Scott Taulman thought he should have done much better when he placed 18th in the Masters Competition put on by Hoosier CrossFit in Bloomington four years ago.
The Columbus chiropractor thought he was in good enough shape when he decided to enter but hadn’t given much thought to the difficulties in technique for the various CrossFit exercises. Double-unders, a jump rope exercise where the rope must go under a competitor’s feet twice in a single jump, were his weakness.
Luckily for Taulman, double-unders were not a part of this year’s competition. The 50-year-old Columbus resident won the men’s 50- to 59-year-old division last month in only his second competition and his first since 2013.
“Knowing that I should have, could have done better, and I didn’t get a chance to go back, had been eating away at me,” Taulman said. “I was pumped up (going into this year). I had built that up for four years, and I knew that I would be the youngest in the age group. I refined all my techniques the best I could, so I worked hard. I didn’t know I would get first, but I felt like I would be in one of the top two positions.”
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Participants compete in five different events, and those change from year to year. Officials choose from more than 50 events, and the athletes don’t know which ones are chosen until it’s time to compete.
This year’s competition started with an amrap, where an athlete has to repeat a single exercise as many times as they can within 20 minutes. This year, the competitors had to complete one burpee before jumping over a 20-inch box 15 times and running 600 meters.
Taulman said this year’s set of events just suited him better. During the fourth exercise, the athletes had to do as many pull-ups as they could without stopping. He did well in that event, but was still in second place going into the final stage.
The fifth task consisted of three different exercises in one, and Taulman won that event by almost 30 seconds, giving him enough points to be crowned the overall winner.
Sixty-three-year-old Paul Holtkamp won first place in the 60-and-over division. He began doing CrossFit in 2013, and this is his third year competing in the Masters. Although he won first place, Holtkamp is less concerned about the competitive aspect and more appreciative of the fact that he is still able to be active and connect with other people in the process.
“I do not think of this placement as something I earned, but as a gift to be able to participate” Holtkamp said. “I’m happy to be able to get up and go there. It was just fun.”
Angie May and Rusty Richards also competed. May placed second in the women’s 50-59 division, while Richards placed fifth in the same age group for the men.
All four athletes work out together at CrossFit Ripcord on 12th street. May, who won last year’s competition, missed first place by just one point this year.
“I’m happy I did as well as I did, but it was kind of a bummer to lose by one point out of over 300 points,” she said. “But I was happy to do it and have a fun time with your friends.”
May has been doing CrossFit for more than five years now after she was unable to complete a full push-up or pull-up. The 52-year-old has come a long way from not being able to participate in all the events in her first CrossFit competition to getting first- and second-place finishes in her age group.
“I think it’s pretty much a miracle that I can do some of the things I can do now,” May said. “It feels good. I’m in better shape now than I’ve ever been in my entire life.”
Both May and Holtkamp are sure they will be in another competition, but that verdict is still up in the air for Taulman, who said he will wait and see how things go next year.
Competition: CrossFit Masters competition hosted by Bloomington’s Hoosier CrossFit
First-place finishes: Dr. Scott Taulman (ages 50-59); Paul Holtkamp (ages 60 and over)
Other local finishers: Angie May, second (50-59); Rusty Richards, fifth (50-59).
Home gym: CrossFit Ripcord