The South West proved to be as competitive as ever, with athletes pushing each other to new heights throught the Open.
Time sure does fly. With Open Workout 13.5 in the bag and yet another South West Open coming to a close, we now turn our eyes to Salt Lake City, where the region's top athletes will come together at the end of May for the 2013 Regional.
As we've seen time and time again, the South West proved to be as competitive as ever, with athletes pushing each other to new heights throughout the Open competition.
However, not every Cinderella gets to attend the big ball. Here's a look at what to expect come May.
The fifth week of Open competition brought with it a grueling final workout of thrusters and chest-to-bar pull-ups that put a new spin on an old classic. Not only was the programming rigorous, athletes were able to extend the workout incrementally by completing a certain number of reps in under the initial time allotment. This made for one of the most arduous and challenging exercises in some time, not to mention quirky, as one CrossFit owner pointed out.
“I thought that the Open was really well programmed this year,” August Schmidt, owner of East Valley CrossFit, says. “The workouts were very challenging, tested what needed to be tested and were about as creative as can be hoped for, considering the constraints of the Open format.”
He adds: “13.5 was a great variation on a classic workout. Hats off to Dave Castro for thinking up that dirty little twist.”
Just like Schmidt's description of the workout, there were no shortage of twists and turns to round out this year’s Open experience.
No athlete proved this point more than CrossFit Verve’s Matt Chan.
We hadn't heard too much from Chan this season, with the 35-year-old flying under the radar the past four weeks. However, the five-time Games competitor certainly made his presence known in the Open’s final week, completing a total of five rounds and pacing the way in the South West with 168 combined reps. Chan not only cracked the top 10 in the South West's overall standings, he put everyone on notice heading into the Regional competition.
Speaking of Games athletes, Patrick Burke needed a strong finish in week five to qualify for this year's Regional, and, in the end, the MBS CrossFit athlete came through in the final workout to make a final push into the top 48, finishing in 41st.
On the other end of the spectrum, the final third of the South West representatives at the Games last season, Chris Spealler, wrapped up one of his strongest Open performances in recent memory. He’ll head into this year’s Regional ranked the South West’s second-best athlete, trailing only Chris Dozois, who remained locked into the region’s top spot after another top-10 finish on Workout 13.5.
While the Individual Men’s Division is rife with competition, the women of the South West continue to push the bar even higher in the quest to be named Fittest on Earth.
Before we get to the top dogs, let’s take a look at a few who powered their way into the top 48 in the final week. Sitting just outside a spot at this year’s Regional, CrossFit WestCo’s Kristen Smith punched her ticket to Salt Lake City with a strong push in 13.5, while the likes of Trisha Beauperthuy, April Digiannantonio and Erica Drennen held on to their spots.
Ending this year’s Open on a high note was CrossFit Venture’s Natalie McClain, whose 240 reps paced the way. However, Front Range CrossFit’s Colleen Maher, the top female athlete heading into the Regional, wasn’t far behind, coming in second in the division with 231 reps.
As we look ahead to the South West Regional, the pack will once again be thick with competition on the women’s side, as Maher, McLain, Taylor Richards-Lindsay, Tiffany Hendrickson and Becky Conzelman all have their eyes on the big prize: a spot at the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games.
However, as many are well aware, they will certainly have their work cut out for them in this ultra-competitive field.
Unlike the individual divisions, who invite 48 of the region's finest, only the 30 best teams will be headed to Salt Lake City. Like we've seen in previous years, Front Range CrossFit looks to continue its dominance over the team competition.
The Denver affiliate, which never seems to disappoint, paced the way in the Open competition. However, it's not an easy path to the Games, and Front Range CrossFit will have some serious competition from Hacks Pack UTE, CrossFit The Club, Ute All-Stars and East Valley CrossFit, who round out the region's top five teams.
At the other end of the spectrum, just sneaking in at the bottom of the Leaderboard and punching their tickets to this year’s Regional are CrossFit Max Effort, CrossFit Utah Valley and CrossFit MAGNA.
There will be a number of athletes taking advantage of the new Masters 40-44 Division this year, including CrossFit Now's, Michael Moseley.
“For me as a competitive athlete, I was given a new opportunity this year when CrossFit added the 40-44 age category to the Masters Division,” Moseley says. “This gave me the opportunity to qualify for the CrossFit Games directly out of the Open in the new Masters Division. With this in mind, I had to change my training and mindset going into the Open. In the past, the Open was a little less stressful as I only had to be top 60 in my region. This year, I had to qualify in the top 20 in the world amongst 40-44 year old athletes. There were over 6,000 registered athletes in this age group. The mantra this year for me going into the Open was that this was my Regionals.”
Looking at the rest of the Masters Division, Gene LaMonica, Jim Fitzsimmons and Ocey Leavitt paced the way in the Men’s 45-49 Division, while Tracy Maceachern, Trisha Beauperthuy and Patti Carson-Lawthorne ranked first, second and third, respectively, on the Women’s side.
The Masters Men 50-54 Division was led by Steve Parsoneault. Following him was Dennis Cole and Richard Preston. Mary Beth Litsheim, as usual, was at the top for the Women’s 50-54 Division, followed by Karen Waeschle and Holly Brewer.
For the Men’s 55-59 Divisions, Brian Ritchey took home the top spot for the men, while Iris Kamm was atop the Leaderboard on the Women’s side.
Rounding out the 60+ Divisions are Scott Olson for the men and Lisa Fullerton for the women.