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Trading Basketball for Wall Balls: Jamie Hagiya

Published on Wed, 2013-03-27 09:49
By: 
Jaimie Bougie

"Landing that scholarship (to USC) meant a lot because I beat the odds of being short for the sport and also being Asian American, as there are very few playing at the collegiate and professional level," Hagiya says.

 

In SoCal, the reigning women in the CrossFit community are all known names. Jamie Hagiya is making a name for herself in the region. Hagiya, who currently sits sixth in SoCal, took 16th for 13.3. After placing 48th in last year’s Open, Hagiya earned a spot at the 2012 SoCal Regional but had to withdraw due to a torn hamstring. 

This year, she is healthy, dreaming big and ready to compete.
 
Last week, Hagiya was excited for the opportunity to retest last year’s 12.4, and her efforts to PR the workout didn’t disappoint. During 12.4, she landed her first and only muscle-up and tied for 91st in her region with a score 241. After nailing 256 reps for 13.3, she is pleased with her improvement.
 
“The wall balls and double-unders surprisingly weren't too bad,” Hagiya says. “I got 16 muscle-ups, and although I know I have a long way to go on my gymnastics work, I'll take it for now.”
 
Hagiya is no stranger to the competition world. At age 4, she joined the Japanese American Leagues in the Los Angeles area. As she grew up, she fell in love with basketball, and despite people saying she was too short and not good enough to play Division 1 college ball, she worked her butt off and played at USC on a full scholarship before moving overseas to play professionally.
 
“Landing that scholarship meant a lot because I beat the odds of being short for the sport and also being Asian American, as there are very few playing at the collegiate or professional level,” Hagiya says. “This is why I tell all the kids I coach and train, ‘Dream big, work hard and believe in yourself. With those three things, anything is possible.’”
 
Hagiya finds inspiration in her family’s heritage and through the struggles that her grandparents’ generation faced during WWII. During that era, many Japanese Americans were forced into internment camps, and these groups founded the original Japanese/Asian American basketball leagues.
 
“Everyone from that generation is such an inspiration to me,” Hagiya says.
 
Hagiya has always found her height and ethnicity to be a challenge for her during her career as a basketball player, but has discovered acceptance of her diversity in the CrossFit community. What was once viewed as a limiting factor for her in basketball has now empowered her.
 
“That's why I love CrossFit so much,” Hagiya says. “It has nothing to do with anything other than desire, dedication, discipline, hard work and a lot of heart. Growing up, I had such a negative view on my body because I didn't have the pin thin model look and I was always bigger, stronger and stockier than most of my female peers. CrossFit has made me more comfortable in my own skin knowing that the sport embraces strong, beautiful and fit women. It's very empowering, and I finally feel like I’ve found a sport that is perfect for me.”
 
Open Workout 13.2 has proven to be Hagiya’s best performance so far this season. After scoring 381 reps, Hagiya took first in the SoCal Region and seventh in the world for the workout.
 
“All three movements were right in my wheelhouse. I love box jumps, and the push press and deadlifts were light enough to keep moving. It turned out to be more of an endurance and cardio test than anything.”
 
For Open Workout 13.1, Hagiya went with a solid pace on the burpees, but had to slow down during the snatches. Her 190 reps for 13.1 took 20th place in SoCal.
 
“For the burpees, I went at a solid pace,” she says. “But the snatches started getting hard around the end of the 75 lb. and definitely in the 100s. I finished the last 10 burpees and didn't have enough time to change out my weights for the 120, but I was satisfied with what I did, and only did it once.”
 
Hagiya joined LAX CrossFit in October 2011 to help her prepare for a WNBA try out. She had only been CrossFitting for a couple of months when she qualified for the SoCal Regional in 2012. 
 
She also qualified for the OC Throwdown this year.
 
“Making it to the OC Throwdown was eye opening knowing that I could compete with some of these big time girls. So, I decided to take my training a lot more serious about six months ago and am ready to make a push and good showing at Regionals,” she says.
 
Hagiya is excited to see what she can do this season and has made it her goal to make it to the 2013 SoCal Regional.
 
“I know our region for women is insanely competitive, but I'm going to stay focused on just doing my best,” she says. “Would love to finish in the top 10 and make the Games one day.”

 

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