May 1, 2013
CrossFit Bridgewater: The Underdogs
By Laura Rice

“We have trained our asses off to make it to Regionals and are hoping for a top-10 finish. It could be a very exciting weekend.”

Photos by: Hal Monsini

For a team that some consider the underdog, the competitors that make up CrossFit Bridgewater have impressive backgrounds.

Three have competed at the Regional and Games level — Jason Caldas, Elaine Polito and Sonia Cormier — and the other three — Corrin Lemieux, Zak Lord and Bruce Ballard — have years of CrossFit training and competitions under their belts.

In a region loaded with powerhouse teams, the team that calls themselves ‘The Gladiators’ is preparing for an epic struggle.

“The team to beat is always CrossFit New England,” CrossFit Bridgewater owner and head coach Caldas says. “Having been a part of their 2011 team always leaves me rooting for them. But in a region that also has teams like Southie, Milford, Shoreline and now Dynamix having Dave Charbonneau, it will be tough competition.”

But CrossFit Bridgewater has shown remarkable improvement in the last year. In 2012 they finished the Open in 46th place in the North East Region and had to watch the Regional from the sidelines. This year, they are going into the competition tied in 18th.

“Last year was our first year owning a business and we had to focus on getting it up and running. Our training took a back seat,” Caldas says. “Also, (my fiancé) Sonia Cormier and I were pregnant last year — well, she was pregnant and I just ate like I was. Only recently have we been able to actually get the full training in that we need.”

The team’s training has consisted of a hybrid of programming by Caldas, as well as workouts from CrossFit Endurance,, CrossFit Mayhem, Outlaw Coach Rudy Neilson, Mike’s Gym and Ben Bergeron’s Competitors WOD.

“We are competitive with each other each and every WOD, especially our girls,” Caldas says. “They are so funny. They ask each other nicely, ‘How did you do?’ only to follow it up with a ‘Good job ... but I beat you!’ They knew they beat them before they asked. As for the guys, we just text each other and talk about how we will beat each other later.”

Every day they require their athletes to meet up with at least one other teammate for the workout. Saturdays and Sundays are for team training. On Saturdays, they have a double session with one team workout and another workout, usually with prowlers, yokes and sandbags. Sunday is a strength session of snatch and clean-and-jerk ladders followed by a long, hard team workout.

For a box with only 80 members, CrossFit Bridgewater has a large number of high-caliber athletes. Not only will they be sending a strong team to Regionals, two of their Masters athletes, Elaine Polito and Page Lockhart, are going to the Games, qualifying in sixth and 11th place in their age groups. They also have Kassandra Aveni competing as an Individual after finishing the Open in 19th place. CrossFit Bridgewater will be representing on many stages.

“Training does not differ for anything,” Polito says when asked if she was approaching training any differently. “I’m being prepared for anything, all the time until Game day.”

Caldas adds: “She hardly ever scales a (workout) anyway, but for Regionals we are testing her with some bigger weights and more skills on the team workouts. Also, her training happens after a 12-hour shift on a construction site where she is climbing in ditches, moving down tunnels and lugging equipment around as fast as is humanly possible. She makes WODs up at work to keep up her conditioning.”

As they head to Regionals, CrossFit Bridgewater is feeling pretty good about their chances. Regardless of the outcome, they are looking forward to the Regional competition in Canton, Mass.

“(We) will be there to put on a show for our fans,” Caldas says. “We have trained our asses off to make it to Regionals and are hoping for a top-10 finish. It could be a very exciting weekend.”