CrossFit Games

“It is Just Raining 300-Pound Snatches” Put Into Perspective at the MACC

May 29, 2021 by
Credit: Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge:
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As we watched multiple men and women effortlessly snatch 300 and 200 pounds respectively at the Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge Semifinals in Knoxville, TN on Friday afternoon, it was all too easy to forget just how big a deal these lifts really are and just how far these athletes have come.

Remind me: The last time we saw a one-rep max snatch event at a Regional competition — the most comparable level of competition to the Semifinals stage of the season — was in 2015. Although the one-rep max snatch in 2015 was Event 5 on Saturday, when athletes were arguably less fresh than during Event 1 of the MACC, the format was similar: Athletes had 20 seconds to lift, with 80 seconds rest between attempts.

  • In 2015, 19 percent of the women’s field hit at least 170 pounds, while five percent were able to snatch 180 or more. Five competitors across all eight regions snatched 190 pounds or more, and just two were able to snatch at least 200 pounds.
  • On the men’s side, 10 percent of male competitors across all eight regions in 2015 snatched a minimum of 265 pounds, and just four percent of the field hit 275 pounds. Only three male competitors snatched at least 285 pounds in 2015, and not a single male hit the 300-pound milestone.

Fast-forward to the MACC: “It’s raining 300-pound snatches,” said commentator Tommy Marquez after he watched veteran CrossFit Games athletes Travis WIlliams, Scott Panchik, Ben Smith and Travis Mayer all knock off 300-pound snatches within a matter of seconds during the final men’s heat. 

  • A total of seven men across all three heats hit a 300-pound snatch, with Zach Watts hitting 310 pounds for the win. 
  • Meanwhile, five women hit at least 200 pounds — three more in one Semifinals competition than the entire 2015 Regionals field — with Christine Kolenbrander winning the event with a 210 pound lift.
  • Further, 21 of the 30 women hit at least 170 pounds — 70 percent of the field compared to 19 percent in 2015 — while 60 percent of the field hit 180 pounds, and 26.6 percent of the field snatched at least 190 pounds.
  • Finally, 24 of the 30 men hit at least 265 pounds — 80 percent of the field as compared to 10 percent of the 2015 regionals’ field — while 63 percent of the field snatched at least 275 pounds and 9.5 percent hit at least 285 pounds.

Worth noting: Comparing the MACC snatch scores to the 2017 CrossFit Games max snatch event makes them even more impressive.

  • In 2017, just three men hit the 300-pound snatch threshold at the Games, with five-time Games champion Mat Fraser winning the event with a 305-pound lift. 
Credit: Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge:

One big thing: While the men still have a ways to go in terms of being competitive with the best Olympic weightlifters in the world, the female lifts performed at the Semifinals stage in Tennessee would be competitive at the highest levels of the sport of weightlifting. 

  • Three women who placed in the top 10 in Weightlifting at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in the 63 kg division (138.6 pound bodyweight), for example, snatched less than the winning lift put up by Kolenbrander at the MACC.

The bottom line: In the early days of CrossFit, the idea was to be pretty good at everything, but not necessarily world-class at anything. But in 2021, this is no longer the case. Even at the Semifinals level, these athletes aren’t just great lifters for CrossFit athletes. They are world-class weightlifters and getting better each season. Where they will be in another six years is almost scary to imagine. 

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