May 3, 2012
A Battle for Latin America in the Cayman Islands
By Manuela Echeverri

The Cayman Islands have proven to be the residence of Latin American winners.


During the last couple of CrossFit Games seasons, the Cayman Islands have proven to be the residence of Latin American winners. In 2010 and 2011, CrossFit Cayman won 1st place in the Latin America Regional and went on to compete at the CrossFit Games. 

In 2011, Matthew and Tarasa Barnett, co-founders of CrossFit Cayman, competed as individuals at the Home Depot Center. No one in the region can deny that CrossFit Cayman has demonstrated to be a house of champions. But this year, the British Overseas Territory located in the western Caribbean Sea has more than one team competing in Cali, Colombia for a ticket to California. 

CrossFit 7 Mile’s team from Grand Cayman finished the Open in 3rd place, just two points behind the CrossFit Cayman team. CrossFit 7 Mile might appear to be inexperienced, but after taking a closer look at its roster it becomes evident this team is stacked with great athletes that are ready for game day. Zak Kepner, Trevor Amodeo, Schmarrah McCarthy, Jenn Chailler and Wanda Brenton are led by head trainer and teammate Chris Spigner. Chailler and Brenton have the most experience under their belts after going to the CrossFit Games in 2010 as part of CrossFit Cayman’s team. The three girls in the team qualified in the top 30 of the 2012 Open for Latin America, in fact Chailler finished 6th and Brenton had an impressive 4th place finish after being sick at the beginning of the Open. 

Before the Open even started, CrossFit 7 Mile was ready to compete. No one in the team had plans of competing as an individual. “We decided a long time ago that this year we would focus on the Team,” Brenton says. “We just felt like we would have a good chance of winning with the combination of skills we bring to the table.”

The team had tryouts and head trainer Spigner selected the team solely based on performance. The great news for the members of CrossFit 7 Mile who didn’t make it into the roster was that a second team from the same box was built to compete. And with a 10th place finish in the Open, The 7 Milers will also be competing as a team in the Latin American Regional. For being CrossFit 7 Mile’s first year in competition, this box will be very well represented at Regionals.  

Two-time defending Latin America Regional champions CrossFit Cayman finished the Open in 2nd place. They had the highest worldwide ranking coming out of the region; in fact one more burpee would have tied them for 1st place in Latin America. 2011 CrossFit Games individual competitor Matthew Barnett will be accompanied by Tim Pell, Fabio Sordinelli, Krista Pell, Ashley Puschman and Danielle Dufrene. A surprise to many, Matthew Barnett decided to go team this year. “I decided to go team based on the commitment I have to running my business,” he says. “I simply didn’t have the time like I did in 2011 to focus on being an individual competitor. I am now training hard with my team to help them get back to the Games.”

And Barnett expects this to occur. All female athletes in the team finished the Open in the top 10 of the region. The team identifies its strengths as tenacity and mental toughness. “We would run through a brick wall if asked,” he says. “Let’s see them program that WOD”. 

CrossFit Cayman is focused on training as a team, they train together twice a week and follow similar programs the days they are not training together. They follow a program designed to peak them for Regionals and then the CrossFit Games. Furthermore, the team just finished training camp with Camille Leblanc-Bazinet and Dave Lipson.

It seems CrossFit Cayman is ready to take on the region once again. But as the sport grows in Latin America and a larger pool of athletes compete, winning Regionals will be more challenging than ever before. 

Will CrossFit Cayman defeat top teams CrossFit 7 Mile and CrossFit Guayaquil in Colombia? The one thing that can be said is that the team competition at the Latin American Regionals promises to be unforgettable.