Talayna Fortunato doesn’t plan to repeat what happened at the 2011 South East Regional: a 4th place finish and a trip to California, as a spectator.
The 31-year-old said she mourned when her collegiate gymnastics career was over, moving on to the heptathlon and pole vault. She tried CrossFit at the suggestion of a friend, with her first workout being “Angie.” “I did it with a band in 11-something and ended up straining both of my biceps tendons,” Fortunato says. “My arms swelled up and looked all fat, but I was hooked.” She finished 4th at last year’s Regional. “From then, I knew my goal was to be good at this sport,” she said. “Last year I was very close to the Games and this year I plan on going!”
Fortunato works in outpatient orthopedics at Elite Physical Therapy, a name she said suited her quite well.
Fun fact: The Tennessee native who likes country music also made it through an audition as a candidate for Cirque du Soleil.
Weight: 147 pounds
Real Fitness in Naples, Fla.
Cindy: 27 rounds
400M sprint: 1:10
Back Squat: 270 pounds Clean: 200 pounds
Clean and Jerk: 200 pounds Snatch: 170 pounds
Emily Bridgers was a member of the University of Georgia gymnastics team that won the 2006 NCAA Championship, so she knows what it takes to be the elite in a given sport. Even after having to end her gymnastics career early due to a compression fracture in her back, she’s found her way back to the elite in a new sport.
Bridgers started CrossFit in June 2010 without expectations. “Just looking to switch up the workout routine as I had been working out my entire life and felt super burned out,” she says. “I immediately became addicted and realized that I could have the opportunity to add competition back into my life.”
She finished 4th in the 2011 Open and 9th in the South East Regional. Aside from that, the only competitions she’s competed in are the Garage Games 'Survival of the Fittest' and 'X's and Y's,' where she placed1st with partner Simon Nickerson.
Bridgers says she took it somewhat easy all summer, but still did WODs five or six days per week, and then increased focus on strength training in the fall. She overcame a minor wrist injury late last year, but started hitting it hard in November, and she’s ready for competition season.
Fun fact: Said she’s “somewhat obsessed with Chipotle” and enjoys lifting to country music.
Weight: 135 pounds
Athlete and coach at CrossFit Decatur in Ga.
Fight Gone Bad: 394
Back Squat: 235 pounds
Clean: 170 pounds
Snatch: 135 pounds
Shoulder Press 130 pounds
Sarabeth Phillips traveled the world to train for gymnastics, a sport she immersed herself in for 10 years. She then trained to become a cheerleader for the National Champion squad at the University of Alabama, but when that didn’t work out as planned, she fell into what many athletes do after leaving a career in a sport they love: a routine of cardio and lifting weights every day. “So boring,” Phillips says.
She found CrossFit in 2008 with her now husband. She finished 5th at the 2011 Regional and has been attacking weaknesses ever since.
“I train with only guys because there are no girls in the area that try to compete at the Games level,” Phillips says. “I have been to a lot of competitions in the past year, because exposing yourself to different competition settings all the time is only beneficial, I think.”
Phillips comes from a family immersed in the medical field. After graduating with a B.S. in biochemistry, she is now in nursing school.
Fun fact: Her husband is a police officer for Tuscaloosa Police Department and owns a bar in Tuscaloosa called 1831. She also said she loves to be “super goofy” at the gym, doing “weird and spastic dance moves with my training buddies to christian rap music!”
Weight: 125 pounds
CrossFit Tuscaloosa, athlete and coach
Cindy: 26 rounds
Fight Gone Bad: 243 (20-pound medicine ball)
Deadlift: 300 pounds
Clean: 180 pounds
Snatch: 140 pounds
Scouting report SE Region -- Men
AJ Moore did well at the Mid Atlantic Regional in 2011, placing 1st, 2nd, 2nd, 30th, 2nd, and 6th in the six events. And now he’s moved to the South East and is looking for a trip to the Games.
He knows discipline, having wrestled in Pennsylvania from age 5 to 18, and having served in the military from 2004 to 2008. He started CrossFit with a friend while deployed to Iraq.
Fun fact: “I can braid my chest hair,” Moore said.
Weight: 170 pounds
CrossFit Delray Beach, athlete and coach
400 meter run: 0:55
Back Squat: 415 pounds
Clean: 319 pounds
Snatch: 245 pounds from hang
Chris Harris is big, strong and fast ... and a dark horse worth paying attention to for the 2012 Games season. After a strong showing in team competition with World Camp CrossFit in 2011 (18th at the Games), he’s ready to go for the podium as an individual.
The former college baseball player said he’s training weaknesses with skill work and having fun with the Olympic lifts.
His CrossFit journey started over a slice of pizza at a local bar, where he bumped into Kris Morrill, his current coach. “I went in two days later and here we are.” Harris says.
Fun fact: Says he’s an “awesome” bowler.
Weight: 210 pounds
World Camp CrossFit, athlete and coach
Cindy: 27 rounds
Fight Gone Bad: 407
Deadlift: 600 pounds
Back Squat: 407 pounds
Clean: 380 pounds
Snatch: 265 pounds