Jenn Jones and Ben Smith lead Mid Atlantic after dominating Diane.
Coming off a 3rd place finish in last year’s Games, favorite Ben Smith made his mark with a top time for the first workout, “Diane”, at 2:07, a 5 second PR.
“Glad to get that first one out of the way and get on with the weekend,” Smith says. But Smith isn’t making any bets on which workout will be his best or worst this weekend.
Pushing Smith the whole way was Mike Abgarian of CrossFit 610 out of Pennsylvania with a time of 2:16. The 150-pound Abgarian finished 6th in this year’s Open competition.
Coming in 3rd, after leading his heat the entire way, was Jared Butler of North Carolina’s CrossFit Clayton with a time of 2:24. Butler finished 34th in the Region during this year’s Open.
Some well know CrossFit women have come out to play at this year’s Mid Atlantic Regional including 2009 Games champion Tanya Wagner, and Mid Atlantic Games favorites Gretchen Kittelberger and Christy Phillips.
Competitors Emily Pale and Jennifer Jones are competing with the Games in sight after just missing out on qualifying last year, when they tied for 4th at the 2011 Mid Atlantic Regional. The crowd is also watching Michelle Crawford who came in 2nd place in this year’s Open. Jennifer Butler (5th place in the Open) is not competing due to a hand injury.
The best time in Heat 1 went to relative unknown Christine Kasprzak of CrossFit Love with a time of 3:35 (7th overall). In Heat 2, Felice Stienberg of CrossFit Wilmington dominated, finishing in 2:46, beating her best Diane time by more than two minutes and an impressive 2nd place finish overall.
Also coming in the top 10 from heat number two were Pamela Gagnon (5th), Dara Ching (6th) and Shanna Duvall (9th).
The third heat brought out the major players, with high expectations for Kittelberger and Jones, both former gymnasts. Also in Heat 3: Wagner, Pale, Phillips and Crawford. Phillips, Kittleberger and Crawford blazed through the first set of deadlifts, getting to the wall at almost the same time. However, after the handstand push-ups it was the gymnasts Kittelberger and Jones who made it back to their bars first. The second set of handstand push-ups decided the leader – Jones. Jones kept her lead through the rest of the workout, setting the regional record on the event thus far with a time of 2:10. Phillips who stayed with the middle of the pack for most of the workout, finished strong taking 2nd place in her heat and 3rd overall. Kittleberger struggled a bit with her kipping Handstand Pushups but still finished in 3rd place in the heat and 4th overall.
Jones says she doesn’t remember her previous Diane time. However, her goal was to do the handstand push-ups unbroken, which she accomplished. Clearly that is where she dominated the competition. “They felt really good," she says.
Phillips was ecstatic about her time of 2:53, saying that a year ago her PR on Diane was 17:00 and a week ago 5:30.
Kittelberger says even though she had a PR, she was hoping to do better. "I messed up a little on the kipping and kept getting stuck on the wall," she says.
Event 1 didn't bode well for Wagner, coming in 16th place overall. Before the event she admitted that Diane isn't in her wheelhouse and expects to do better in Event 2. Also with a less then impressive finish was Crawford who just made top 1- with the time of 4 minutes.
The team workout kicked off the 2012 Mid Atlantic Regional. Nervous energy filled the arena before the starting gun sounded, but athletes settled into what promises to be a weekend of intense competition. After the first round of competition, only 10 seconds separate the top three teams. CrossFit Invoke out Raleigh, NC won with a time of 5:22, clocking the second best time to date in Regionals. CrossFit Reston was just 1 second behind and CrossFit Greensboro was 11 seconds off the leaders.
Self-coached CrossFit Invoke, competing at this level for the third time, came out of Heat 2 to claim the top spot. The team has two athletes, Christmas Abbott and Brandon Garner, who qualified to compete in the individual competition. Their experience together helps them know how to pair members up to get the best results out of each workout. “We figured this would be one of our best rounds,” Abbot says. “We did the team workouts a couple times, and especially focused on transitions and paring of athletes.”
Close on their heels was CrossFit Reston. Their team leader Adrienne Briggs attributes their success in this workout to lots of teamwork. Shse was all smiles after the team finished, saying, “The jitters are gone. Now we’re ready to go.”
CrossFit Greensboro also has two athletes who qualified as individuals. Cameron Williams placed first in the overall women’s standing, but elected to compete with her team. “The experience of being here before helps,” coach John Meeks says. “It’s not the same as last year. They aren’t as nervous and that helps the rest of the team be more solid.”