"We're a big team and a big family of athletes. We're lucky to have such a big group of people who can come together, be competitive and be really good friends. I just can't stress enough how proud we are of everyone."
At the beginning of the 2012 CrossFit Games Open, CrossFit Dallas Central had a motto, “One team, one dream.” Going into the South Central Regional, though, that motto has been upgraded to read “Two teams, one dream.”
CrossFit Dallas Central is one of two affiliates in the South Central Region to successfully qualify two teams for Regionals. The affiliate’s success, however, did not come as a surprise to their coaches.
“When the Open started, I believe it was Dave Castro talking about the new rules for each gym and qualifying teams. With that information, we knew he didn’t think any gym could qualify two teams for Regionals, so that became our first goal,” Chase Ingraham says.
Ingraham, also known as Captain America in the CrossFit circuit, or coach to CrossFit Dallas Central members, announced earlier this year that he would be sitting out during the 2012 Games due to a shoulder injury. Despite this major loss, his team charged ahead with a specific strategy in mind.
“Moving into the Open, we knew specifically what group was going to go where for team one and who would be team two. From there, our programming was specifically done by Spencer and Sam Nix to help them go all the way,” Ingraham says. “Over the year, we had really seen people’s strengths and weaknesses, and it helped us identify who was good or bad at what, and that helped us pair together our teams. We decided to put 12 people on our first squad this year. From there, we put the other 50 on the second team with the knowledge of everyone’s specific skill sets. We knew that any given week in the Open, their workout would come up and they would score big for that specific team. Every week, we knew it could be a different six people scoring high for the team and that diversity of skills really helped qualify our second group.”
Regional and Games experience isn’t completely new to CrossFit Dallas Central. Since the opening of the affiliate in April 2008, Ingraham qualified for the 2010 Games and teams have qualified in both the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
“In 2010, we had a very makeshift group of individuals going into Regionals to get to the Games. A few athletes were hurt, a few were also doing the individual competition. That year, they were taking eight teams, and we ended up finishing at 4th place in the South Central Region,” he says. “Moving into the Games, we still weren’t [sure] about our final lineup and we selected a whole new group of people for the Games. It was tough. We were trying to figure out how the competition worked, and it was our first year sending a team to California. In the end, it was a unique experience. We got a lot better afterwards because of the mistakes we made when we were there. Despite being unprepared, though, getting into that top 25 gave us the momentum and experience that carried us on into the next season.”
With another year of training as a team complete, Ingraham, the Nix brothers, and their team forged into the 2011 season.
“In 2011, we had a specific training program starting in January where people designated themselves for team competition before the Open began,” Ingraham explains. “Going into Regionals and knowing what the workouts were, we were able to select the individuals to get us into the top three that year, and we ended up in 3rd place at the Regional. Moving into the Games, knowing what we did in the past, we structured a team and knew how to approach every workout within a team setting. Not who can do the most work or carry the team, but what can those four together do as a group, filling in for other’s weaknesses or taking advantages of other’s strengths. That really helped us get to that 13th place where we finished last year.”
Now, with their eye on a third visit to California as a team, CrossFit Dallas Central feels more prepared than ever.
“Getting to make it to these competitions has made us more and more knowledgeable, and better prepared each year. This year, I think our second team will do great. Those six will complement each other even more specifically than our first team,” Ingraham says. “While team one is a very all-around group of athletes, the second team is a unit of puzzle pieces, and they can work together to fill each other’s gaps. They will have to come together more as a group at the regional than anyone else. More than anything though, I just think it’s so exciting that they are getting this opportunity that they wouldn’t have had with a one-team Regional. They really deserve this.”
As the team moves forward into the South Central Regional, coaches and box owners couldn’t feel more pride in their members. As one of only two affiliates to qualify two teams for this Regional, CrossFit Dallas Central is feeling the positivity and excitement surrounding the 2012 season.
“Qualifying two teams has really had a positive effect on the gym,” he says. “This year, we had 80 people compete in the Open, and I think that alone really shows the depth we have of athletes we have who are willing to step out, compete and put themselves out there. For those who may have been nervous about it at the beginning, we told them it didn’t matter how they scored, we just wanted them to be a part of this great experience with us, and it turned out that we have a very competitive and athletic community here.
“I think them all qualifying just shows we have a great thing going on here – it helps show we’re not just a one-trick pony. We’re not an affiliate with just this one guy, and a couple girls who are good. We’re a big team and a big family of athletes. We’re lucky to have such a big group of people who can come together, be competitive and be really good friends. I just can’t stress enough how proud we are of everyone. We’re really looking forward to San Antonio and getting to compete with the best in South Central.”
When asked about the lineup for their two teams later this April, Captain America remained coy. “I’d like to keep our teams a surprise for the Regional. But let’s just say you can expect to see Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Thor, Black Widow and the rest of The Avengers there.”