Athlete Journal: Travis Holley, Entry 5 – 5/2/12

Travis’ team earned a spot to the CrossFit Games, but it wasn’t easy and they nearly didn’t make it. Read his journal to experience the comeback story that was CrossFit Central!

Schedule of CrossFit Athlete Journals:

Mondays – Ingrid Kantola

Wednesdays – Travis Holley

Sundays – Michael Winchester

Travis Holley – Athlete Journal 5/2/12

(Read Travis’s Bio here)

For my fifth entry in the athlete journal I wanted to share with you a magnificent moment that occurred this past weekend while at the CrossFit South Central Regional competition. Let me first give you a quick run-down of how we got to this point so you understand the magnitude of the moment.

After day one of the three-day competition, CrossFit Central was sitting pretty in first place! We had two second place finishes that had us on top of the leaderboard. Needless to say, this was a great way to start the weekend and we were feeling great about the day’s workouts and each individual’s efforts.

Unfortunately, day two did not start with the same bang that day one finished with. The third workout required one man and one woman to snatch a 100lb and 70lb dumbbell, respectively. This is no easy task, but Jeremy Thiel was a straight powerhouse and threw the 100-pounder around like a toy. Our female athlete, Jessica Stephen on the other hand, had a more difficult time. Jessica had injured her back the week prior to the competition and had not had much time with the 70-pounder, which only compounded her self-doubt of whether or not she would be able to make it through the grueling workout without re-injuring her back. Although, she had a difficult time, I was truly impressed with her resolve during the workout. Jessica just kept at it and, as a team, Jeremy and Jess finished the workout in 11:38, good enough for a 13th place finish that ultimately placed us in third going in to the fourth and final workout of that day.

This time, Michael Winchester, Carey Kepler, Jessica Estrada, and I would all be throwing down. Workout four was as follows:

For time:

  • 75 Back squats (95 lbs)
  • 50 Pull-ups
  • 25 Shoulder-to-overhead (95 lbs)
  • 75 Front squats (65 lbs)
  • 50 Pull-ups
  • 25 Shoulder-to-overhead (65 lbs)
  • 75 Overhead squats (45 lbs)
  • 50 Pull-ups
  • 25 Shoulder-to-overhead (45 lbs)


  • 75 Back squats (135 lbs)
  • 50 Pull-ups
  • 25 Shoulder-to-overhead (135 lbs)
  • 75 Front squats (85 lbs)
  • 50 Pull-ups
  • 25 Shoulder-to-overhead (85 lbs)
  • 75 Overhead squats (65 lbs)
  • 50 Pull-ups
  • 25 Shoulder to overhead (65 lbs)

The ladies smashed this workout and had us in a strong lead as we (the men) started our share of the work. Michael and I were moving well, but it soon became apparent the second place team, CrossFit Dallas Central, was right on our heels and were gaining speed. As we neared the end of the workout and the 25-minute time cap, DC was even with us and had actually gained a very slight lead…and this is where the controversy begins.

DC had finished their last set of overhead squats and made their way to the pull up bar, but just as they were about to begin the first pull up, the time had expired. This call of “TIME” should have ceased all work, but the DC men, as well as the judge for their team must not have heard. The judge allowed them to get two pull ups before finally stopping them. When all was said and done, team DC finished the workout with two more reps than we did, giving them a first place finish in that workout as well, furthering the gap between them and all other teams. By the end of day two CrossFit Central was still in third place.

The third and final day of competition presented us some challenges. The CC team was not the strongest team out there in regards to our ability to barbell snatch heavy loads. As it so happens, the fifth workout was a team snatch ladder. The score for this workout was the team’s total amount of weight successfully lifted. The ladies and myself did not perform as well as expected, which only made things more difficult, but Michael set a new all time PR of 195lbs and Jeremy matched his all time PR of 235lbs. Their outstanding efforts, in addition to the lifts of the three ladies and myself, placed us in a tie for fourth place! Now, it’s important that you understand that only the top three teams earn a spot to the 2012 CrossFit Games, so we had some serious work to do!

Feeling demoralized, I was having a difficult time accepting the fact I had performed so poorly in workout five. I honestly felt responsible for the situation we were in. As I struggled to break out of my funk, one of my athletes who was there to watch came down and said something I will never forget.

He said, “That workout is over. You now have an opportunity to make shit happen. Make shit happen!”

That was just what I needed to hear. I was still doubting myself, but I also knew I was going to give everything I f*cking had to do get our team to that third place position, and a ticket to the Games. I was willing to die to make that happen.

Before heading out on the workout floor for the last time, the team met and made an ultimatum: first place in this final workout is a MUST! We had no other option! The energy between the four of us was indescribable. We had a mission, and no one was stopping us – AND NO ONE DID! We finished that final workout with a world record time of 15:02. Nearly two minutes ahead of any other team out there. With that first place finish, we knew that we were going to the GAMES!!!

Here’s the clip of the end of the final workout and the resulting celebration:

Now I’m sure that you can tell we were excited, but the energy we felt in that four-person hug was electric! I have never felt that much passion and power before. To be honest, I nearly broke down. I was choking back tears for the next fifteen minutes. We had down something amazing. Through the ups and downs, we had made it because each person on the team was willing to work harder for the person next to them than they had ever worked before. This is why I committed myself to the team long before the Open began. I chose team for that feeling and to give everything I had as an athlete to a common goal. It was an absolutely amazing experience!

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