Since the first combine last January on the west coast there have been many changes. First, Spartan picked up a new pro team member who shined greatly and has a fantastic athletic resume, Kate Ripple Cramer. Also, the skill sets, scoring, and improvements. The east coast combine lasted two days with the long run being held on day one. The 40 yard dash had laser timing. There was a 2 minute atlas carry, and at the end of day two, they included a 10 burpee, 200 meter hill sprint.
Will the combine continue to grow and change? Yes. Joe Di Stefano has already noted the new changes to be made. “At the next combine we will marry the last two scoring systems a bit closer, ensuring certain events critical to race performance will be weighted heavier than others while still allowing for a “comeback-friendly” environment.”
Joe Di Stefano, the creator of Spartan Group X, developed the combine to help carry the sport of obstacle racing in its continued path towards legitimacy. “The best way to drive this sport to legitimacy and someday the Olympics is by developing the athletes in it. The combine gives us:
- An event where the athletes get a benchmark to go from, side by side from their competition.
- An event sponsors can “window shop” athletes and watch them in the events and athleticisms that are specific to their niche products.
- A low barrier to entry, exciting event for athletes to “window shop” the sport.
Put all those together and we have a fresh out of school Division I athletes not only only the radar, but flying around the country competing soon after. Cramer’s law – show up and impress us, you never know what might happen.”
There were three female athletes who made it to the Spartan East Coast Combine with hopes of claiming the hammer, Orla Walsh, Kate Ripple Cramer and newcomer Kelly Sullivan. Kelly was a softball player growing up and played Division II softball in college and continued to play for a couple years after graduation. Since then she has competed in two marathons and has found a love for Crossfit.
Orla and Kate coming into the second combine had an upperhand in the event due to their previous experience. They knew how challenging all events were going to be on their bodies and how to push themselves and where. With this event, if you know your strengths, you have to maximize on it to get higher points.
Kate and Orla commanded the event throughout both days, but that didn’t stop Kelly from challenging the pros. Kate stated, “Kelly put me on my toes in the spear throw on her third and final chance attempt when she nailed 3 ½ seconds faster than me. I had to use my one chance early on and thankfully came away with 4 nailed spears.” The athletes are able to use a chance when competing. It eliminates their previous score and they must use the chance score, which is hopefully an improvement. It’s a gamble.
Despite Kelly’s efforts to break the bond between the two professionals Kate and Orla took home the hammers with a tie. Early on, Orla and Kate decided to push each other by trying to beat one another at each event. If Kate got a high score Orla went all out to beat her time. Kelly beat Cramer in the barb crawl with a better time, but it just wasn’t enough. With two powerhouses like Orla and Cramer pairing up and challenging one another that wall is just too thick to smash through. Orla stated, “Kelly was fearless. I think if she gets some technique down she will be dangerous.”
The West Coast and East Coast Combine for 2015 are in the books. Who will come out to play in 2016?