May 26, 2013
NorCal Regional Report: Stick to the Plan
By Hilary Achauer
In Event 5, the athletes faced heavy deadlifts and high box jumps. There was no room for error.
In Event 5, the athletes faced heavy deadlifts and high box jumps. There was no room for error.

"My expectations are to make a spot on the podium and stick with the game plan," Ashley Carriveau said.


Just because an event is short, that doesn’t make it easy.

In Event 5, the athletes faced heavy deadlifts and high box jumps. There was no room for error.

With their legs fatigued from the pistols and wall-balls earlier in the day, the competitors had to stay tough and move fast.

As Jason Khalipa yelled to Garret Fisher during Event 4, “You gotta dig deep if you wanna go to the Games!”


Khalipa and Neal Maddox didn’t smile when their names were announced to the crowd in the final heat. This event, a repeat from the 2011 Regional competition, is familiar territory for them. They know how much it hurts.

Fisher, Khalipa, and Maddox all did the first 21 deadlifts unbroken, but Maddox was first to the box jumps, followed closely by Khalipa and Fisher. Then Fisher picked up speed on his box jumps, getting to the second set of deadlifts first.

Khalipa changed his approach when he got to the 15 box jumps—stepping down on each one—but he couldn’t catch Fisher.

One of the tallest competitors in the field, 6’2” Fisher had to move the barbell a long way, but he was a solid four reps ahead of Khalipa on the last set of deadlifts.

Fisher finished his last box jump, but then his judge called a “no-rep,” and he had to go back and repeat the last rep.

Despite this, Fisher still came in first with a time of 4:01.

That was his plan. “I went out to beat everybody,” Fisher said. “I wasn’t trying to stay even. I was trying to win.”

Khalipa was in second with 4:04, and an athlete from the third heat, Shaun Eagen, finished third with a time of 4:07.

Maddox took sixth (5:01), putting him in second place overall.

“I’m going to go all out tomorrow,” Maddox said. “I’m still looking for a victory. I’ll look tomorrow.”

Another athlete on the lookout for victory is Ben Alderman. He was in 52nd place going into the NorCal Regional, but his strong performances the last two days earned him a spot in the final heat. He’s in eighth place overall.

“I knew (Event 5) was gonna be a hard workout,” Alderman said. “That deadlift workout is my nemesis. I was dealing with a back injury from the Open, so it is what it is, but tomorrow is my wheelhouse and I am hoping to win one. It is an honor to be in the final heat with the top guys.”

Fisher finished the day in third place with the same number of points as second-ranked Maddox. The 22-year-old has been doing CrossFit since he was 15 years old.

“I placed seventh last year and got a little taste of what it’s like,” Fisher said, “and I just trained my butt off ... My goal this year is to make the podium. My plan is to keep doing what I am doing.”

Event 5
1. Garret Fisher (4:01)
2. Jason Khaplia (4:04)
3. Shaun Eagen (4:07)

1. Jason Khalipa (7)
2. Neal Maddox (22)
3. Garret Fisher (22)
4. Pat Barber (46)
5. Marcus Filly (50)


Alessandra Pichelli had a good day.

After taking first in Event 4, a long chipper, she also took first in the short and heavy Event 5.

None of the other women stood a chance once Pichelli got her hands on the 205-lb. barbell and started deadlifting. Molly Biss and Katie Hogan were close behind Pichelli, but not could match her steady pace.

None of the women were able to complete the 15 deadlifts unbroken.

“This was one of my favorite events, but my plan slowed up a bit at the 15 (deadlifts),” Biss said.

“I had to break them up a bit due to some ‘no-reps’ (bouncing), but my coach told me to just go on how I feel, and I stuck to that. I always competed team in the past and enjoy being an individual this year, and I plan to stay an individual,” she said.

Hogan was close behind Pichelli, but missed a box jump on the set of 15, which cost her valuable time in this short event.

Pichelli won with a time of 3:41. Margaux Alvarez finished second in the heat but third overall with a time of 3:58. The second place finish went to Liz Terry, competing in the first heat. She finished with a time of 3:47.

Like Pichelli, Alvarez trains at Diablo CrossFit.

“I am enjoying the day and trying to relax in between the events,” Alvarez said.

“It's important to get out of the sun as soon as we can and after the earlier event I just took a protein shake and relaxed. I’m staying fueled through the weekend with chicken, sweet potatoes, and bread. My body is feeling good, and I will ice bath later,” she said.

Although this is Pichelli’s first time competing as an individual, she still trains with the Diablo CrossFit team.

“Pichelli was a team competitor and still trains with the team and is motivated by the energy,” said Jeremy Jones, the head coach of Diablo CrossFit.  

“I’m happy this one is over,” Pichelli said. “Day two down, one more to go. I had no idea what to expect because last year I was on team,” she said.

“I’m just happy, and I am going to keep trying my best. I love my teammates, I couldn’t do what I’m doing now without them.”

Pichelli ends the day in first, 13 points ahead of second-place Annie Sakamoto. Sakamoto leads third-ranked Ashley Carriveau by just three points.

Carriveau, who dropped out of Regional competition last year after being diagnosed with cervical cancer, said her parents have never seen her do CrossFit.

“My dad did not know what CrossFit was until yesterday, and he was surprised to see how many people there are in the audience. He can't believe how hard these people work out,” she said.

Carriveau took sixth place in Event 4, but she’s in second place overall.

Carriveau lost her hold on first overall after the day’s events. She tied for 6th on Event 4 (25:41) and took 15th on Event 5 (5:07). Nonetheless, she’s still holding onto the top three and she doesn’t plan on letting go tomorrow.

“My expectations are to make a spot on the podium and stick with the game plan,” she said.

Event 5
1. Alessandra Pichelli (3:41)
2. Liz Terry (3:47)
3. Margaux Alvarez (3:58)

1. Alessandra Pichelli (12)
2. Annie Sakamoto (26)
3. Ashley Carriveau (29)
4. Sarah Hopping (35)
5. Chyna Cho (36)


In Team Event 5, teams of two took on heavy deadlifts and box jumps in a lightning-fast event.

The final heat saw CrossFit Los Gatos get off to a blazing start, with the male athlete completing his first 21 deadlifts in about 30 seconds. CrossFit 808, CrossFit CSA, and CrossFit Santa Cruz were close behind.

CrossFit CSA was the first team to get the male athlete through all the movements. Then the women took over.

Once Brandy Richardson of CrossFit 808 got the barbell in her hands, it was the CrossFit 808 show.

Her teammate, Joe Szymanek said this was the plan.

“I wanted to keep up with the guys, then let (Richardson) do her thing. Release the Kraken!” he said with a laugh.

Richardson flew through the 185-lb. deadlifts, followed by the ladies of CrossFit CSA, CrossFit West, and CrossFit 808.

The women from all three teams started their set of 15 box jumps together, and then it was on to nine deadlifts. Richardson did the deadlifts without stopping, pulling well head of CrossFit CSA and CrossFit West.

The CrossFit 808 team won the event with a time of 7:49.

CrossFit CSA took third, their best finish so far in the competition, and Jessica Fitzgibbons left the floor smiling and laughing.

“I like that one, and I owe it to my coach, Jesse Burdick, who taught me how to deadlift right,” Fitzgibbons said.

“Our goal was to go unbroken on the deadlifts and that was definitely my favorite WOD to do. The box jumps tax you, but I knew I could do well on the deadlifts at that weight."

Fitzgibbons’ partner, Ivan Alarcon took the early lead and was the first male to finish his work. "It was painful,” Alarcon said, “but I didn't want to drop the bar.”

Team Event 5
1. CrossFit 808 (7:49)
2. Diablo CrossFit Anejo (8:08)
3. CrossFit CSA (8:25)

1. CrossFit 808 (9)
2. Rocklin CrossFit (19)
3. Diablo CrossFit Anejo (20)
4. CrossFit Santa Cruz (33)
5. CrossFit East Sacramento (36)