March 1, 2012
Burpees Under the Friday Night Lights
By Aimee Berencsi

19 gyms from 4 states came together for Friday Night Lights.


CrossFit Scottsdale kicked off the CrossFit Games Open Season for many Arizona affiliates with the annual Friday Night Lights event on February 24th. More than 100 CrossFitters from 19 gyms and four states came together to take on seven minutes of burpees.  

Of the 100-plus athletes, 12 previous Regional qualifiers took center stage. Many went into this workout with a strategy, but not all were able to see it through. Seasoned Games athlete, Peter Egyed of CrossFit Fury, battled it out in the final heat with up-and-comer Nick Zambruno of CrossFit Scottsdale.

Egyed went in hoping to get sets of 10 and rest as needed, but couldn’t keep the pace and ended up tiring way sooner than he thought. “I had a strategy going in, but in the heat of the moment I got caught up in the competition and Nick’s pace and ended up doing 30 out of the gate which wore me out too quickly.”

Zambruno ended up preserving through this workout finishing with 136 burpees to land him in 6th place in the South West Region, two spots behind Games veteran, Chris Spealler. When asked about the workout, Zambruno says, “It was challenging. As soon as I saw the workout I knew it would be a burner. Minute four was were I began to hurt,” he recalls. “My legs were the issue for sure but I stuck to my strategy and am happy with where I finished.”

CrossFit Works athlete Chris Gartrell, finished with an impressive 130 and still felt like he could have done more. “After watching the video, I definitely think I could have put up a better number. I thought about doing again, but decided against it since I despise burpees.”  

Sam Shapirio of Captain CrossFit rounded out the top three with 120 reps.

There were many familiar faces amongst the women, with Mel Einbinder, who finished 8th at the 2011 South West Regional, tying CrossFit Fury’s Aimee Berencsi and Melissa Popovich of CrossFit Surf City with 112.  

Berencsi, competed at the 2011 CrossFit Games as a member of CrossFit Fury’s Affiliate team and Popovich finished 8th at the 2010 Southern California Sectionals.

All three women had the same goal – don’t stop. Popovich was happy with this strategy and her results. “I probably should have picked it up a bit in the first few minutes. I stuck to my plan for the first five minutes but, realized I had a lot left in me. I ended up sprinting out the last two minutes. With that strategy I am content with my result.”

CrossFit Northwest Tucson’s Jen Walker, who finished 19thoverall in the 2011 South West Regional, finished 4th with 108 burpees and relative newcomer to CrossFit, Samantha Silverman of CrossFit Works got 107. 

It was an exciting night for all, including many masters, scaled, and kid competitors who took on the seven-minute burpee challenge. Two youngsters from CrossFit Fury in Goodyear, Ariz., Taylor Garman, 10, and Tara Hoffman, 10, pumped out 96 and 91 burpees, respectively. Garman was extremely nervous going into the workout but afterwards couldn’t believe how many burpees she got. “I got more than both of my parents.”

Friday Night Lights was just the beginning. There is still four weeks of great competition for Arizona and its CrossFit affiliates.  

Next week Urban WarFit will host the second Open Workout, followed by CrossFit 480, Core CrossFit and the finale at CrossFit Fury including “Pull for Dom,” a fundraiser to help a raise money for Dominic Peranzi, a 13-year old-boy from Tucson, Ariz., with Germ Cell Cancer.