Lumbar curves are being maintained; athletes are asking coaches if they can add a few pounds to workouts; athletes are fighting for their first muscle-up. The 2012 CrossFit Games Open must be near.
As the competition pool grows each year, it becomes harder and harder to get to Regionals. Many are hoping for a chance to make it to the Home Depot Center.
The North East Region is stacked with elite athlete, but there are several dark horses who may surprise the standings. Let's see what they've been up to in their local boxes.
He worked at JP Morgan in finance, but soon realized the one thing getting him through his days was reading CrossFit Journal articles.
Chris Guerrero is the head trainer and owner of CrossFit Westchester and has been competing in CrossFit for two years. He had to pull out of Regionals in 2010 due to a back injury. In 2011, however, he placed 21st in the North East Regional. Guerrero considers himself a well-rounded athlete, but it was his lack of strength last year that netted him in 21st place. This year, he has remedied that by spending many months adding size and strength.
Guerrero is a numbers man. He worked at JP Morgan in finance, but soon realized the one thing getting him through his days was reading CrossFit Journal articles, not the latest numbers report. So, he did what every good CrossFitter does, and opened an affiliate. Guerrero grew up in Pleasantville, N.Y. He is working on his handstand push-ups and snatch technique, as those are his two weaknesses, in preparation for the Open. As for the Games, he hopes to see a pool event. He’s ready to take on any other man in an event that features the athlete who can tread water the longest. Maybe that is a metaphor for Guerrero’s outlook on his CrossFit career. He’s in it for the long haul.
Weight: 195 lb.
Cindy: 31 + 5
5k run: 19:07 (trail run)
Deadlift: 465 pounds
Press: 185 pounds
Overhead Squat: 245 pounds
Clean and Jerk: 265 pounds
Snatch: 195 pounds
Max Pull-ups: 55
James, 19, was the youngest competitor at the North East Regional in 2011.
At 6’2” and 220 pounds, Trevor James is, in his words, 'a pretty large person,' on the campus at the University of Vermont. James, 19, was the youngest competitor at the North East Regional in 2011.
In CrossFit circles, James is referred to as a 'beast.' This former soccer and lacrosse player uses his size to his advantage in CrossFit with Olympic lifts. The downside of his size is his gymnastics technique, which he has been working on since last year's Regional.
Being the youngest competitor last year was, according to James, a lot of pressure. This year, he knows he can compete with the best and is going to use that knowledge to his advantage mentally.
This college sophomore experiences anything but the normal college experience. James doesn't drink every weekend, doesn't sleep in, and has friends support him when he calls it a night. Somehow, while majoring in Exercise & Movement Science, he finds time to coach CrossFit and trains himself by following competitor programs from CrossFit New England and CrossFit Invictus.
CrossFit has brought his family together, as well. His mom and dad are divorced, but both came out to cheer him on in Regionals last year, and his mom has now taken up CrossFit and works out three to four days a week at CrossFit Shrewsbury.
So look for this “big man on campus” during the 2012 Open. He has plenty of time to leave his mark on this sport and if his dreams are any indication, then the sky is the limit for this teen.
5K(Beast of the East): 21:18
500m row: 1:24
Deadlift: 500 lb.
Back Squat: 425 pounds
Press: 155 pounds
Overhead Squat: 280 pounds (x3)
Clean and Jerk: 300 pounds
Snatch: 235 pounds
Max Muscle-ups: 7
“The thought of failure is what keeps us from accomplishing anything!”
You will be hard-pressed to meet a more positive CrossFit athlete than Jason Schroeder. Schroeder’s strength lies in his ability to recognize a negative moment or thought and let it pass without allowing it to bring himself down. His mantra is to live life to the fullest.
Schroeder, a New Jersey boy, stands tall at six foot, five inches. While he excels in rowing and loves a long chipper, pulls-ups and muscle-ups are not his friends. Schroeder placed 10th in Regionals in 2010 and 6th in 2011. His sights are set on qualifying for the Games this year and doing it representing his own box, Brazen Athletics. He opened his facility in June of last year in Fairfield, N.J., with the help of his wife, Kristy.
Schroeder, a self-described fish out of water, would love to see swimming make a return to this year’s Games. As a personal trainer most of his life, he is used to championing others to reach their full potential. This year, it’s all about reaching for his best, and he hopes his approach to life and workouts will help him do just that. The way he signs his emails speak volumes: “The thought of failure is what keeps us from accomplishing anything!”
Weight: 230 lb.
5k run: 19:30
400m run: 1:04
Deadlift: 500 pounds
Squat: 440 pounds
Press: 200 pounds
Overhead Squat: 305 pounds
Clean and Jerk: 315 pounds
Snatch: 195 pounds
Max pull-ups: 60
In Danielle Horan’s past life, she was a competitive equestrian hunter jumper.
We all have our before CrossFit stories. In Danielle Horan’s past life, she was a competitive equestrian hunter jumper. As a young CrossFitter, Danielle has found success, as well. She attacks workouts with precision and beastly strength—loving the opportunity to push herself farther than she has ever been before. Horan admits to struggling with the mental challenge that CrossFit provides, especially in public—a hurdle that she is working to overcome with her coach at Champlain Valley CrossFit, as she prepares for the Open.
Weight: 145 pounds
Deadlift: 305 pounds
Back Squat: 220 pounds
Shoulder Press: 115 pounds
Clean and Jerk: 173 pounds
Snatch: 133 pounds
In the past year, Mass has turned double-unders and muscle-ups from goats to simple movements.
Sara Hill Mass
Athletes at Collar City CrossFit in Troy, N.Y., know Sara Hill Mass as a great coach and a natural motivator. She is inspired by her brother, Jerry Hill, owner of CrossFit Oldtown in Alexandria, Va., and elite CrossFit athletes like badass Heather Bergeron. She chronicles her CrossFit life on her WOD blog, which she updates regularly with videos and great advice from a hard-working CrossFitter. In the past year, Mass has turned double-unders and muscle-ups from goats to simple movements. In 2011, she was 15th at the North East Regional and hopes to improve upon that rank in 2012.
Weight: 144 pounds
Squat: 210 pounds
Push: Jerk 165 pounds
Snatch: 125 pounds
Clean and Jerk: 155 pounds
Power Clean: 170 pounds
Ware says CrossFit’s “insane” workouts are the perfect way to train for the unknown and unknowable that comes with wearing a badge.
“Regularly learn and play new sports.” Some CrossFitters tend to forget these words from Greg Glassman’s "World-Class Fitness in 100 Words." Kristi Ware has not forgotten this though. This field hockey player from Egg Harbor Township, N.J., has served as a police officer for almost eight years. An avid CrossFitter and Games hopeful, Ware says CrossFit’s “insane” workouts are the perfect way to train for the unknown and unknowable that comes with wearing a badge. Her favorite movements are double-unders, power cleans, and kettlebell swings. In 2011, Ware placed 39th in the North East during the Open and 22nd at Regionals. She’s spent the “offseason” competing locally to prepare for another shot at the 2012 CrossFit Games.
Weight 138 lb.
Deadlift 245 lb.
Squat 170 lb.
Shoulder Press 90 lb.
Clean and Jerk 145 lb.
Snatch 95 lb.
“I know I'm ready to go when I'm about to cry. As soon as my eyes well up, all I see is the workout, all I hear is my own breathing.”
Nicknamed “Pistol” for her tendencies to set the tone at bursting speed during her workouts, Amy Mandelbaum is a name to watch out for this year in the Women’s Master’s 45-49 Division. Having competed for her affiliate two years running, BKAthletics in Fairfield, Conn., she has turned to individual competition for the first time. “I love the team aspect of competition, but this is my chance to see how I do on my own, against women my own age,” said Mandelbaum who finished 27th in the North East during the Open.
A mother of two, with a career of her own and a “paleo-friendly” baking business, she keeps busy and squeezes enough time for double sessions and weekend competitions. Her training the past six months has involved team competitions including Beast of the East (4th), Milford’s Garage Games (1st), and several individual “testing” sessions against other competitors at the affiliate.
Mandelbaum is a very well rounded athlete who seems destined to excel this year and certainly one to keep an eye on. “I’ll approach [the Open] with determination,” she says. “I know I'm ready to go when I'm about to cry. As soon as my eyes well up, all I see is the workout, all I hear is my own breathing.”
Deadlift: 275 pounds
Squat: 245 pounds
Clean & Jerk: 150 pounds
Snatch: 120 pounds
Overhead Squat: 140 pounds
She described herself as “star-struck and full of newbie jitters” upon arriving to the athlete’s reception and meeting some of her favorite athletes.
A former national team rower, Cindy Briggs is no stranger to high-level competitive athletics, but is a fresh face on the CrossFit scene. She started just 18 months ago. During last year’s Open competition, Briggs finished 10th in the world in the 45-50 age division and snagged a spot to the Games, to which she described herself as “star-struck and full of newbie jitters” upon arriving at the athlete’s reception and meeting some of her favorite athletes.
Briggs, 47, works out of a standard gym in Newington, Conn., where she also teaches BodyPump and Zumba classes, while getting her Open work done at local affiliates. She recently finished 1st at CrossFit Norwalk’s Christmas Throwdown and seems to be prepared for her second go-around at the Games.
When asked about her biggest takeaway over the past year, Briggs spoke about “not only hit workouts at 100 percent, but also having patience in letting strength, skill, and technique evolve with focused training and rest.” After an Olympic lifting focus where she entered local meets, Briggs looks to stand out once again from the region and has her eyes set on making the final cut.