Justin Allen let everyone know that last year's trip to the CrossFit Games was not a fluke by winning this year's Open in the North Central Region.
Still, Allen is not the type to let those accolades go to his head.
The competition was stacked at this year’s Regional, with the likes of former Games competitors Kyle Kasperbauer, Phillip Kniep and Brandon Pastorek all gearing up to knock Allen away from his podium spot.
Although Allen did not finish first in any of the Regional Events, he was consistent through the competition. All weekend, he stuck to the plan of landing score after score in the top 10. He started off with a solid third-place tie in Jackie. He remained consistent and sat in first place overall going into the final event.
But he couldn’t hang onto his lead. He was caught by Kasperbauer on the final day. Allen finished the final event with second-place finish in his heat. The crowd watched as others continued to race between rope climbs and squat cleans. When the clock stopped and the scores were calculated, Allen had landed in 10th place, his lowest of the Regional. The eight points that separated him and Kasperbauer were enough to bump Allen from the top spot.
Now, Allen is completely focused on emerging as a serious threat at the Games this month. Allen enlisted help this past winter from a longtime friend and coach, Dennis Berry from CrossFit Huntsville.
Both men feel like this might be the year for Allen to wear the coveted Proven shirt in Carson.
“Coach Berry is the most knowledgeable guy I have ever met,” Allen says. “He is not only great for preparing me physically, but also great at mentally preparing me. I am more prepared physically, mentally and emotionally than I have ever been, and this is greatly due to Coach Berry and all of his awesome qualities, knowledge and skills.”
Berry has a specific agenda to give Allen the best chance to peak and excel throughout the long gauntlet of the Games weekend.
“We have worked on replicating the week of the CrossFit Games. We realize this is very hard to do as Dave (Castro) is very good at changing things up and testing the athletes, but we believe hitting different WOD formats and putting in some unconventional training, we will be better prepared physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually,” Berry says.
To prepare for the unexpected elements, they are doing things like long runs, wearing a weight vest and carrying dumbbells, and “cleaning up and making Oly lifts more precise and efficient.”
Allen knows the level of competition compared to last year will be bigger, stronger and faster, but he trusts in his prep and the work he and Berry have done together to get him where he wants to go.
For Allen, this trip isn’t just about being there. He wants to bring home some hardware.
“I have put all of my trust in Coach Berry, in knowing that he will have me where I need to be at the right time. I just make sure I do what he tells me the best that I can and I have all the faith in the world in what he has me do.”