May 19, 2012
Regional Report: Gordon, Forte Stay on Top Down Under
By Michael McCoy and John Michael Bric

Event 4 presented itself to Australia's athletes a one of the most grueling workouts of the weekend.

Just past the halfway point, Event 4 presented itself as one of the most physically grueling workouts of the weekend. Like the 100s workout in 2011, this year’s chipper was as much about endurance as it was mental fortitude.

The crowd rose to its feet as one of the most intense and exciting battles of the weekend took place. CrossFit Newcastle, Schwartz’s CrossFit Melbourne and CrossFit Gold Coast exchanged the lead several times throughout the final heat in the team division. In the end, when the clocked ticked down it was a two-way race between CrossFit Newcastle and Schwartz’s CrossFit Melbourne. Yet members of the teams and audience had a tentative wait as the scores were tallied and uploaded to the Leader board.

By the time the men completed the 22-minute workout, several competitors emerged as potential contenders going into Day 3. The Hogan brothers, 20-year-old young gun Brendan Clarke, Mr. Consistency Rob Forte, and one of the weekend’s most impressive performers, Chad Mackay all appear to have the form.

For the women, all eyes were on the last event of the day as some of the bigger names were given the chance to prove why they are Australia’s Fittest, and the workout did not disappoint. Yet as hard as they tried, no one could catch pint size Denae Brown who finished in impressive fashion almost a full two-minutes ahead of her nearest competitor and may just be this seasons surprise package.


Event 4

1. Chad Mackay (18:48)
2. Rob Forte (18:02)
3. Brendon Swan (19:23)


1. Rob Forte (18)
2. Chad Mckay (23)
3. Brendon Swan (24)

With only three events remaining, the men’s regional title was really anyone’s for the taking. Heading into the final workout of Day 2, only 10 points separated 1st and 5th places.

The experienced Rob Forte led the field, but had a number of fierce competitors breathing down his neck, including the Hogan brothers, the youthful Brendan Clarke and Games veteran Chad McKay.

In the first heat, just one competitor, Michael Roach, managed to complete the workout, while Aaron James was the best performer in the second heat, finishing four reps short, after a number of no-reps.

There were a few athletes who completed the tough event in the third, with Drummond Williamson and Ben Thomson both beating the 22-minute cut-off, before Natan Geva, who won the fourth heat with a time of 19:27, finishing ahead of Jason Haywood (19:47).

The grandstands were packed for the beginning of the final heat, and despite all the big names it was local boy, Mark Corrigan who received the biggest cheer when walking out. It seems the support helped, with the 31-year-old finishing 4th, to move to 6th overall.

The event, however, clearly belonged to Chad Mackay.

The 2010 CrossFit Games 12th place finisher flew through the workout, finishing nearly a minute ahead of Forte, with a time of 18:02. Mackay now moves into 2nd spot on the Leaderboard.

“You can’t really put it into words, but you just don't wanna put that barbell down. I tried to give the crowd a clap, but it was hard to keep my shoulders overhead,” he joked as he walked off the arena.

Mackay is now very well placed to make yet another appearance at the Home Depot Center, but isn’t getting too carried away with his position.

“I don’t even worry about the rankings,” he said. “I don’t like to worry about the Leaderboards too much, each workout is just a new workout and you just have to go into it as best you can.”

Rob Forte’s 2nd placing keeps him in the lead with Brendon Swan still in 3rd spot. Brendan Clarke, however,  slid down to 4th position after finishing 11th in the event.

“It was terrible. Everything just stopped working, all my legs, my arms, back, and then you have overheads to finish. It was dreadful,” he said after the workout.


Event 4

1. Denae Brown (17:34
2. Ruth Anderson Horrell (19:16)
3. Kara Gordon (19:17)


1. Kara Gordon (9)
2. Ruth Anderson Horrell (10)
3. Amanda Allen (18)

Heading into the final event of Day 2, the women’s top three was starting to form with Kara Gordon, Ruth Anderson Horrell and Amanda Allen slowly building a gap between the rest of the field.

The difficulty of the workout was clear from the first heat. Not one athlete was able to finish the workout in the 22-minute time cap, with Justine Beath being the closest. It was a similar case in the second heat with Brooke Surtees once again coming close, but still unable to make it to the final set of shoulder to overheads.

The final heat, however, saw a rise in standard, with a number of competitors, including last year’s champ Amy Dracup, desperate to keep their qualifying hopes alive.

From the opening movement, Brown started to build a lead. Her strong butterfly kips saw her ease through the pull-ups, while she never showed any signs of fatigue while squatting.

In the end, she was just too good for the rest, winning in a time of 17:34, nearly two minutes faster than her nearest rival.

“For three months I was just doing back squats, so if I didn’t nail this (event), then I think I would have been very disappointed myself,” she said with a grin.

She now sits in 4th place overall, eight points behind Amanda Allen in 3rd.

“You just never know, the last workout’s a good one again for me, a bit longer, a few more skills involved. So hopefully I do well.”

Kara Gordon finished the workout with the third best time, but maintains her lead on top of the leaderboard, with last year’s runner-up Ruth Anderson Horrell just one point behind in second spot. 


Event 4

1. CrossFit Newcastle (26:41)
2. CrossFit Athletic (27:00)
3. Schwartz’s CrossFit Melbourne (27:02)


1. Schwartz’s CrossFit Melbourne (14)
2. CrossFit Newcastle (22)
3. Tropic Thunder (22)

Event 4 required teams of four to perform a series of weighted squat movements with pull-ups.

It’s not the weight that kills competitors, but rather the workload you need to complete before the 25-minute cut off. So hard is the workout, that only a couple of teams around the world have actually finished it.

Unfortunately no team in Australia could join that elite list, but there were still some very impressive results.

In the first heat, CrossFit CFX and CrossFit Wollongong were going head to head with the former eventually winning, while CrossFit Active claimed the second heat title.

However, the real action was in the final heat where the lead changed several times between several of teams.

Schwartz’s, CrossFit Newcastle and Reebok CrossFit Gold Coast were in a tight battle for the first 15-minutes, before CrossFit Newcastle eventually pulled away.

However, with five minutes to go, CrossFit Athletic surged home overtaking almost everyone and take second spot. Their performance sees them jump to 4th spot overall, one point behind Tropic Thunder, who finished 6th in the workout.

Schwartz’s sits on top of the Leaderboard and with each workout are looking more likely to qualify for their first-ever Games.

With their victory in the heat, CrossFit Newcastle jump to 2nd overall, ensuring an interesting battle with Schwartz’s on the final day of the Australia Regional.