"We've all been training together since the winter, and this squad is just as capable as last year's," Hobart says.
CrossFit New England is looking to make history at the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games by becoming the first team to win back-to-back Affiliate Cups.
Half of the team’s roster is new this year. Still, team members are confident they will be able to repeat their performance despite a different lineup.
Ben Bergeron, affiliate co-owner and the team’s head coach, trains a team of 10 to 12 athletes throughout the year, with the top six athletes being chosen to compete.
“It’s not super different for us,” says James Hobart, who was also on last year’s team. “We’ve all been training together since the winter, and this squad is just as capable as last year’s. The only thing is that they went into Regionals without having Games experience.”
In 2011, team member Mel Ockerby competed in the North East Regional as an individual. After finishing fourth, she joined the team. Ockerby proved indispensable in the team’s quest for the Affiliate Cup. This year, she decided to compete with the team at Regionals.
“Every year the competition gets harder and the competitors get stronger. But this year was a huge jump, with so many individual competitors going team,” Bergeron says. “A lot of teams are going to be better after Regionals, but we can’t think about that. We need to just worry about us and keep training.”
Team members train together five times a week, sometimes doing two workouts a day and performing team workouts at least three times a week. Strength, skills, endurance and goats are all being addressed equally. The goal is to improve every aspect of their game.
Each Saturday, the team trains with the region’s second placed team, CrossFit Southie. They are hoping the game-day feel of competing against another California-bound team will further improve performance.
CrossFit New England is also focusing on communication, working on transitions and understanding how each teammate deals with pressure.
At the first Regional event, a team Diane, CrossFit New England was on pace not only to take first place in the event, but to break a world record. On the last set of deadlifts, however, the bumper plates started to slide, making the movement difficult for Ockerby and new team member Allyson Bushey.
“When things start going wrong in competition and you start getting no-repped, you have a choice,” Hobart says. “You can either try to make things better for the judge or you can stop and ask the judge what the issue is. We chose to try and make things better, and that was probably a mistake.”
The team learned from the experience and now knows how to react should a similar situation arise at the Games. What the team does not know, however, is what to expect as far as the workouts themselves are concerned.
“I have a list of about 15 things that don’t normally show up in CrossFit, but that I think could come up at the Games,” Bergeron says. “We are making sure we work on all of them — not to the point that it detracts from the actual training, but we are definitely becoming familiar with them.”
Among those is archery and running in the snow.
Before the Regional, the team was performing a Regional workout at least three times a week. Now, it’s back to Bergeron’s programming.
“For us, it’s about what we can control, which is the training,” he says. “We can’t really worry about anything else.”