Sam Briggs is Back! Sam Briggs is Back! – KITBOX

Sam Briggs is Back!

Last weekend saw the return of Sam Briggs to the CrossFit Games' Regionals, following last year's dramatic exit from the competition in Copenhagen. This year, she's moved across to the Atlantic region in the USA. Despite having more spots available than last year's European region, qualifying for the Games is no easy task. She qualified for the regional in 3rd place and, after battling injury throughout the past year, the whole of the UK was waiting to see how she got on.

Day 1

The first day started with Randy; 75 snatches at 55lb (25kg). The event had a 6 minute time cap but, with Sam's incredible engine, there was no way she'd ever come close to that. She made this workout seem incredibly easy, keeping hold of the bar to complete 75 unbroken snatches in 2:28.8. She didn't slow down at all during this event, and took the fastest time of the entire weekend - beating the fastest male by over 5 seconds.

Event two was Tommy V, a couplet of thrusters (75lb/34kg) and 15-ft rope climbs. This event saw Anna Tunnicliffe take an early lead, starting her second set of rope climbs 12 reps ahead of Sam Briggs, who was sat in 2nd place. This workout all came down to the rope climbs, as it was almost impossible to make up any time on the thrusters. Sam was consistent throughout, but it wasn't quite enough to catch up with Anna, who finished the workout almost a minute ahead of Sam, in 8:34.9.

Day 2

Overall, Sam finished the day in first place, leaving her in a strong position for the rest of the weekend. The third event of the weekend was a chipper, with a 26 minute timecap:
1 mile run
50 overhead squats
100 GHD situps
150 double unders
50 sumo deadlift high-pulls
100 box jump overs
Sam was the first off the treadmill, but was overtaken by Anna Tunnicliffe on the overhead squats, putting her in second place as she moved onto the GHDs. As Emily Bridgers raced through her GHD situps, overtaking Sam in the process, this event very quickly became a two-woman race to the finish. Emily, who finished sixth at last year's CrossFit Games, won the event with a time of 24:53 - closely followed by Anna at 24:58. Despite not finishing the event, Sam came in third - with only 40 box jump overs remaining. This turned out to be quite an achievement, as it later transpired Sam was competing with a broken foot!
Event 4, the dreaded 250-ft handstand walk saw the return of Sam's nemesis from the 2014 European Regional. This was never going to be Sam's best event, but she showed a marked improvement and finished in 14th place. There were some incredible skills on display during this workout, with a time of 1:47.9. 
Event 5, 1 rep max snatch, was also bound to be a tricky one for Sam, as she's battled with a nasty back injury throughout the year. Despite this, she still managed a 160lb snatch (72.5kg), finishing the day in 3rd place.

Day 3

Despite sitting comfortably in the top 3 throughout the first two days of the competition, Sam wasn't going to take any changes on day three. Thankfully, event six was in Sam's wheelhouse: five rounds for time of a 25 calorie row, 16 chest-to-bar pull ups, and 9 strict HSPUs.

The workout sat in Emily Bridger's wheelhouse too, so it was always going to be an exciting event. The lead went back and forth between them throughout the workout, with Sam making up time on the rowing and pull-ups, and Emily taking over on the HSPUs. In the end, Sam finished in 2nd place, with a time of 15:22.

Event 7, a muscle-up and clean ladder, was the final event of the weekend. With only five spots available at the CrossFit Games, everything rested on this workout. Sam had to perform well - would her back injury hold out on the heavy squat cleans? It was exciting and nerve-wracking for everyone watching the UK! Sam didn't disappoint, and finished the event in 5th place, leaving her with a 2nd place finish for the entire weekend - and that all-important spot at the CrossFit Games in July!

 

Whilst most of us were streaming the action live from the UK, Sam's long-time friend and regular on the Kitbox blog, Darren Freeman, was lucky enough to be there in person. Here's what he had to say:

"Having been to the European Regionals for the past 4 years, a trip across the Atlantic (with my buddy Ed Whieldon) - to watch Sam compete - was something I couldn't say no to! The venue was a lot smaller than the one in Copenhagen, but the atmosphere was unbelievable! Having been to the CrossFit Games twice, I can honestly say, with the new format of combining regions, that this is right up there! As the commentators keep saying: "they have created a mini games". 

The final heats of the individuals were like a who's who of the CrossFit Games: Ben Smith, Noah Olsen, Ez Muhammad, Emily Bridgers, Anna Tunnicliffe, Christy Adkins and our very own Sam Briggs. These guys did not disappoint, as the crowd were on their feet cheering every time their names were mentioned. My favourite highlight was the Briggs/Bridgers battle in event 6 with the lead going backward and forward for the whole 5 rounds. That alone was worth the trip over. 

I'm so happy for Sam, the way the crowd screamed every time her name was mentioned says it all about what these spectators think of her, even watching her fellow competitors congratulate her say it all..... Sam Briggs is back!!!"

I think Darren speaks for the whole of UK in congratulating Sam - her performance was amazing throughout the weekend, and she never gave up - even with a broken foot! Incredible. Wishing you a speedy recovery, Sam - we can't wait to see you compete in July!

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