Last year’s nail-biting race for the four individual qualification spots available to the Canada West Region just got tighter. Though all three divisions had clear and away victors, the second spot of qualification was up for grabs to more than a few contenders in both of the individual competitions. Will 2012 produce a repeat of last year’s British Columbia Sweep of berths to the CrossFit Games? Or will there be some surprises coming from other boxes this year?
The 10th fittest woman in the world, Angie Pye of CrossFit Taranis, looks poised to continue to dominate the field in Canada West. Recently, Pye beat three 2011 CrossFit Games competitors and four top athletes from the 2011 Canada West Regional to take first place at the Taranis Winter Challenge.
Alicia Connors, the 2010 Canada Regional champion and two-time CrossFit Games competitor, has stayed out of the spotlight. Some are wondering, has Connors done enough during the offseason to keep herself separated from the pack and earn a third trip to the Games?
It’ll certainly be a tough season. The field is growing and the challengers hold formidable stats. Get to know a few of the women who may be at the top of Leaderboard in the Open and could challenge Connors and Pye for the two berths to the Games.
This CrossFit Lethbridge athlete took bronze at the 2011 Canada West Regional, earning a spot on the podium alongside, but just missing a bid to the Games. Jones remained in contention up until the final workout. When the weekend was done, she finished six points behind Connors.
Many Canada West coaches and athletes believe Jones is the woman to watch this year. Her 150-pound snatch, 185-pound overhead squat, 325-pound deadlift, and blazingly fast 2:10 “Fran” give us a little insight as to why.
Check out her hitting a relatively slow 2:27 “Fran” here.
Snatch: 150 pounds
Overhead squat: 185 pounds
Deadlift: 325 pounds
Firefighter Chelsea Miller of CrossFit Calgary followed just behind Pye and Connors at the 2011 Taranis Winter Challenge, taking 3rd, thereby solidifying her position as a potential challenger in 2012.
Add that to her always lengthening list of accomplishments: 1st at the 2010 Central Canadian Sectionals, 8th at the 2010 Canada Regional, 3rd in Canada West in the 2011 CrossFit Games Open, and 4th at the 2011 Canada West Regional. Since then she has been tearing up the local competitions, winning the CrossFit Subzero Throwdown and taking 2nd in the CrossFit Ladies of Canada Throwdown. Toss a 2:31 “Grace” into the mix and it becomes pretty hard to not get excited about watching her in the Open.
Weight: 141 pounds
Filthy Fifty: 19:54
Snatch: 127 pounds
Deadlift: 265 pounds
Will Emily Beers re-emerge as a top individual competitor in 2012? It’s clear the former gymnast and collegiate rower with a 200-pound clean is looking to make a serious mark on the competition.
Last year, Beers was taken out of contention for an individual berth to the Games after rupturing her Achilles during the offseason. Remarkably, Beers was able to recover and join CrossFit Vancouver at the 2011 CrossFit Games Affiliate Cup. CrossFit Vancouver went on to finish midway through the pack, earning 19th place out of 43 of the world’s fittest teams.
Beers has a history of beating some of the best competitors in Canada West. In 2010, Beers edged out Connors to take first place at the 2010 British Columbia Sectionals.
There are just two berths to the Games, but at least eight contenders in Canada West.
The “Teen Wolf” Lucas Parker of CrossFit Zone finished first quite handedly at the 2011 Canada West Regional, taking first place with an 11 point margin over second place finisher Jeremy Meredith. Parker went on to take 26th place at the 2011 CrossFit Games. He seems determined to lead Canada West and return to the Games. Parker recently nailed a 275-pound snatch and clean and jerked 323 pounds.
The competition was tight between the 2nd to 5th place finishers at the Regional. Jeremy Meredith, Tyson Takasaki, Steve Howell, and Joey Lutz ended the weekend separated by just four points. The rankings could easily change in 2012.
Here are a few athletes to watch in the Open.
Tyson Takasaki of CrossFit Taranis missed a qualifying spot by a single point last year, though was able to turn negative into positive in becoming a member of Team Taranis’ bronze medal CrossFit Games run in July. The star receiver for the University of Manitoba Bisons is making a big push for the Games.
Takasaki has hit remarkable PRs despite only CrossFitting eight months of the year. His recent win of the local FrostFit competition in Manitoba suggests his mind is on CrossFit and he wants to win.
Overhead Squat: 300 pounds
Clean and Jerk: 300 pounds
Snatch: 250 pounds
Steve Howell, at 5’11” from CrossFit Whistler has been on a mission since missing out on qualifying for the Games in 2011 due to a misstep on his 215-pound thruster.
During this offseason, Howell has armed himself with an individual program from CJ Martin. He details every aspect of his training on his “Quest for the Games” blog.
Howell has some impressive CrossFit stats that make this writer think that he has a chance this year.
Filthy 50: 14:20
Sprint (400m): 1:02
Run (5K): 21:10
If you thought this star-studded crew was enough – things just got real interesting. New to our region for 2012 is 34 year old Jason Cain, owner of Reebok CrossFit 306 in Saskatoon. Jason finished third in last years open and first in the 2011 Canada East Regionals, going on to 38th at the CrossFit Games. Jason is confident in his abilities and expects to do very well here in Canada West. “Regardless of what region you’re in, it gets exponentially harder (to qualify for the Games) each year,” says Cain.
Will his new venture and athletes in Saskatoon inspire him to greatness this year? He has some impressive stats that say the Canada West Regional crown is within his grasp.
Sprint (400m): 0:58
Snatch: 198 lbs
Deadlift: 485 lbs
Seems Joey Lutz of Lethbridge, Alberta has been training hard during the offseason. He just edged out the competition to win the Western Classic held February 3 at CrossFit Ramsay. The competition was stacked with some impressive athletes and Lutz showed them all that he is ready for the Open. Last year was his first year competing and he managed an impressive 17th in the Open and 5th in the Canada West Regional.
Height: 5' 9"
Weight: 190 pounds
Squat: 405 pounds
Clean: 275 pounds
Snatch: 195 pounds
Deadlift: 520 pounds
Broze medalists in the Affiliate Cup at the Home Depot Center, Team Taranis of Victoria, BC looks to replicate its Regional performance from 2011, which was nothing short of dominant and even more remarkable when you take into the account that its top five athletes all competed in the individual competition and all finished in the top 10 of their respective groups. To this point we haven’t seen any affiliates emerge over the past year that could join the usual suspects of CrossFit Vancouver, CrossFit Calgary, CrossFit Regina, CrossFit Lions. Teams all over the Western Canadian Region are training hard and it’s possible that we will see some impressive performances from an unknown team.