June 5, 2012
From Fourth to Second: CrossFit Southie
By Keka Schermerhorn
Southie will show off their work capacity at the Games.
Southie will show off their work capacity at the Games.

"If doing well in the Games has anything to do with just having gas in the tank, we'll do great."


It’s a whirlwind time for Amy Ferro and Chris Gosler.

The CrossFit Southie coaches and affiliate owners are headed to the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games in July after finishing second at the North East Regional. Last year, the team placed fourth, missing a trip to California by two points.

But it doesn’t end there for the couple.

Ferro and Gosler recently bought their first home together and plan to get married in January.

“We are just excited,” Gosler says. “But that could be another story once the nerves start to set in. Thankfully we (the team) perform well under pressure. We’ve got tremendous work capacity. If doing well in the Games has anything to do with just having gas in the tank, we’ll do great.”

Last year was CrossFit Southie’s first Regional, having only opened for business nine months earlier. The team finished fourth, two points shy of third place. Ferro and Gosler say they were surprised they did as well as they did in 2011, and used the time that followed to create a Games-caliber team.

Team members Ferro, Gosler and Joe Masley all qualified to compete in the Regional as individuals. T.J. O’Neill, like last year, proved to be the perfect third man with his sheer strength and Olympic weightlifting technique.

This will be Masley’s first and last time competing at the Games with CrossFit Southie. With one week left in this year’s Open, Masley left his job as a coach at CrossFit Southie to become a coach at Reebok CrossFit One. Eligibility rules and the support of Masley's new boss — Reebok CrossFit One head coach Austin Malleolo — made it possible for him to remain a part of the team.

“My qualifying as an individual for the Regional and being offered this job at Reebok One is a direct reflection of how well (Gosler and Ferro) prepared me,” Masley says. “I would not be the athlete and coach that I am today if it weren’t for them. I felt that I had a better chance to make it to the Games if I competed in a team and I’m so lucky that I got to do this with them.”

Choosing the remaining female team members presented a challenge. The stronger female athletes had trouble with high-skill gymnastics movements like muscle-ups and handstand push-ups, but were better suited for the heavier weights that were part of the Regional workouts.

Hoping to be able to make up the difference, they chose the stronger athletes in Haley Byrnes and Andrea Cooke. The strategy paid off. The team placed high enough in the heavier events early in the competition, allowing breathing room going into the last event that included muscle-ups.

Team members say they feel they have great potential in facing the unknown and unknowable, relying on their ability to communicate and strategize, as well as their trust in the team’s general physical preparedness and elevated work capacity.

“I would love for us to have to attack an obstacle course or anything with a prowler,” Ferro says. “We can do well on anything where we just need to get it done.”

Short of a never-before-done high-skill movement, the team should be ready for anything, Masley says.

“I mean, if they asked me to wrestle a bear, I would probably go for it,” he adds.

Not having a list of specific workouts for which to train, team members say they feel having everyone train together every time is not vital. Still, that doesn’t mean they’re going easy on their workouts.

Team members train together twice a week. Individually, they continue to work on weaknesses, focusing on high-volume strength and skill work three to four days per week.

“We are more than just six people who train together. We are a tight-knit group of friends and we know what works for us,” Ferro explains. “We all have our set schedules and train together as much as we can.” 

As part of CrossFit Southie’s preparation for the Games, each Saturday the team will train alongside CrossFit New England’s team under the eye of co-owner and head coach Ben Bergeron.

“I respect him so much as a coach,” Ferro says. “I feel like there is no way we will not get better training with them.”