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2012 Regional Preview: Australia

Published on Tue, 2012-01-24 15:04
By: 
Jesse Suna

 

The 2011 Games season was a successful one for the Australia region, and a great spectacle for the fans. With competitors like Amy Dracup, Chris Hogan, Steve Willis, and Sue Oakman, along with a host of new talent, the 2012 Games Season should be even better.

2011 Re-Cap

2011 Regional Standings

1. Pat Barber

1. Amy Dracup

2. Chris Hogan

2. Ruth Anderson Horrell

3. Rob Forte

3. Amanda Allen

2011 Games Standings

8. Pat Barber

11. Amy Dracup

17. Chris Hogan

19. Amanda Allen

30. Rob Forte

31. Ruth Anderson Horrell

With the vast geographical span of the Australia region and a limited number of sectionals in previous years, the Open seemed to be tailor made for Australia. It proved to be a great fit.

Rob Downton drew attention early, posting scores in the top 10 worldwide for the first two workouts, going on to finish 9th worldwide in the Open (the highest ranked Australian by some margin). While he surprised many by choosing to compete in the team competition at Regionals, the men’s field certainly didn’t lack for class.

The top three at the Regional all finished the Open in the top five. The missing two being Downton, who competed in the team competition, and Chad McKay, who was forced out of the Regional by injury. The remaining three finished Regionals in the order they finished the Open, a huge validation of the Open as a means of qualification.

As an honorary (if temporary) New Zealander, Pat “Manimal” Barber took out the Regional displaying impressive form. He went onto the Games as an experienced competitor and finished in 8th place. Being one of the great characters of the sport, he will be missed in Australia this year as he contests the Open from the NorCal Region. Even worse, he has taken fiancé, 2009 Australia Regional winner and 6th place Regional finisher in 2011, Tamaryn Venter, with him.

Hogan, a three-time CrossFit Games athlete and one of Australia’s most consistent competitors, came in a solid 2nd place at the Regional and finished a highly respectable 17th at the Games. Rob Forte also clinched a qualification spot and went on to take 30th in the world at the Games.

Leading the way for the women was Melbourne’s Amy Dracup. A great season saw her with the region’s best Open finish, a victory in the Regional, and her first Games qualification. Her hard work and consistent improvement earned Dracup an 11th place finish at the Games. This is merely a sign of things to come from Dracup.

Ruth Anderson Horrell continued her career as an elite CrossFitter by qualifying for her second CrossFit Games and securing 31st position.

Not many expected to see Amanda Allan with a huge lead after the swim and run in the first event at the Games. No one even saw her coming before the Regional. The 41-year-old former pro triathlete had finished the Open in 24th, but an impressive Regional performance saw her qualify and gave her the opportunity to excel in the opening Games event at Santa Monica Pier.

2012

Strong participation levels and a recent increase in CrossFit-style competitions reflect the region’s hunger for Games action. The local competitions have showcased some truly impressive new talent. Stefan Gehrig will test the incumbents for qualification and relative newcomer Natan Geva looks set to have an impact on the Open and Regionals.

Looking for an edge, proven games performers Chris Hogan and Rob Forte have both been very prominent on the local Olympic lifting competition scene. Downton will be a factor if he can overcome an injury. 2009 Games competitor Steve Willis has decided to compete again and will surely be a force.

In an unrelenting display of determination, Willis won the Australia Region in 2009 and clinched 4th at the Games in the same year. Willis is the owner of the region’s best Games result. His return to competition this year after a period of absence and injury has the fans salivating. More than just a great competitor, Willis is the most high profile CrossFit proponent in Australia and his presence in the Open and likely the Regional is great for fans and competitors alike.  

Dracup will look to continue her ascendancy, but it won’t be easy at the top. Allen’s focus on strength has obviously paid off with her taking out a local strong man competition in her hometown of Adelaide recently. Keep an eye out for up-and-comer Denae Brown. She achieved a top 10 finish at last year’s Regional and is preparing to do better in 2012 with some strong training and local competition results. 

Bring on the 2012 Games Season, this one is going to be a beauty. 

 

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