West Coast Classic Day Three Recap: History Relived as Games Vets Monopolize the Leaderboard

June 20, 2021 by
Credit: Athlete's Eye Photography
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It’s been fifteen months in the making, but the inaugural West Coast Classic has finally concluded. The vision for this event was always to pay tribute to legendary workouts from the past, and despite the change in season structure, that vision was upheld. In this new format, it also means qualifying five men, women and teams to the 2021 NoBull CrossFit Games. Each division had small margins between the fifth and sixth positions to begin the day, and two opportunities to either hold on to, or move into one of the top five positions. 

Men: When it comes to the Games spots, the last day featured six men fighting for five spots. 

  • Cole Sager was in a dominant position starting the day. He had all top five finishes heading into the last event, and just needed to finish to earn his first ever victory at a competition of this caliber (Regional, Sanctional, or Semifinal). With this performance he firmly puts himself in the conversation as a top five contender at the Games.
  • In part that’s because of who he beat. Noah Ohlsen has been sixth or better at the Games four years running. He had one hiccup on event five, but was otherwise extremely consistent with top tens across the board. His mindset this weekend was to get back into live competition mode and secure a trip to the Games. He accomplished both those things handily and, having now done so, will once again set his sights on the podium in Madison.
  • Sean Sweeney is no stranger to these competitions. He never seems to do anything flashy (other than wave his magnificent cowboy hat to the fans), but he’s always in contention. Third place in this field is nothing to scoff at, and with that finish he will be making a well-earned fourth trip to the Games.
  • The question before the weekend for Will Moorad (as is often the case) was how healthy he would be. He was one spot out of qualification to start the day, but a dominant event win to start the final day was pivotal in terms of doing what he needed to get back to the Games. Despite an 18th on the finale, he’s going back to the Games, where he was tenth the last time he made it (2019).
  • The last qualifying spot was going to come down to Brandon Luckett and Dallin Pepper. Both men would have to manage a difficult workout for men of their size in event six, and then hope they could do enough to overcome their opponent in the final. They ended up trading blows on the two workouts.  Luckett bested Pepper on event six, and Pepper edged Luckett on event seven, but when the dust settled it was Luckett who emerged victorious. 
  • With Luckett in the fifth spot, all five men qualifying from the West Coast Classic are Games veterans, proving just how difficult it can be for rookies to break through.

Women: The women’s leaderboard and storylines on the last day were a scary parallel to what happened with the men:

  • The top three positions were more or less the three ladies everyone was expecting, but perhaps the order was not.
  • The Underdogs Athletics trio of Kari Pearce, Danielle Brandon, and Bethany Shadburne were all in the top ten at the 2019 Games, all participated in Stage One of the 2020 Games, and have been training together for most of the season. 
  • As the reigning third fittest woman on earth, Kari Pearce was the popular pick to win this weekend, but those who were willing to bet against her seemed to be on Brandon.
  • Ultimately though, it was Bethany Shadburne who outclassed them both. She had nothing but top four finishes until the final (which she took ninth in), and looked poised, confident, and strong as each test unfolded. This is surely a big boost of confidence for her as she definitely now needs to be considered a top ten threat once again in Madison this summer.
  • The final two spots would come down to Regan Huckaby, Dani Speegle, and Alexis Raptis, all three of whom were within twelve points of each other to start the day. 
  • Raptis struck first in event six with a dominating event win that propelled her ahead of both Games veterans. 
  • The last event was so close and dramatic that no margin of error would be acceptable. While Huckaby and Speegle composed themselves for the final bar (which weighed 200 pounds), Raptis missed her first attempt at it. It wasn’t clear at first if that miss would keep her out, but it certainly felt that way. 
  • The announcement after the event was dramatic and emotional, and while Speegle was happy to hear her name announced in fourth, she was even more ecstatic for Huckaby who had qualified fifth. The two embraced emphatically on the floor and the emotion between them was palpable. 

While all 10 individual Games qualifying spots went to Games vets, six would-be-Games rookies extended their season by making it to the Last Chance Qualifier:

  • For the men they are Dallin Pepper, Spencer Panchik, and Cedric Lapointe
  • The three women are Alexis Raptis, Kloie Wilson, and Kelly Stone

The Last Chance Qualifier will be a massive battle, but earning a spot in it by qualifying out of this deep field of competitors is very impressive. Expect several of these athletes to contend for one of the two remaining spots that will round out the field of 40 at the Games.

Teams: Two dramatic races were at hand for the team division on Sunday.

The race for the top spot, Invictus vs Invictus Unconquerable:

  • At the top of the leaderboard Invictus and Invictus Unconquerable have distinguished themselves from the rest of the field throughout the weekend; the only remaining question was which of them would best the other.
  • On event six, Invictus was able to extend their lead by finishing second to Invictus Unconquerable’s fourth.
  • In the finale, Invictus Unconquerable won, giving them three event wins on the weekend. It would not be enough to overtake Invictus however, who finished second on that event, and retained the overall competition lead.

The battle for the final Games spot, four teams battle for five spots:

  • At the start of the day, Ohio Brutes sat in sixth place, eleven points behind Backcountry Black.
  • Event six, which featured the echo bike and partner deadlifts, would throw a monkey wrench into the leaderboard though.
  • A win in that event by the Brutes, and a twelfth from Blues City Athletics (who had been in third at the start of the day), tightened everything up. 
  • With one event remaining,Team Man Made had moved into third, the Ohio Brutes sat in fourth, Blue City had fallen to fifth, and Backcountry Black was sixth, just below the cut line.
  • The final event featured handstand pushups and a lunge race with the worm, which all the teams were chipping away at in a very close race.
  • Backcountry Black crossed first of these four, with the Ohio Brutes right behind them. Blues City came in not too far behind which left Team Man Made, who had been ahead of all of them, as the final team on the floor. 
  • Teams waited in anticipation as the results were called, but it ultimately came down to Blues City and Team Man Made for the final spot.
  • It turned out that Blues City Athletics had done enough to squeeze into the final Games position. 

Final Leaderboard:

  1. Cole Sager (583) / Bethany Shadburne (632) / Invictus (603)
  2. Noah Ohlsen (548) / Kari Pearce (628) / Invictus Unconquerable (595)
  3. Sean Sweeney (513) / Danielle Brandon (573) / Ohio Brutes (539)
  4. Will Moorad (489) / Dani Speegle (542) / Backcountry Black (530)
  5. Brandon Luckett (481) / Regan Huckaby (528) / Blues City Athletics (528)
  6. Dallin Pepper (461) / Alexis Raptis (517) / Team Man Made (510)
  7. Spencer Panchik (454) / Kloie Wilson (485) / Venture CrossFit (435)
  8. Cedric Lapointe (428) / Kelly Stone (433) / CrossFit HYPE (396)
  9. Tola Morakinyo (417) / Alison Scudds (397) / CrossFit Grandview (381)
  10. Jacob Pfaff (414) / Jessica Androsik (392) / Salt Lake City CrossFit Gold (316)

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