Hacks Pack UTE won the Team title back-to-back in 2012 and 2013. Invictus won in 2014 and CrossFit Mayhem Freedom took the title in 2015.
Will Rich Froning and team be able to repeat this year? We take a look at three reasons why they will do it again.
It’s Rich Froning
Rich Froning doesn’t lose. Froning has been the most dominant CrossFit athlete in the sport’s short history, but it will be tough to top the 4-time individual Games champion. Last year’s team wasn’t supposed to win. Lauren Neal stepped in when another female athlete couldn’t compete. Even with a 40+ masters athlete with Neal, Froning willed his team to victory.
Watching this year’s Central Regional, Froning didn’t look taxed. He stuck to the game plan and let his team share the workload. Outside of Event 9 when he was chasing down CrossFit Grandview, Froning looked relaxed and smooth the entire weekend. If his team needs it come Sunday at the Games, Froning has that extra gear that can push his team up the leaderboard.
Welcome Lindy Barber
Lindy Barber is the only new member on this year’s Mayhem Freedom team. Barber, replacing Neal, will add speed and skill to Mayhem’s arsenal. It is well documented that Barber’s back condition does pose some risk to the team, especially if heavy deadlifts, overhead squats or high-volume GHDs are programmed. However, she was able to navigate those elements in the individual competition last year and appears to be healthy entering next week.
Last year, Mayhem took 40th place on Sync 21 when Neal was unable to complete the bar muscle-ups under the time cap. The team also finished 37th in the Female Clean & Jerk event. The addition of Barber won’t completely solve those gaps, but should provide a big enough boost to eliminate the 30+ finishes.
The team competition at the CrossFit Games is exactly that, a competition that rewards teams and solid teamwork. Teams that work well together and can communicate well have the opportunity to surpass teams with just sheer talent. With five of the six members returning from last year, their experience at last year’s Games will provide a huge lift to their confidence heading into the Games.
They have one more year to understand each member’s strengths and weaknesses. One more year to learn how to communicate effectively. And one more year to practice with the Worm. Teams like Invictus and CrossFit Dynamix will be entering this year not having competed together at the Games giving CrossFit Mayhem Freedom the advantage.