July 28, 2013
The Novice Division Takes Over the Track
By Chris Cooper

“It gives me courage. I’m braver at everything else because I’m stronger.” ~Taylor Cerillo on CrossFit

While the Individuals ran the ZigZag Sprint Event in the soccer stadium, the youngest competitors at the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games took over the Track.

The Novice Division of the Teen Gauntlet event is for youth ages 12 to 14. Kids travelled from as far away as Australia to face three events spread over Friday afternoon.

The first event combined burpees to a plate, burpee pull-ups and burpee muscle-ups. Athletes performed 10 burpees, then moved their plate a few paces forward and dropped to the grass again. The burpee pull-ups spread the pack, but most kids finished and attempted a muscle-up before time expired.

Anya Penner, of AKP CrossFit, reached the rings first, and took the event with her relentless effort. Arley Landis ground out three muscle-ups from standing. Dylan Piazza, the smallest male athlete on the field, matched Landis with three muscle-ups.

Event 2 was a shuttle run Grace. Landis demonstrated his well-rounded base by finishing first, four seconds faster than Thomas Gallant. Though he’s only been doing CrossFit for eight months, Landis powered through the clean and jerks and sprinted hard across the turf. Meanwhile, Elise Cardenas made the barbell work look easy to complete the event in 3:31 for the girls.

Event 3 was a combo of wall balls and pull-ups. Taylor Cerillo finished second to Penner and Cardenas in the first two events, but broke through on Event 3, taking an early lead and finishing 40 seconds ahead of Samantha Goldstein.

Several athletes had to jump to hit the wall-ball target. Gallant powered through almost every rep unbroken to finish in less than three minutes, and Brandon Toledo squeaked in ahead of overall leader, Landis.

“I love it,” Landis says. “I started CrossFit after my mom brought me to a class. It makes me play my other spots – baseball and football – better.”

Cerillo, the top scorer for the girls, says CrossFit makes her better at other sports, as well, including hip-hop.

“It gives me courage,” Cerillo says. “I’m braver at everything else because I’m stronger.”

Crowd support was small but passionate, and kids cheered for one another, slapping each other on the shoulder when they finished. The big names may have been onscreen behind them, but the big hearts were on display at the Track.