May 16, 2014
A Matchup Not to be Missed
By Ivory Carr

“Seeing our community all together, screaming their heads off for us nearly brings me to tears.” ~Ryan Swobody 

Photo courtesy of Makenna Brinster

Landscape photo courtesy of Jason Dement

The top two teams in the North West will meet at the ShoWare Center in Kent, Washington, this weekend.

CrossFit Marysville and CrossFit Fort Vancouver, first and second place, respectively, following the 2014 Open, each boast impressive rosters, making for a matchup not to be missed.

Marysville: Momentum and Motivation

Stacked with five individual regional qualifiers who chose to compete on teams in 2014, the Marysville squad is led by gym owners and Games veterans Noah Pester and Ryan Swobody. Rounding out the lineup is Ashleigh Moe, who placed 43rd at last year’s Games, Kyle Flanders, Melissa Dixon and Kelsey Nagel.

They are self-coached—each member coaches the next and learns from each other. Following CJ Martin’s CrossFit Invictus Competition programming, they work closely together for individual gains and team cohesion.

Though the squad doesn’t have longevity as a team, they do have momentum born through hard work. The notably strong Nagel said he’s impressed by how quickly the team meshed.

“It’s as if we’ve been training together for years,” she said. “We have a lot of fun together and that’s the end game for us—have fun and kick ass doing it. The North West will be the region to watch for teams this year.”

Marysville’s players make no reservations it will be a skirmish at the regional.

“Having the top two teams out of the Open from the North West is awesome,” said Moe, giving props to her competitor. “Fort Vancouver is legendary and to be on the same level with them is an awesome feeling.”

In a field of fiercely competitive and well-rounded North West teams, Marysville has confidence and momentum going into the regional.

Fort Vancouver: Veterans

The Fort Vancouver affiliate team has an impressive résumé, too, with one Affiliate Cup victory in 2010, appearances at the CrossFit Games in the past five consecutive years, and six athletes—Adam Neiffer, Allan Dunlap, Bryan Weed, Jessica Core, Andrea Roozen and Erin Taylor—who declined individual invitations to compete as a team.

“Focusing on the team is part of the culture at our gym,” said Neiffer, owner of Fort Vancouver. “It’s fun to compete solo in the Open, but when regionals come around our hearts are with the team.”

Dunlap, the newest member, emphasized the team’s strong bond.

“Even being considered for this team is like having the opportunity to be part of something greater than myself,” he said. “It is a great honor.”

Competing for a sixth consecutive invitation to the CrossFit Games, Fort Vancouver is a smart squad that takes nothing for granted. Taylor said she credits Neiffer’s programming and team coach Nathan Loren’s leadership for their strongest affiliate team in their history.

Taylor also said Marysville and the rest of the North West teams will be formidable opponents.

Ultimately, Fort Vancouver team members have faith in each other and the experience to get them high on the Leaderboard at the North West Regional.

The Seventh Teammate

The North West is known for its proud die-hard fans in just about every sport—and that has been deafeningly true at past regional competitions. An unspoken rivalry builds every year in the ShoWare Center for the brightest, loudest and most supportive fans.

Both Marysville and Fort Vancouver are located near Kent, Washington, and they are well supported at the venue.

Swobody said the dedication of the CrossFit Marysville family and friends are his favorite things about competing.

“Seeing our community all together, screaming their heads off for us nearly brings me to tears,” he said.

Fort Vancouver also has a hugely supportive community and a worldwide following from repeated appearances at the Games. Neiffer modestly attributed the team’s worldwide popularity to their being just like CrossFit athletes everywhere.

“We show up, do the best we can, support each other fully and strive to be better people every day,” he said.

Roozen spoke for the affiliate team when she attributed much of their success to the outstanding and supportive Fort Vancouver family.

“The members of our gym make us want to get better so we can continue to make them proud,” she said. “It is so inspirational to see people—competitors and not—giving their all each day so they can meet their goals. I think we could all agree that as a team, we wouldn’t be where we are without the support of our community, and we hope they always know how thankful we are to feel so loved!”

Nothing is set in stone, but the affiliate team competition in the North West will likely be one of the best battles of the season.