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Crash Crescendo: Premier Semifinal Team Tune Up

April 24, 202410 min read

Image Courtesy of @r1ckjones

If you are not familiar with the competitions J.R. Howell, owner of CrossFit Crash and co-host of Shut Up and Scribble, puts on biannually for high level athletes in the Southeast of the United States, it’s time to get acquainted with them. 

In the Fall, Crash Crucible, is primarily a proving grounds for individuals in this region and has produced champions and podium athletes who have gone on (regularly) to have very impressive seasons the year after doing well at Crucible.

In the Spring, it’s the opportunity for teams to test themselves in a similar regard, but navigating the CrossFit Games season schedule can often be difficult. Howell has cleverly positioned this year’s Crescendo on the optimal weekend for teams (particularly if they are in the NA East region). With the competition taking place April 26-28, it is three weeks after Quarterfinals, and a full five weeks before the East Semifinal. 

SemiFinal Format?

The competition itself is designed to simulate a Semifinal weekend as much as possible. Three days and six workouts is likely what we’ll see at a Semi, and it’s exactly what is on tap for Crescendo 2024. 

For athletes at this level, it’s not just about the workouts themselves. They also need to manage the time between events: eating, sleeping, recovery, the logistics of travel. And they need to find ways to put the things they’ve been practicing to the test in an environment that isn’t routine and comfortable. Crescendo is positioned accordingly for teams to be able to test some of those intangible things about competition out and still have time to recalibrate before Semis. 

Programming

Perhaps the thing Howell is most well-known and well-respected for is the challenge, diversity, and creativity of his programming. Part of the reason he is able to do this for the top athletes in the sport is because he has prioritized being able to from an equipment and gym layout perspective. 

His affiliate is big enough to accommodate floor layouts for competition that most could not, and additionally he has supplemented that space with somewhat rare equipment in quantities that allow for use in competition. You may not get every one of these things in every competition he programs, but from pegboards to flip sleds, to handstand obstacle course options, to air runners, GHDs, ski ergs, floating pull up bars, and yokes, Crash is guaranteed to give you exposure to elements of programming few competitions anywhere can. 

Livestream Schedule

All Co-Ed Elite events will be streamed on BFriendly Fitness Youtube channel.

Friday:

  • Event 1 – Start 2:00 pm EST
  • Event 2 – Start 4:00 pm EST

Saturday

  • Event 3 – 11:10 pm
  • Event 4 – 3:10 pm

Sunday

  • Event 5 – 12:40 pm
  • Event 6 – 3:15 pm

The Teams

Last year the elite CoEd field had 10 teams, half of which were Semifinal caliber. This year the elite CoEd field will expand slightly to at least 12 teams, and once again will include both athletes and teams with Semifinal and Games experience and potential. 

Three of NA East’s Top Four

Following Quarterfinals three of the top four teams in the NA East region are slated to be in attendance for Crescendo: 

  • 2nd, Ocean State CrossFit Surge
    • Ethan Helbig, Josh Mattes, Kristine Best, Christine Middleton
  • 3rd, CrossFit Mayhem
    • Angelo DiCicco, Sam Demeester, Zoe Jones, Molly McGrandy
  • 4th, CrossFit Reignited
    • Quinn Robinson, Jordan Lundin, Shaylin Laure, Steph Grange

In terms of quarterfinals points the spread between these three teams was only seven points. These three teams combined for seven out of twelve possible finishes of 4th or better and only had one collective finish worse than 12th in the entire NA East field (which is the deepest region in the world any way you measure it). 

Quarterfinals, however, was only four scores, and was much more limited in what it could test than Crescendo will be. This year alone Crescendo will test several skills which were absent from Quarters, but are likely to be seen at Semis including:

  • Running
  • Handstand walking
  • Pegboard ascents (unlikely at Semis, more likely at the Games)
  • Sled Pushes (unlikely at Semis, more likely at the Games)
  • Worm lunges
  • Worm squats
  • GHD sit ups
  • Parallette HSPUs

These three teams all have plenty of experience at high level team competitions though, and therefore likely won’t be thrown off by the inclusion of any of these implements. 

Threats to the Podium

Although those three teams come in as the podium favorites, that is by no means guaranteed. There are two other NA East Semifinal qualifying teams in the field:

  • 17th, CrossFit Mayhem Liberty
    • Dalton Rodgers, Nick Azorr, Rebekah Devine, Kensie Campbell
  • 23rd, Spindle City CrossFit
    • Will Farquharson, T James Henderson, Theresa Puckett, Brandi Arey

But neither of those teams is as likely to upset the podium as a team who was in a qualifying position before getting disqualified from the season for an oversight during the Open. 

  • CLT Grit Haus
    • Kevin Steinhaus, Josh Hardin, Caroline Klutz, Stevie Dellinger

This exact team was 6th at the NA East semifinals last season and was well within a qualifying position based on their Quarterfinals performances this year, and for our purposes here we consider this a sixth team in the field that is in the top 25 teams in the East this year. They also have a lot of experience competing at Crash events, and will certainly have some frustration to unleash in competition as well. Do not count them out of the podium conversation. 

Not a Games Season Team

Most of the teams in this competition are actual teams from the Games season, but there is one team on the roster that features athletes who are not on a CrossFit Games season team.

  • Let’s See What Happens
    • Evan Rogers, Tristan Faure, Caroline Stanley, Brynn Carrick

Rogers had a great run at Semis last year taking 15th in the East and had strong back to back performances at Wodapalooza and Fittest of the Coast back in January. Faure has both Regional team experience (2017) and Semifinal individual experience (2021). Carrick was on a team at the Games in 2021 and a team at Semis in 2022. And Stanley is coming off her first CrossFit Games qualification last year. 

Talent Top to Bottom

Every team in this field is composed of very good CrossFitters, it’s just the top of this field has some of the best teams in the world this year. The three of the last four teams in this field all have at least one teammate with at least one year of team Semifinal experience:

  • Crash Kids
    • Zach Strehl, Kaiden Myers, Jessica Rubbo, Caroline Thomas
  • 12th State
    • Austin Rowe, Mike Eleftheriou, Anna Vincent, Kimberlee Dekrey
  • Apex Black
    • Justin Bell, Caleb Silvey, Rebecca Stidham, Kara Petruzzelli
  • Arm Candy and Fit Wives
    • Brandon Estep, Chuck Smyers, Marissa Estep, Bethany Smyers

These teams will need a great weekend to threaten for a top five finish.

More Than Elite CoEd

While our coverage of Crash Crescendo will focus on the elite CoEd teams of four, there are also some very talented and fit athletes competing in the advanced male and advanced female teams of four divisions. In total there are seven divisions, with unisex team options for intermediate and novice as well.

If you’re in the SouthEast and like well run, challenging team CrossFit competitions, this competition should be on your bucket list. 

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Brian Friend

Brian stumbled upon CrossFit in the Fall of 2013. He has been a writer, data analyst, content creator, commentator, and broadcast coordinator. He's worked at a majority of the largest CrossFit competitions over the last three seasons, is a regular guest on the Sevan Podcast, and has been amongst the leading sports analysts in the sport in recent years. He has a passion for advancing the sport of CrossFit, and spreading the CrossFit methodology, by living it out in both his personal and professional life.

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