March 30, 2012
Northern California Open Recap
By Leah Lutz

NorCal's most well known athletes will compete at the Regional May 18-20.

With the close of the 2012 Open, the NorCal Leaderboards have proven the expected – this is a fierce region with seasoned and committed athletes, and there is very little surprise when we see who made the cut in the Men, Women, and Team divisions. We will see most of our favorite athletes on the field at the Santa Clara this May, but we will also see some new faces, those who aim to surprise and upend NorCal with their performance.


Among the NorCal men, the top three kept this a close race the whole way. With only 6 total points separating them, Neal Maddox (1st), Joey Warren (2nd) and Jason Khalipa (3rd), put up solid performances week after week. 

Each of these men also committed to doing each Open Workout only one time. With this single shot mentality, they all maintained a very high level in their regular training schedule and saw improvements in areas beyond the Open Workout.

This year’s CrossFit season is one of particular focus for Warren, as he missed the podium at the 2011 Regional by one place. Finishing the Open so strongly definitely “boosts his confidence going into Regionals. I feel I still have a long way to go, but am confident I will get there by Regionals,” he says. “I am heading on to my bachelor party this next weekend to get a little relaxation, then it is time to start the real training for Regionals. As my coach, Michael Fitzgerald puts it, ‘It's up, up, up until Regionals.’”

Some of the other familiar names on the board will be gunning for those coveted CrossFit Games places come May. Blair Morrison (CrossFit Anywhere) has already started his conditioning biased training cycle in order to get his “motor tuned up for Regionals.” Pat Barber (NorCal CrossFit) has shaved that beard, Gabe Subry and Zack Height, both of CrossFit 209 Sport, will be back, looking for spots to the Games.


There is no doubt the Women’s division is heating up all over the world. CrossFit women put up some mind-boggling, jaw-dropping scores in the 2012 Open, and our NorCal women are right up there, continuing to be some of the most well-rounded athletes.

Ashley Carriveau  (CrossFit San Jose) and Elyse Umeda (CrossFit 808) take 1st and 2nd place in our region and 8th and 10th in the world, respectively. Like the men, they stayed close through each round, with just 5 points separating them in the end. These quiet, calm and intensely focused women demonstrated week after week that even with all of life’s demands vying for their time, attention and energy, they have what it takes.

Carriveau will be competing for her first Games spot, and Umeda will be competing for her fourth Games trip. Carriveau reflects the thoughts of many as she looks forward to “increasing [her] training and perfecting a handful of skills over the next two months.”

The NorCal Women’s board includes gymnast Laurie Galassi (CrossFit Santa Cruz), who has been methodically working her way to her third Regional competition; Whitney Heuser of the famed and fierce Diablo Team, who has Games experience in the Affiliate Cup, has chosen to to go Regionals as an individual this year.

And then there is Jenny LaBaw, from Chico, Calif., determined to make 2012 her second Games earning performance as she now takes embarks on a month of focused training with CrossFit Invictus’ CJ Martin.

Others sure to fight hard at Regionals are 2012 Spirit of the Games winner and long-time inspiration in the CrossFit world, Annie Sakamoto (CrossFit Santa Cruz Central), seasoned competitor Sarah Pierce (CrossFit Sonoma Country), Chyna Cho (CrossFit One World), trained and ready to leave no doubt about her right to the podium. Another seasoned competitor, yet newcomer to the NorCal region, Miranda Oldroyd. 


One of the big questions at the close of the Open is always who will go team and who will go individual.  History has it that the two top teams in the region, CrossFit Diablo Anejo and Rocklin CrossFit Honey Badgers, will probably have their top scoring members compete on the team, regardless of their high individual rankings.

The Honey Badgers are sure to be a team to beat with members like Chad Augustin, ranked 5th individually, 17-year-old Valerie Calhoun and her teammate Jennie McKernan, ranked 7th and 8th.

Teams like CrossFit 808 and NorCal CrossFit have put up strong numbers, but these teams will have their work cut out for them if, most likely when, they lose the likes of Khalipa, Barber and Umeda to the individual event.


Our NorCal Masters have done their work and are now ready to advance to the CrossFit Games in Carson, Calif., this July. Perennial crowd favorite, Freddy Camacho, training side by side with Cho, is ready to represent the 45-49 Division.

Will Burke of CrossFit Oahu will compete with the 50-54 Men. Heidi Fish represents NorCal Women of 50-54, and the 55-59 Women will see the athleticism of Open winner Marnel King (CrossFit San Jose) and Marilou Seiff (CrossFit San Mateo). NorCal 60-plus Men and Women Masters athletes are Clarke Holland (Tamalpais CrossFit), Mark Laakso (CrossFit Oahu), Christopher Kulp (CrossFit Los Gatos), Kristine Sessions (CrossFit Maxim) and Mary Schwing (CrossFit 808).