Veteran regional competitor Neil Scholtz will not qualify for regionals after not submitting a score for Open Workout 14.3.
Scholtz developed an upper respiratory infection on the Wednesday before 14.3 was announced. His condition had not improved by that Friday and he was prescribed a course of antibiotics. Scholtz said by Monday—his last opportunity to do the workout—he felt far from 100 percent. Being a numbers man, he did the calculations and chose not to do the workout.
“I looked at all the options before making the decision (not to submit a score),” Scholtz said. “I had a look at where the 60th person finished on the Leaderboard last year in Africa, and then took into account the larger field this year, and calculated that I had about 400 points that I could afford to lose over the final three workouts.”
“Even if I were to finish 400th on 14.3, I’d had to have finished in the top 10 in the last two workouts and have completed 112 reps on 14.3,” he continued. “Given the way that I was feeling, I doubt whether I would have made it close to that.”
It’s a tough break for Scholtz who has battled with ill health at previous regional competitions. In 2011, he suffered a throat infection two weeks before the Africa Regional and at the 2012 Africa Regional, while in second place overall after Event 5, he had to withdraw from the final event due to another throat infection.
“I am prone to throat and ear infections, especially at the change of seasons,” Scholtz said. “I’ve had this since I was young. It is just one of those things that I work with and around.”
Scholtz is known for his coolness on the competition floor. That attitude is apparent as he conveys his feelings about not qualifying for regionals this year.
“Whether I compete or not does not make me more or less of an athlete, and I don’t need a competition to validate that for me,” he said. “I know what I can do and how I’ve improved over time. In saying that, competitions do give me an opportunity to measure my programming ability, and then, on the day, to properly strategize. Now that I know I will not be competing this year, it gives me more time to prepare for next year.”
Without regionals to prepare for, Scholtz is refocusing on his pre-Open training and competition goals.
“I’d like to achieve my goal of a two-and-a-half times body-weight back squat and two times body-weight front squat,” he said. “I will also attempt to qualify for the National 100 Percent RAW Powerlifting Championship and National (Olympic) Weightlifting Championship later this year.”
He added: “Other than that, just a consistent overall improvement in strength and fitness leading into next year’s competition season.”
Having placed fourth and second at the 2011 and 2013 Africa Regional, respectively, Scholtz’s absence at this year’s regional will be notable. Barring injury or illness, Scholtz plans to be back in 2015, fitter than ever.