Invictus Athletes at the OC Throwdown
Written by C.J. Martin
Outside of the tragic injury suffered by Kevin Ogar at the OC Throwdown last weekend, the weekend was filled with highlights for Invictus athletes.
Nine Invictus athletes participated in the weekend’s events – Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, Christian Harris, George Briones, Julian Serna, Lauren Fisher, Matt Baird, Meaghan Galindo, Rasmus Wisbech Andersen and Talayna Fortunato.
Julian Serna, an Invictus athlete and owner of Bisao CrossFit in Florida, competed hard all weekend and it paid off in the end. He entered the last workout – a three-event chipper – in third place. I asked him to go out aggressive in the first two sections and hang on after that, and that is exactly what he did. He pushed the pace and led all athletes, earning a 1st, 2nd and 1st place finish on those final three scoring events to push him into the overall lead. Julian’s hard work all season and over the course of the three days of competition earned him a first place finish and $10,000 prize.
Lauren Fisher showed the world that 19 is not too young to compete with the best. She stood alongside Games athletes like Sam Briggs, Lindsey Valenzuela, Alessandra Pichelli, Camille, Talayna and several others and looked confident and composed throughout. She competed with the character that we preach and take pride in calling an Invictus mindset. She focused on her own performance and giving her best in each event, and the result was a 5th place finish against a stacked field of athletes.
Camille Leblanc-Bazinet was amazing as always, racking up first place finishes in both the Triple-Fran event and the Strength Bracket (a series of max effort Snatch, Clean & Jerk and Back Squat). Her performances in the arena were consistently among the best, and only an awkward three mile run with kettlebells kept her off the podium. At the end of the weekend, Camille earned a 4th place finish – an outstanding result by any measure.
Talayna Fortunato earned an 8th place finish, racking up seven top 10 finishes, but getting a tough draw in early heats that set the pace for others. All in all, it was a very solid weekend and I was appreciative for the opportunity to see her compete for the first time since we began working together this summer. I am extremely excited to see her progress throughout the year and how she will compete back at Games.
Rasmus Wisbech Andersen competed like a champion! Rasmus has been a great addition to the Invictus family and demonstrates every bit of the mindset a coach loves to see in competition. He demonstrated the ability to finish strong despite the long weekend by finishing the final events with 3rd, 6th and 5th place finishes. This young kid is a force and only getting better.
The weekend was a great learning experience for Matt Baird, George Briones and Meaghan Galindo. They had hugely successful events and learned a lot from many others. The experience will undoubtedly make them better prepared to compete well at Regionals this year.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t all great news for Invictus athletes. Christian Harris, who is one of the most promising young athletes I have had an opportunity to work with, was injured in just the second event of the weekend – the NFL Combine. Christian, who is an extremely strong and explosive athlete (just check out the many videos of him lifting on Facebook), settled into the 225 lb Bench Press for max reps looking to get 25 reps or more; it wasn’t meant to be. Christian suffered a severe tear of his pec major, which will require surgery. The injury ends his season – and what I believe was a likely first appearance at the CrossFit Games. I am confident that Christian will bounce back from this even stronger than ever. We will continue to train through the recovery process and ensure that he is ready to tackle the 2015 season better than ever.
Finally, many thanks to my amazing parents, who once again prepared food for the athletes and generally kept us all fed and happy. Thanks also to the members of the Sea of Green who drove up to support our athletes – I know it was much appreciated.