Ninety was the magic number of max reps for five South East men.
Technical skill? Check. Heavy weight? Check. CrossFit Open Workout 12.2 had it all with a 10-minute AMRAP of snatches, increasing in weight every 30 reps. Many competitors achieved new PRs on the snatch as the men’s weight progressed from 75 pounds to 135, 165, and ended at 210 pounds, while the women’s weight started at 45 pounds and increased to 75, 100, and 120 pounds.
Open Workout 12.1 may have favored the smaller athlete, 12.2 allowed the heavy lifters to shine. A shake up on the Leaderboard was expected.
Ninety was the magic number of max reps for five South East men: Brandon Phillips of CrossFit Kennesaw, Jimmy St. Louis of CrossFit Body Construction, Will Hall of CrossFit Camden, Jacobe Kendrick of CrossFit Fort Walton Beach, and Robert Crotty of Bold City CrossFit all tied for 1st place on 12.2.
The overall South East leaderboard consisted of familiar names with Jason Ingham of CrossFit Ragnarok in the top spot, Phillips in second and Chase Daniels of Hard Exercise Works in 3rd (87 reps).
Ingham managed to complete 89 reps despite battling a fever and illness earlier in the week. “I felt great when I ﬁnished, minus the coughing and sneezing. The hardest part was I felt like I was holding my breath the whole WOD,” he says.
Last year’s Open winner for the South East, Ingham says, “This year is totally different than last. I’m only doing the WODs once this year, rather than two or three times. One and done. This year, it’s not about me. It’s about my gym and all the awesome athletes who are competing this year.”
Jessica Denney of CrossFit Atlanta dominated 12.2, topping all South East women with 99 reps. She went into the workout with a plan consisting of three sets of 10 at 45 pounds, six sets of ﬁve at 75, 10 sets of three at 100, and then all out with the 120 pounds until time was called. “This was definitely something I would enjoy re-doing, maybe with heavier weights,” Denney says.
For the women’s Leaderboard, former collegiate gymnast Emily Bridgers of CrossFit Decatur sits in 1st (94 reps), Cheryl Nasso of CrossFit Fort Pierce in 2nd (90 reps), and Sarabeth Phillips of CrossFit Tuscaloosa in 3rd (93 reps). Bridgers ﬁnds herself in 5th place worldwide just below CrossFit icons Kristan Clever, Julie Foucher, and Annie Thorisdottir.
“It is crazy to be just below them on the Leaderboard, and I am honored, to say the least. I definitely couldn’t be upset when I saw Annie’s name pop up in front of mine after she pulled out 109,” she says.
Bridgers was surprised by how well she did on 12.2, noting that she is not as conﬁdent with snatches as she is with other movements. “I’m feeling good going into week three. I am getting used to not knowing what to expect. That part doesn’t bother me – it’s the waiting around that kills me,” she says.
Once again, the South East’s Masters are well represented on the overall Leaderboard as they attempt to finish in the top 20 of their respective age divisions to earn a trip to the Games. For Masters up to age 54, the weight was the same as Open categories.
For Masters men 55-59, the weights were the 45, 75, 100, and 120 pounds. Weights for Masters women age 55-59 started at 35 pounds and increased to 55, 75, and 90.
In the Masters 45-49 age group, Steve Romaniello of SF CrossFit, ﬁnished in 9th place (66 reps). In the Masters 50-54 age group, Brian “Brig” Edwards (60 reps) and Bob LeFavi of CrossFit Savannah (68 reps) tied for 9th place. Charlie Clendening of CrossFit Vero Beach ﬁnished 12th (60 reps).
LeFavi, a professor of sports medicine at Armstrong Atlantic State University, is a former collegiate wrestler, as well as competitive bodybuilder and powerlifter. “CrossFit is like a breath of fresh air – just what I needed,” LeFavi says. “I may get beat by other Masters competitors fair and square and that is ﬁne. I just won’t quit. As someone has said, ‘Pain is temporary. Quitting is forever.’”
In the women’s 50-54 age group, Kelli Dean of Lightning CrossFit went from 19th to 12th (65 reps), while Diane McKinney of CrossFit North Fulton hung on at 18th (60 reps). Kinney started CrossFit two years ago after years of power walking. “Never in a million years would I have thought I would be in the Open, let alone the top 20 by week two. I’m glad the snatches are out of the way and look forward to hopefully staying in the top 20,” she says.
In the men’s 55-59 age group, Daniel O’Donnell of CrossFit Clearwater sits in 16th place (95 reps). On the women’s side, Susan Wallis of CrossFit Duval fell from ﬁrst to 19th place (60 reps). A 36-time Ironman ﬁnisher, Wallis knew heavy weights would be a challenge for her in the Open. “It was hard for me to believe that I held ﬁrst place for 12.1. It was a neat feeling, but I also knew that there would be harder skills in the upcoming WODs that would not address my strengths. And there are some awesome women in my age group who are very strong. I am impressed with their numbers,” Wallis says.
Finally in the men’s 60-plus age group, Jim Lanier of CrossFit West Jax jumped from 17th place to 5th after a strong showing on 12.2 with 93 reps. Lanier, who pulled a hamstring earlier in the week, didn’t know if he would be able to continue in the competition and waited until Sunday to attempt 12.2. He credits his coach Nick Hawkes with making sure he was healed and ready to perform. “Moving up is a little surprising, but I’m pleased. I’m trying to stay within myself. We have miles to go before it’s over,” he says.
In the team competition, The Guerrilla Squad from CrossFit Carolina hung on to 1st place for another week. They are joined by last year’s Games participants CrossFit Vida Brickell in 2nd, and CrossFit HardCore in 3rd. Paul Beckwith, owner and coach at CrossFit Carolina, is excited about how well his team is doing and is taking the competition week by week. “Two down, three to go,” he says.