Camaraderie made the Okanagan Valley Throwdown a hit.
Brent Hayter, competitive director for the event, said CrossFit competitions are famous for having athletes push and encourage each other.
“Everywhere you looked people were getting along, warming up together, celebrating, cheering,” said Hayter, adding the event at the South Okanagan Events Centre on Feb. 8 was a huge success.
Ryan Harris, a Penticton RCMP officer, met several people including fellow RCMP officers from B.C. He was impressed the event attracted athletes from across Canada.
“You’re competing against other people,” said Harris, who finished sixth out of 33 in the competitive men’s division. “I have always been competitive. I like to be pushed and push myself.”
Harris said he would do it again, even this weekend.
“I’m just not sure if my body could do it,” he joked.
What challenged Harris were the handstand pushups in the final. The finalists had to complete 21in an allotted time. He managed 16, but expected to fall short.
“There is room for improvement and growth,” said Harris, who was impressed by the atmosphere and described it as “absolutely amazing.”
The SOEC had 960 spectators on hand to watch as 210 athletes pushed their limits through unexpected exercises. Hayter said there could be a comparison made between CrossFit and certain Olympic events, but the differences are there.
“With Olympic events, athletes know exactly what to expect because they have trained for the specific demands of the sport,” he said. “With what we do, the workouts and skills are always changing so you need to prepare for everything.”
The Okanagan Valley Throwdown featured an individual open, individual competitive and team category. The top seven men and women advanced to the final. It was the same with teams. Athletes accumulate points based on how they rank. Those finishing first in an activity receive no points. Points counted from the entire day and the athlete with the fewest points won.
In an earlier interview, Hayter said in the higher levels, “you need to be good at everything.”
“You can’t just be a good distance runner or just a good weight lifter,” he said.
The top three of the open women were Hannah Duyvewaardt, first, Amanda Argan, second and Jessica King, third. The top three in the open men were Daniel Webbe, first, Troy Boot, second and Bryce Stetchman, third. In masters men, Brett Hall took top spot, followed by Mark Hilts and Kelly Watson. In masters women, Mira Singh was first, Linda French, second and Sally Anne Hickin, third. Cole Bernier was the winner for competitive men, Peter Demchuk, second and Dustin Minty, third. Top three finishers for competitive women were Tina Popp, Helena Ouskine and Alana Hoare.
In team women, Erica Livett from CrossFit North Okanagan was first, Stacey Armstrong of the Bearsharks, second and Jen Schneider of CrossFit North Okanagan, third. On the men’s side, Bearsharks’ Drew Armstrong and Jeff Kubik were first and second, respectively, while Robbie Filice of CrossFit North Okanagan was third.
First-place finishers received a prize package from Reebok CrossFit of a top, bottom and a pair of CrossFit shoes. Second and third-place finishers received prize packages from Again faster, Progenex and Flaman Fitness in West Kelowna.
The day was considered a success because of the number of athletes that competed in the first-time event.
“Athletes were very happy with the professional feel the event had and how smoothly everything ran,” said Hayter. “Being the inaugural event, we thought there would be a big list of things to improve on for next year but other than some problems with scoring, we just have a few minor tweaks for next year.”
In attracting a crowd of 960, they were able to give nearly $2,000 to the South Okanagan Children’s charity.