April 10, 2013
Up for a Challenge: Shaun Hazelton
By Mandi Lo

"Some days are good and some days are bad, but you just gotta keep doing it."

Photos by: Mike LaCoss

After Shaun Hazelton finished the 2012 South West Regional in 17th place, he has come back this year fiercer and stronger. His Open scores, which have landed him tied for ninth place in region, clearly reflect that. 

“Obviously, the ultimate goal is always to make it to the Games, but I came in this year with a goal of finishing Regionals in the top 10,” Hazelton says. “If I surpass that and make it to the Games, it will just be a bonus.”

The 27-year-old owner of Great Times CrossFit in Tucson, Ariz., didn’t start CrossFitting until 2010, and hasn’t stopped since his first workout. A natural athlete, Hazelton played football, wrestled and lifted weights in high school and went on to play football for Western State Colorado University.

“I was always in the weight room and also got a degree in exercise science. I knew I wanted to do something with coaching, so I started my own gym,” he says. “As for CrossFit, it was perfect to fill the void for football after college, with its hard workouts and competition factor.”

Hazelton has always programmed for himself since his first Open experience in 2011.

“I program for myself because I like the challenge of taking it all on,” he explains.

After finishing Regionals in 17th place, he knew he needed to work on his weaknesses and improve on certain movements, specifically handstand push-ups.

“I’ve also been working on my conditioning a lot,” he says. “My strength training has remained the same, but I’ve varied certain movements in my programming to improve on my conditioning.”

Hazelton remains motivated by viewing his training as just a part of life. 

“It’s just something you have to do, like going to work,” he says. “Some days are good and some days are bad, but you just gotta keep doing it.” 

When he is not coaching or training, Hazelton spends free time with his wife and dog.

This year’s Open started with a bit of struggle for Hazelton.

“13.1 was a challenging one for me because burpees just gas me,” he says. “I also thought I was going to snatch better, but those burpees really got me.” 

His score of 168 landed him in 64th place going into 13.2. From there, Hazelton continued climbing the Leaderboard each week. His 13.2 score of 312 moved him up to 41st, and his third-place finish in the region for 13.3 with a score of 294 shot him up to 23rd place. 

Hazelton was on the side of those who welcomed the repeat of Open Workout 12.4.

“It was kind of nice to have done it before because I knew what to expect and where to hit it hard,” he says. “I finished the muscle-ups and had a little bit of time for wall balls, so I just hit it as hard as I could.”

He completed 27 more reps than last year.

Hazelton’s 13.5 score of 161, the seventh highest in the region, has left him tied with Moses Cordova for ninth place going into Regionals. So far, a top-10 finish seems more than possible for Hazelton to attain.