March 30, 2012
Central East Open Recap
By Josh Bunch

Veteran Games athletes Rich Froning and Julie Foucher take the top spots at the end of the Open in the Central East Region. 

All good things come to an end, even in CrossFit. While some athletes desperately needed one more Open workout to save an entire season, others sat comfortably. With nearly 70,000 competitors on the 2012 CrossFit Open books, the world takes a breath.

The charm of the CrossFit Open within the Central East region is its ability to shatter every preconceived notion even CrossFitters fall prey to on occasion. True, maybe the CrossFit Games isn’t within in your cards. In the end, it doesn’t matter if the Open is your pre-season or your Super Bowl. What matters is that you showed up at all.


Rich Froning left Carson, Calif., with a big fat check in 2011. What no one, except maybe Froning and crew, planned for was his exalted victory within the very next worldwide competition CrossFit had to offer. Froning leaves the 2012 Open separating himself from 2nd place worldwide by 103 points.

The rest of the region proved formidable when compared to the world. Central East males owned 20 percent of the top 25 slots worldwide, making some Central East athletes contemplate relocation as a means to advancement.

It just goes to show you what a healthy Nick Urankar can add to a region – in 2011 he qualified for Regionals with an injury – or the likes of new competitors such as Travis Page, Shawn Stauffer and Marcus Hendren, all hedging their bets early with spectacular Open performances.


In the past, the women of the Central East have not fared as well as the men’s competition. That is not the case anymore.

Julie Foucher, Central East’s Open winner, took 2nd worldwide missing first place Kristan Clever by 11 points. After placing 5th at the 2010 Games, 2011 Open and 2011 Games, Foucher has finally broken the cycle.

Lindsey Smith edged out Michelle Kinney in a Central East race for 2nd. Smith did this while mending a nagging knee issue that occurred weeks before the Open started. If a cautious Smith takes second in the Central East, and 32 in the world, Regionals will prove to be a worthy competition for the women.

Caity Matter Henniger, 2008 CrossFit Games champion made her retirement from competition a thing of the past. Even though she placed 32nd in the region, she has alluded to the fact that she will forgo her spot to Regionals.


Within the Central East, few teams managed such grace as the current No. 1 seed, SPC CrossFit with 16 points, and No. 2 seed CrossFit Faith wrapping their Open season with 24 total points.

Both teams chose to field multiple Open teams. Brett Sepi of SPC CrossFit, and Chip Pugh of CrossFit Faith were confident enough in their athletes’ abilities to separate them prior to competition.

CrossFit Ann Arbor fell short of a Regional bid by one spot, after a 1st place finish in 2011.


Nearly 5,000 Masters competitors across the globe registered for the Open. The Masters competition encompasses four age groups – 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, and 60-plus. Different than the Individual and Team competition, Masters do not compete at the Regional level. The top 20 in each category go straight to the Games.

Betsy Finley, 2011 60-plus champion, dominated the Central East Open yet again, taking 2nd worldwide. She only missed 1st by 11 points. Brian Parana, Finley’s coach, says Finley has improved significantly since 2011. “She won last year and couldn’t link a single pull-up,” he says. “This year she can hit 18 pull-ups without coming off the bar, and that's just one of the surprises we have in hand for Carson.”

The Masters crowd from the Central East headed to California in July will include Mike Lyons of CrossFit Troy and Ronald Thomas of CrossFit New Albany. Both took no less than top five in their worldwide divisions.