June 7, 2013
Mid Atlantic Regional Report: The Strong and The Agile
By Stephanie Vincent

"You don’t realize it but competing is a big emotional toll, so in practice ... it doesn’t take as much energy out of you." ~Gretchen Kittelberger

Events 2 and 3 were classic tests of CrossFit.

A three-rep max overhead squat and 30 burpee muscle-ups gave opportunity to both the strong and the agile. It was a time for those that excel at one or the other to shine, but also where the most consistent athletes would start to lock in their places towards the top of the Leaderboard.  


From the very beginning of Event 2, all eyes were on Ben Smith as he made his first lifts look easy. He sped through his first two sets and when his hands gripped the bar for the third set, the clock was still under two minutes. Smith made easy work of the weight up to 295 lb. The crowd was a buzz when Smith approached 305 lb. with 45 seconds left on the clock. His first two reps went smoothly but he failed the last one.

Also completing a full set at 295 lb. was Rory Hanlin. Hanlin stayed right behind Smith throughout the event, also making an attempt at 305 lb. Hanlin got the bar on his back, but with seconds to go, he failed to jerk it over his head.

Jordan Troyan won Event 3. Troyan dominated his heat finishing in 4:35. This is Troyan’s third time competing at the Mid Atlantic Regional. He placed 25th in 2011, 10th in 2012 and is hoping his stellar finish in this event will help him do even better this weekend.

Regional rookie, Gary Helmick who took second in the event and won the top men’s heat with a time of 4:43.

“The muscle-ups — I knew that was my forte,” Helmick said.

Rounding out third was Smith with a time of 4:47. 

Event 2
1. Ben Smith
2. Rory Hanlin
3T. Steve Pinkerton
3T. Casey Haines
3T. Jared Butler
3T. Ben Sturgill

Event 3
1. Jordan Troyan
2. Gary Helmick
3. Ben Smith

1. Ben Smith (7 points)
2. Jordan Troyan (17 points)
3. Kyle Ruth (19 points)


The best score on Event 2 came from former Olympic lifter, Dara Ching in Heat 4. Ching credits her lifting background for her ability to game this kind of event.

“You want to go into a weightlifting competition knowing that you can hit your opening weight any given day any given time whether you’re tired, or hyped up, injured. You have to know that you can do it any given day, so I was really comfortable with 175. The clean wasn’t a problem, so I was pretty confident in that,” Ching said.

Ching started at 175 and worked her way up to 190 lb. After succeeding, she took a long rest. She approached 195 lb. with just 30 seconds left on the clock, finishing three reps right under the buzzer.

“I told myself if I had two minutes left after the 190 I would try 195, so that’s how it went,” Ching said.

The second best score of Event 2 came from Michelle Kasker of CrossFit Inspire in Heat 2.  Kasker opened with 180 lb. and moved up to 195 lb. where she made two attempts. On both attempts, she was unable to squeeze out the last rep, finishing with a score of 195.2.

“In all honesty, I was going to stop at 190 lb. just to save my shoulders for the muscle-ups, but this is like my best event, so I was like I might as well fight for it and go on,” Kasker said.

It was no surprise to find Gretchen Kittelberger at the top of the pack of a strength event. While almost all other athletes put the bar on their back before jerking it, Kittelberger simply widened her grip and jerked it from the front. She easily worked her way through to 190 lb. but could not quite get out of the hole on the second rep at 195 lb. Her score of 195.1, gave her third place for the event.   

“Overhead squats are one of my better lifts. My max overhead squat and my max front squat’s pretty much the same ... my goal was 190 and I got one rep at 195. So I was really happy with that. I would have liked three reps but I just couldn’t hold on to it. I was a little off balance,” Kittelberger said.

Kittelberger also did well in Event 3, unable to finish the event, but tying with her veteran counterpart, Christy Phillips with 27 burpee muscle-ups.

“My plan was really to just try to stay consistent. But honestly, my triceps were just so tired from the overhead squats just going into it, I was like ‘Oh man, just do what you can.’ I‘ve been real consistent in practice getting 29 reps. You don’t realize it but competing is a big emotional toll, so in practice when you’re that nervous it doesn’t take as much energy out of you,” Kittelberger said.

It was Shanna Duvall who won the heat and the event being the only woman finishing all 30 reps. Duvall who ran cross-country and track in college, is competing in Regionals for the fifth time this year. 

Event 2
1. Dara Ching
2. Michelle Kasker
3. Gretchen Kittelberger

Event 3
1. Shanna Duvall 
2T. Gretchen Kittelberger
2T. Christy Phillips

1. Gretchen Kittelberger (10 points)
2. Christy Phillips (12 points)
3. Dara Ching (15 points)


It wasn’t a surprise that three teams known for their strength, CrossFit Explode (1260), CrossFit Wilmington (1225) and RAW Training (1220) dominated Event 2. 

The highest max by a team female, came from Emily Pale, who qualified as an individual this year, but decided to go team. Pale and her teammates easily worked up to 175 lb. The 185-lb. bar was the sticking point. None of the women could squat the weight initially, but in the end, Pale somehow completed three reps.

The CrossFit Explode men ran into some trouble at the start, when Ty Fischer failed their opening weight of 225 lb. After some rest, he redid the weight, keeping the team in the Game but losing precious time.   

It was RAW training that had the highest max from a team male at 285 lb. They also opened with the highest weight at 235 lb.  

“We wanted definitely to start with a competitive weight. Probably 85 percent of what we thought we could do. We took a little bit of a risk but it paid off,” teammate Bruce Barger said.

Event 3, an AMRAP of burpee muscle-ups was a test of efficient muscle-up technique for the Mid Atlantic teams. Five teams could not meet the requirement of six reps and were disqualified. CHC and CrossFit Reston tied for first with 104 reps. RAW Training stayed consistent, finishing third with 102 reps.

RAW Training’s scores on day one put them in second place overall. Being in the top three is not unfamiliar to them, having qualified for the Games three years in a row. 

Event 2
1. CrossFit Explode
2. CrossFit Wilmington Team A
3. RAW Training

Event 3
1T. CrossFit Reston
1T. CrossFit Invoke
3. RAW Training  

1. RAW Training (7 points)
2. CrossFit Explode (8 points)
3. CFWC Snatches and Jerks (15 points)