May 26, 2012
Maintaining the Goal: CrossFit New England
By Andréa Maria Cecil

Even though Day 1 didn't go as planned, CrossFit New England still has one goal -- the CrossFit Games.

With a handful of deadlifts remaining in the opening workout of the North East Regional, the bumpers started to slide.

That manifested in multiple no-reps for CrossFit New England.

The winner of the 2011 Reebok CrossFit Games Affiliate Cup was on pace not only to win the workout, but to set a world record. CFNE’s men were first to arrive at the wall for handstand push-ups, then the team took the lead at 2:26 into the event. Team members blazed through until the last set of deadlifts.

At 12 reps in, the plates started to slip toward the end of barbell nearest to Mel Ockerby.

It was a workout the team had practiced 10 times — just like every other Regional event — in the weeks preceding the competition.

“Never once did a girl fail a deadlift,” affiliate co-owner and head coach Ben Bergeron said before Event 2 began.

Today was different.

A few weeks ago, Ockerby had said CFNE’s goals were to win every workout, just like last year, and set at least three world records.

The team ended up with a time of 5:56. The winning team, CrossFit Milford, finished in 5:10.

Nonetheless, CFNE’s goals were not dissuaded.

“I’m still as confident as I was before,” he said shortly before Event 2 kicked off.

Bergeron acknowledges there is pressure on CFNE given its title of world’s fittest box. But, he adds, that’s a good thing.

“I like to say pressure is a privilege,” he says. “We use it to motivate our workouts.”

Team member James Hobart echoed the sentiment.

“You want to be the team everyone else is chasing,” he says, “because it shows that you have something they don’t.”

To have finished Event 1, a team Diane, in 5th place overall despite so many no-reps still is respectable, Hobart notes.

“It still fits the plan,” he said shortly after Event 2 wrapped up. “Goal one is to qualify for the Games.”

During the day’s second workout — involving a row, one-legged squats and heavy hang cleans — CFNE found itself neck and neck with Shoreline CrossFit, a team that this year included Games veteran Lauren Plumey.

In the end, Shoreline bested CFNE with a time of 16:56 vs. 17:15.

“They’re a strong team,” Bergeron says of Shoreline. “It was a good workout for a team like that. Lauren was phenomenal. She stole the show.”

Still, Bergeron persisted that CFNE’s 2nd-place finish in that workout coupled with the day’s earlier performance has no bearing on the team’s success at the Regional.

“We don’t need to win every workout,” he says, noting that CFNE didn’t win any of last year’s Games workouts before claiming the final event that decided the Affiliate Cup winner.

“Just as long as we’re top five,” Bergeron adds. “We don’t need to be a team of specialists.”

As far as Day 2, Hobart was optimistic about sweeping the events.

“Hopefully,” he says. “That’s always the plan.”