Anyone who hadn’t heard of Emily Bridgers before knows that name now. Bridgers, of CrossFit Decatur, owned Open workout 12.3 with an incredible 534 reps, just missing out on winning worldwide when Kristan Clever entered a last-minute score of 540 reps.
A former collegiate gymnast, Bridgers knew the 18-minute AMRAP of 15 box jumps, 12 push presses and nine toes-to-bar would play to her strengths. Having done toes-to-bar almost “every day of her life” as a gymnast, her efficiency in this movement helped put her on top of the region and thrust her into the spotlight with a 5th-place position overall.
After two weeks of single movement workouts, athletes were treated to a classic CrossFit triplet for 12.3. “There is nothing fancy about this workout,” Sarabeth Phillips of CrossFit Tuscaloosa says. “You just have to dig in deep, dominate and destroy.” Her 379 reps have her sitting in 7th place among the South East’s women and 68th overall.
“The object is to set a goal that would be damn near impossible to hit, and then die trying to reach it,” Chase Daniels of Hard Exercise Works says of 12.3. And that’s exactly what he did, producing the most reps at 496 for the South East men.
Although he has been training with shorter workouts, Daniels enjoys longer met-cons, so he was excited about tackling 12.3. “It was nice getting out of the single modality sequence of the ﬁrst two WODs and switch things up a little bit,” he says.
“Heading into the next two weeks, I have absolutely no idea what to expect, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I plan on working my weaknesses right through the Open and attacking whatever may come out of the gates on the last two WODs.”
The top of the South East Leaderboard consists of the same three men as last week, but with some changes in the order. Brandon Phillips of CrossFit Kennesaw now sits in the top spot (439 reps) with Daniels in 2nd, and Jason Ingahm of Crossﬁt Ragnarok falling to 3rd (393).
“Being in 1st is great, but honestly, this doesn't mean that much to me,” Phillips says. “I've got the Games in my sights and that’s what I'm training for. There's some great competitors here in the South East that are much better than the scores reﬂect on the Leaderboard. Like last year, many of the top Open competitors didn't fair so well in the Regionals, so I'm keeping my goal in mind and preparing myself for Regionals and the Games.”
The South East women’s l=Leaderboard shows Bridgers in 1st, Cheryl Nasso of CrossFit Fort Pierce in 2nd (439 reps), and Lauren Brooks of CrossFit Salvation in 3rd. Brooks makes her appearance in the top three thanks to her strong 488 reps in 12.3. “When 12.3 came out, I was pretty excited. I love box jumps and the push press was moderately light. The only thing I was worried about was the toes-to-bar, but … I have practiced them a lot,” she says. “I really surprised myself when it was all said and done. There are so many amazing athletes in the South East. I am really honored and grateful to be in the position I'm in, but I know there is still a long road ahead and must continue working hard.”
The South East’s Masters continue to excel as they vie for a top-20 ﬁnish in their age group in order to get a ticket straight to the Games. The workout parameters were the same for Masters ages 54 and under. For Masters 55-59, step-ups on the 20” box were allowed and the weight on the push presses was decreased to 95/ 55.
Ron Ortiz of Hard Exercise Works sits at the top of the South East men in the 45-49 age group by ﬁnishing in 13th place overall (313 reps). He is followed by Steve Romaniello of SF CrossFit in 15th (302 reps) and Bryan Shockley of CrossFit Pulse in 16th (349 reps). “The difference between competing in the Games and watching the Games is going to come down to getting that one extra rep. 12.3 was a true gut check. It encompassed gymnastics, weightlifting, and metabolic conditioning. A great choice and a great CrossFit WOD,” Romaniello says.
In the Men’s 50-54 age group, Brian “Brig” Edwards jumped to 6th place after knocking out 339 reps, placing 1st on this workout. Edwards is a former competitive cyclist who has been CrossFitting in his garage for more than ﬁve years and depends on the main site for his programming. He is followed by Bob LeFavi of CrossFit Savannah in 7th (331 reps) and Charlie Clendening of CrossFit Vero Beach in 15th (258 reps).
In the Women’s 50-54 age group, Kelli Dean of Lightning CrossFit continues to climb the Leaderboard to 11th place (291 reps), while Diane McKinney of CrossFit North Fulton jumps a spot to 17th (263 reps). “The workout was a good combination of things, but did it really have to be 18 minutes?” says McKinney, who in addition to competing in the Open, is getting married in ﬁve weeks to a trainer she met at her box.
Charles Sullivan of CrossFit Vero Beach makes an appearance in the top 20 for the Men’s 55-59 age group ﬁnishing in 15th place. His 361 reps landed him a third-place ﬁnish for the workout.
In the Women’s 55-59 age group, endurance athlete Susan Wallis of CrossFit Duvall fell to 22nd place (241 reps). Wallis says she did “OK” on 12.3 for her skill level, noting she was slowed down by having to do step-ups on the box due to arthritis in her knees. “For 12.4, we will see what they send our way, and I will do my best, of course,” she says. “The only strategy is to get a couple of pointers from my coach on the most efficient way to work through the WOD and then give it all I have.”
Finally, Jim Lanier of CrossFit West Jax continues to stay in the top 20, ﬁnishing in 9th place with 232 reps. “The beautiful thing about CrossFit is that you may have plenty of strengths, but the WODs will ﬁnd your weaknesses and make them very plain to you,” Lanier says. “Humbling is how I would describe 12.3. My expectations were way beyond what I was able to achieve, but I'm even more anxious to see 12.4 now.”
On the team side, CrossFit Hardcore jumped from 3rd place last week to 1st place in the region. Right behind them is CFNA Cockdiesel, and Team Iron Temple is in 3rd. The Guerrilla Squad out of CrossFit Carolina, which held on to 1st place for the last two weeks, fell to 5th place