West Coast Classic Takes a Trip Down Team Competition Memory Lane
Earlier this week, we looked at the many individual records that were broken at last weekend’s West Coast Classic in Las Vegas, NV, a Semifinal that featured events that have previously been tested at Regionals competitions, the CrossFit Invitationals, or the Games between 2013 and 2019. Across the board, the individual performances crushed scores of the past, not just at the regional level, but also at the Games.
- Turning our attention to the teams who competed in Las Vegas shows a similar story: The level of performance on the field was head-and-shoulders higher than even just a couple years ago.
Two notable improvements: Arguably the two biggest areas of improvement spectators witnessed at the West Coast Classic in the team competition were the athletes’ worm proficiency — a piece of equipment that was introduced to the community at the Games in 2013 — and their clean and jerk numbers.
The Worm: Two events in Las Vegas featured the worm — the Squat Burpee event from both the 2013 and 2014 CrossFit Games — and Event 6 from the 2018 Regionals, an event that featured 144 handstand push-ups while a second athlete holds the top of a handstand, followed by a 144-foot team walking lunge with the worm.
- Backcountry Black topped the Squat Burpee event in 10:20.87, smashing the winning times from both the 2013 and 2014 Games (13:43.6 and 14:02.0 respectively). In fact, the top 15 teams last weekend beat CrossFit Fort Vancouver’s 2013 winning time of 13:46.6.
- Meanwhile, the winning time across all regions in the handstand push-up, worm lunge event from the 2018 Regionals was 5:02.77 by Torrance Training Lab. On the weekend, the best time was 4:28.88 by Invictus Unconquerable. Similarly, 10 teams bested the best time across all regions from just three years ago.
Clean and Jerk: A one rep max clean and jerk has been programmed three times at the Games in the team competition (2015, 2017 and 2019).
- In 2015, the men’s total across three male competitors was 985 pounds — an average of 328 pounds per lifter — and in 2017, the best total was 1054 pounds — an average of 351 pounds per lifter. On the weekend, the teams only had two male competitors, compared to three at both 2015 and 2017 at the Games. The top score was 725 pounds by Salt Lake City CrossFit Gold — an average of 362 pounds per lifter — besting the top score from 2015 by 34 pounds per lifter, and the top score from 2017 by 11 pounds.
- On the women’s side, the top total in 2015 was 635 pounds — an average of 211 pounds per lifter — and in 2017, the best total was 698 pounds, or 232 pounds per lifter. At the West Coast Classic, the top female team, Venture CrossFit, posted the highest total — 740 pounds — an average of 235 pounds per lifter.
- Unlike 2015 and 2017, in 2019, the clean and jerk event at the Games was just one scored event that included the total lifts of two men and two women. The top total was 1160 pounds by Team Invictus. Had the event at the West Coast Classic been scored like this, as opposed to being two separate events, the top team would have been Salt Lake City CrossFit Gold with a total of 1145 pounds. While 15 pounds off the winning team at the Games from two years ago, it’s important to note we’re comparing a Semifinals level of competition to the absolute best teams in the world from just two years ago.
- Worth noting: Further, had last weekend’s event been scored like the Games in 2019, five teams would have posted combined scores totalling 1120 pounds or higher (1120 pounds was the second highest total at the Games in 2019 by overall winners Mayhem Freedom).
One big thing: The first event weekend at the West Coast Classic was the thruster, legless rope climb workout programmed both at Regionals in 2016 and at the 2015 CrossFit Invitationals, an invite-only competition made up of the top athletes from the Games representing the United States, Canada, Australia/New Zealand and Europe. The top time from last weekend weekend — 14:26.95 from Invictus Unconquerable — annihilated the top time from the 2016 Regionals — 20:45.03 by CrossFit Parallax.
- Though the teams last weekend were still a couple of minutes off the times from the 2015 Invitationals — 12:25 (USA), 12:30 (Canada), 12:47 (Europe) and 13:09 (Pacific) — once again, it’s important to note that we’re comparing Semifinal team athletes to the fittest individuals in the world here, and still they’re weren’t far off the mark.
The bottom line: The team competition from the West Coast Classic is but more evidence of the ever-increasing depth on the competition floor today. And while it’s not always the case, team athletes tend to be considered a bit less well-rounded or less fit than those who compete as individuals; however, in 2021, those who competed on a team at the Semifinal level would undoubtedly be able to keep up with the best of the best from just a few years ago.