More than a month before the North East Regional, David Plumey made a prediction.
“In looking at the Regionals WODs, I think young Meg is gonna do well … really well … like top 10!” he wrote in an email. “She's got so much heart and these workouts favor her.”
He turned out to be exactly right.
Megin Oczkowski, of Plumey’s Shoreline CrossFit in Connecticut, finished the three-day competition at No. 10.
“Actually my goal was to be top 10,” Oczkowski says. “It kind of turned out how I was hoping it would.”
And she’s only 18.
“In two years, she’s gonna be a grown woman,” Plumey said at the Regional at the end of Day 3. “This is all gravy, man. I can see her top 5 in two years.”
Oczkowski, who will be 19 on June 8, also is looking into the future. She, however, is focused on a year from now.
“It just made me feel (that) this is really what I want to do,” says the exercise science major at Southern Connecticut State University.
Going into the competition, Oczkowski asked herself two questions: “Can my body handle this? Can I compete with these women?”
“This weekend proved that I could. It kind of made me more hungry,” she says. “I think I want to go as an individual again. I definitely liked it.”
Still, Oczkowski was nervous before the opening workout.
“At first it was really intimidating, especially when you see Games athletes like Stacey Kroon and Jenny Davis,” she says.
But after hanging out with them in the athlete tent, Oczkowski says her nerves subsided because she realized, “Oh, they’re human, too.”
Training for the 2013 Regional started three days after this year’s event ended.
The regimen mostly will mirror last year’s routine: Oczkowski will participate in regular CrossFit classes “to keep it fun” and work on weaknesses, which include bodyweight movements, says her coach, Carl Chu. Then, about two months before next year’s Regional, the programming will become more specific: two to three workouts a day that include a strength component and longer met-cons that keep her in an aerobic state, he adds.
Because of an injury Oczkowski suffered in July 2010, things like running and box jumps didn’t come easily at the Regional. The former gymnast tore her Achilles tendon. For four weeks, the teenager was in a cast that covered her calf. Oczkowski was in a wedged boot for about two months afterward.
However, that injury gave her time to build up her upper-body strength, which proved to be useful on Day 2 of the Regional.
“Her shoulder-to-overhead in WOD 4 … kept her in the game,” Chu says.
Oczkowski, who is 5-foot-2 and 150 pounds, has a 205-pound jerk.
“Being her coach, I was really, really proud of where she had come from,” Chu says.
With roughly 1,300 North East women competing in the Open, Oczkowski’s finish is “a huge accomplishment,” he adds.
“She’s got nowhere to go but up from here,” Chu continues. “I do believe we will continue to see her name.”
As for predictions for next year, he says the only expectation is to continue to train and take one thing at a time.
“The end-all be-all goal is to get to Cali — that’s not going to change,” Chu says. “We definitely will not take that lightly. We understand the level of competition out there.”