“Slow is smooth, smooth is fast, that’s all I was thinking about. I kept the row at a 1:45 pace and ended up setting a PR.”
Blue skies and chilly temperatures greeted athletes and spectators alike, as Reebok Headquarters once again played host to the North East Regional.
The fittest athletes of the North East gathered, eager to compete in seven events throughout the weekend. The top three men, women and teams at the end of the 2013 North East Regional receive an invitation to California for the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games.
The first event of the weekend was a familiar one – the classic CrossFit benchmark Jackie. Both men and women used the same empty 45-lb. bar, allowing spectators to compare athletes’ performances across regions and genders.
Proficiency in pull-ups proved to be the deciding factor in the workout.
Kevin Montoya of CrossFit New England Team A blazed through 30 butterfly pull-ups in 32 seconds with effortless precision, guaranteeing a first-place finish for his team.
“My Jackie strategy is to not blow up on the rower so you don’t crash on the thrusters,” Montoya says. “This was our strength, but no matter how we had placed our team we would have done well.”
Pull-ups also proved to be a point of contention as two athletes poised to win their respective heats — Ian Berger of O-Side CrossFit and Daniel Tyminski of CrossFit Lindy — were penalized by their judges and lost the leads they built through the row and thrusters.
Sean McArdle, the last-ranked male competitor coming into the event, was off the rower with his fellow competitors, but slowed during the thrusters. He ended up completing the workout using strict chin-ups.
“I’ve been sick for the past four days, and I really can’t catch my gas,” he said, his breathing clearly congested. “The underhand grip just hurt less, it’s all I could really do.”
In true CrossFit fashion, McArdle’s competitors gathered around to cheer him through the last few reps right along with an energetic crowd.
The last heat for the men culminated with athletes finishing within seconds of each other, racing for a strong finish. Christian Harris edged out his competitors with an official time of 5:20, a 16-second PR.
“I just wanted to go out with an aggressive row and keep the pace from there,” Harris says. “This (event) was in my wheelhouse.”
Austin Malleolo finished the event 2 seconds behind Harris, with Tyminski and McGee less than a second after that at 5:22.6 each.
“Slow is smooth, smooth is fast, that’s all I was thinking about,” Malleolo says. “I kept the row at a 1:45 pace and ended up setting a PR.”
1. Christian Harris 5:20
2. Austin Malleolo and Eric Magee 5:22
Kaleena Ladeairous set a new World Record for Jackie, besting Sam Briggs’ previous record set at the Europe Regional by a mere second. Ladeairous also beat the times posted by seven of the individual men who performed this same event today. With her previous Jackie time of 6:16, she didn’t expect to do so well.
“I wasn’t expecting that. I knew I had to get ahead on the row and the thrusters since I’m not great at pull-ups,” Ladeairous says.” I broke the pull-ups into three sets and switched to a normal kip (from butterfly) around rep 24.”
Ladeairous’ girlfriend and training partner, Maria Vulcano, also qualified as an individual competitor and posted a Jackie time of 7:19, a 29-second PR.
“I will definitely be cheering on Kaleena,” Vulcano says. “We train together every day with programming from Jason Leydon. We do our own thing, but we do it together.”
In addition to competing on the CrossFit Milford team, Leydon is also coaching several individual competitors including Ladeairous, Vulcano, Marolda and Berger.
1. Kaleena Ladeairous 6:04
2. Danielle Horan 6:24
3. Jenny Davis 6:29
As teams took the field early this morning, the men tried to keep warm while cheering on their female counterparts, who began the workout first.
It once again came down to the pull-ups with the teams, with some struggling to find a rhythm. Megan May of CrossFit 5th Avenue got several unexpected “no-reps” on the thrusters.
“I was no-repped about five times on thrusters. That wasn’t in the plan. The pull-up bar was different than the ones we train with, so there wasn't really strategy there,” May says. “Breaking them up is just how it worked out.”
Team Dynamix had the day’s third-best time for teams despite a technical error with Kylee Claxton’s rower.
“As the clock was starting, 3-2-1, the rower screen went black,” Claxton says. “We got it restarted and I just pushed beyond belief, went unbroken on the pull-ups, and gave it 110 percent.”
Robert Santoro and Molly Abgarian of CrossFit King of Island Park had the day’s second-best time. They were also among the shortest competitors to take the field for the team Jackie.
“We’re both short, so rowing isn’t exactly our strong suit,” Abgrarian says. “We knew we’d have to make up ground on the pull-ups, so I came off the rower around fifth, but we both hit the pull-ups hard and ended up overtaking some teams there.”
1. CrossFit New England 12:23
2. CrossFit King of Island Park 12:27
3. Team Dynamix 12:33
This afternoon, athletes take the field back-to-back Events 2 and 3 — the Overhead Squat Complex and Burpee Muscle-ups.