It’s hard to write this without coming off like one of those old timers, who talks about being around before anyone else, or how much better it was in their day. It actually wasn’t better in my day, and my buddy Doug Chapman and I were around before all you punk kids. The 2009 Mid-Atlantic Sectionals/Regionals were in a warehouse. I came in about 128th on a 2k Row, and we were introduced to a – I believe – 16 year-old Ben Smith. He earned his first of now seven trips to the Games (a men’s record), by obliterating everyone on the final workout, in his P.E. class shorts and Asics running shoes that he’d clearly used to mow the lawn (true story). In 2010 I competed in the VA, DC, MD Sectional, and attended the Georgia Sectional, which was outside, and so cold that I believe Ken Gall had a frostbitten finger amputated after winning. Also, they did Wall Balls on the side of a cargo truck for an event – some people had to chase the ball after throwing it over the truck. You can’t make this stuff up.
The 2015 Atlantic “Super Regional”, in comparison to the events I described above, was like vacationing on Richard Branson’s private island, after traveling there in Cousin Eddie’s RV.
Yes, the event, venue, staff, broadcast, and schedule were top notch, but the crowd – the crowd made it amazing. I LOVE that HQ has moved the events to non-stadium locations, and has only brought in enough bleachers to hold about 3/4 of the crowd. The Patriot Center last year sucked. It was quiet and half empty. In comparison, the Atlantic was PACKED every day, and when EZ won the final event, I’ve never heard a louder sporting event. In fact, IMO the final event is the best finishing event ever… EVER. It makes CF look like a real sport more than anything they’ve ever tested, and I actually cheered a little when EZ won. Don’t tell anyone.
For me personally I knew it would be a busy weekend. We’d qualified a total of 10 Outlaw followers for the event, five of which I’d coached personally for quite a while. We felt quite a few of them had a chance to qualify, but knew it would require a perfect weekend, as they’d be unseating veterans who had multiple Games appearances under their belts. Obviously the new format means someone is going home, and as we found – sending one of those athletes home requires a level of execution that leaves absolutely no room for error.
We finished with 3 women in the top 12 overall, and 6 women in the top 25. Caroline Dardini was our highest finisher, ending the weekend in 8th overall on the women’s side. She took a 27th on “Randy” and despite a 6th on the Chipper and 3rd on Event 7, couldn’t battle her way back far enough to catch the 5th spot. Lauren “Lulu” Truszkowski and Lindsay Eder were our 2nd and 3rd women in the top 12, and were both incredibly consistent all weekend. Nineteen year-old Madi Mansberger, Nicole Capurso, and Rachel Krumm rounded out the rest of the top-25 group, and all showed that they absolutely belong competing against so many solid veterans.
On the men’s side; Hudson Fricke, Nate Trevillian (at 20 years-old), and Carlos Albaladejo (who is active duty military, thank him if you meet him), all had minor mistakes which set them back, and generally lacked the firepower to get event wins in the most competitive non-Games event I’ve ever seen. The Atlantic Regional was so good, that Nate Trevillian – who finished 22nd in the Atlantic – would have finished 9th overall in the South Region, with the exact same scores. That’s not creative math, that’s numbers.
Here’s the question I have to ask myself as a coach…
Did we fail because no one qualified?
Failure would be taking Games veterans, and not doing the things needed to improve them enough to get through in the “Super Regional” era. The Outlaw Atlantic group is largely made up of athletes who are 24 or younger, were competing at Regionals for the first time (or have competed once before), and have never even seen Sam Briggs or Ben Smith in person, much less tried to beat them. This group is young, coachable, and just got the exposure they’re gonna need to be successful in this sport. Nate got seven no-reps on “Randy”, a no-rep on “Tommy V”, and missed a 263# Snatch that he had caught and was standing with, because he was worried about stepping over a line he was told would give him a no rep. Those mistakes cost him a ton of points. Instead of complaining, he simply told me – “I’ll never let that happen again.” That’s the athlete I want.
Now let me be an old timer for a second…
The 2015 Atlantic Regional was a GREAT event. I’ll take it over the dust of Dave’s ranch, and Wall Balls on Cousin Eddie’s RV every time. Enjoy your sport kids, it’s getting pretty effing good.
1) 5X2 Clean from blocks (just above knee) @ 80% – rest as needed
2) 5X2 Jerk from blocks/rack @ 80% – rest as needed
1a) 4X8 Strict Ring Dips – rest 90 sec.
1b) 4X5 Jerk Grip BTN Push Press @ 80% of 5rm – rest 90 sec.