soccer team and NW Crossfit Coach.  Fight Gone Bad 322/ Grace 3:56/DT 14:49

CrossFit Omaha came to the 08 Games with a vengeance, putting their box on the map. In the individual competition Libby Dibiase and Ricky Frausto each performed extremely well on Day 1, very much in contention for a victory on Sunday. Both athletes finished in 6th place. They both returned to the 09 Games as individuals, though Libby was about two months pregnant at the time. This year she was tenth at the regionals, about 6 weeks after giving birth. New team member Kyle Kasperbauer joined them also. Kyle brings enormous strength to the team. He comes from a college football background and touts numbers like a triple bodyweight backsquat (535lbs). He finished 4th in the Rocky Mountain Regional last year. This year all three had solid performances at the North Central Regionals, but finished just outside qualification (Ricky by just one place and 7 points) in the individual competition.

However, Team CrossFit Omaha won handily without these three. And now, all three are on the team, along with Rebecca Wattier and Addi Kahrs. They are fired up to win. At the 2009 Games, the team missed the final by 2 points. At the 2010 Regional they had all top five finishes, with one first and one second. Of the original qualifying Regional team only one athlete will compete at the HDC (Kahrs). "We knew a long time ago that we would have a team tryout before and after Regionals," said coach Joe Westerlin. "We held Individual WODs to see who would be on the team. It's just like olympic trials - the initial four athletes help qualify, but it's not necessarily the team you see in the final. Our goal is to put the best team together and represent the gym the best we can. The individuals that didn't make it are still training hard and pushing the team, they are still as much a part of it as anyone."

Westerlin says that two things set his team apart, "Across the board we are fielding solid and rounded athletes. There are no weak links and we have athletes that are proficient at a broad array of tasks. Our women all have muscle-ups and strict handstand push-ups (movements that stopped a lot of females in their tracks last year). The second thing that worked well for us was strategy. We were diligent at Regionals about picking the right individuals for the task at hand and working together well under the clock. There was a lot of team effort at our Regional, it was required for success. That's all inclusive: how we chose to break up reps, total team cooperation, etc. It all came into play."

As for the training schedule, the team is still working out with regular classes and then adding additional components. "Wednesdays and Sundays are rest days, Friday is 1 WOD only then everything else is 2 a days. whether that be heavy then metcon, double strength, etc. These are all individual efforts, we'll be adding in team WODs to work on strategy soon. We have not specifically worked out yet as a team."

"We don't have any glaring weaknesses," says Westerlin. "We're tiny, that's our only weakness (Frausto offered this up). All of our men at regionals were over 6 feet tall and 200lbs. The men on this team are 5'4", 5'5" and 5'7". The lightest male is 147 and heaviest is 184. If there is another weakness it will be recovery/stretching/sleep."

Regardless, Omaha is entering the competition confident and hungry. "We are going to win. There is huge support from the gym, people raised money to send the athletes to the competition in the form of donations and silent auctions and we've got a large crew coming out to support our effort."

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5 comments on this entry

1. jenkins wrote...

"Northwest CrossFit won the 09 Games (thus pre-qualifying them for the Home Depot Center), "

Northwest is the third Affiliate cup winner. I believe Santa Cruz then Oakland took home the cup in the two previous years. Why is it then that ONLY Northwest is pre-qualified? The two previous winners where pronounced "Affiliate Champions" and given the affiliate cup just like Northwest.

Plus all previous individual winners are pre-qualified for life.

2. Joe W wrote...

Ok folks, Libby called me out on this at home after misreading the line, so I have to clarify. My words were.. "We are going to LA to win" Not.. "We're gonna win." Ha, :)

3. The professor wrote...

Come on, Joe, get with the program!

4. Tony Budding wrote...

jenkins,
There are several differences. For one, this is the team competition, not the individual competition. And notice that we didn't say Northwest was qualified for life. There is no need for the rules to be the same for both competitions.

But more importantly, the 09 Games was the first time there were actual team workouts. Oakland and Santa Cruz won as the top collection of individual athletes. It's a totally different element.

The sport is evolving. The rules on which and how many teams are pre-qualified in will probably change again. And to be honest, the rules on the individual competition pre-qualified may change again. Our sport is about being ready for anything.

5. AP wrote...

Tony can you please post the rules and or changes to Affiliate Cup format since Regionals?

The original post some months ago alluded to some distinctions, but only listed that there must be six members (3M & 3F) sent to [L.A.].

Thanks.

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