May 5, 2012
Regional Report: Smith and Jones Sweep Mid Atlantic
By Stephanie Vincent, Sarah Clagett, Kym Escobar and Jeremy Brown

Ben Smith and Jenn Jones took 1st in both events on Day 1. 

Ben Smith finished 1st in Event 2 with a time of 12:35 helping him complete a clean sweep of the events on Day 1. After Smith set his world record, Matt Chan in the South West broke it finishing Event 2 in 12:04.

After tying for 13th in the first workout of the day, Schrader had a plan for the second workout – go out hard on the row, move steadily through the pistols and knock out the cleans as quickly as possible to finish with a sub 13-minute time. Given his world record pace, Schrader said he completed the workout exactly as planned.

Pinkerton’s 3rd place finish in this Event helped his overall standing to 14th place, ahead of top Open competitor Sean Thompson who tied for 18th in a disappointing finish. After Thompson completed the pistols before everyone else in his heat he fell behind on the hang cleans.

While training for Regionals, Thompson completed the row in 8:05, but during the workout today he finished the pistols in the same time frame. Because of this blistering pace he ended up being gassed by the time he reached the hang cleans.

Another strong Open competitor, Thomas Hooton placed 10th in the event with a time of 15:36 and was looking to make up some ground for a less than subpar performance on the first event. 

A fan of the heavy stuff, Hooton said the key for him was to make up ground on the hang cleans after the pistols. A surgery on his left ACL in college meant he had to approach that portion of the event with some caution, which paid off with a strong finish.

As Day 1 of competition winds down and the athletes go into recovery mode, they all are looking forward to what tomorrow’s workout brings.

Thompson, Schrader and Hooten agree – the next two days will be painful, but worth it.


Event 2 was a battle in each heat for the finish that left the female athletes sprawled out on the ground at its finish. Who came off the row and pistols first was consistently insignificant in final times. It was definitely how fast they could handle the 135-pound power cleans that determined the winners. Heat 3, stacked with the highest qualifying women from the Open was definitely one to watch, with nine out of top 10 finishes among its competitors.

Christy Phillips was first off both the row and the pistols being chased closely by Jenn Jones. "I had this sinking feeling at rep 15 … I think (Jones) is passing me," Phillips says.

In the lane beside her, Jones was banging out the hang power cleans. "I wasn't the first off the row or first off the pistols … but the cleans made up for that," Jones says.

Jones took another 1st place finish with a time of 12:54. Right behind Jones was Wagner. As Wagner and Phillips battled for 2nd, it was clear that both were crowd favorites. Wagner saw Phillips and Jones get to the bars first and thought, ‘I can make this happen I can catch up to them.’

Wagner took 2nd with a time of 13:28. "I did even better then I thought," she says. Phillips followed behind Wagner at 13:45. Phillips says she realized a year ago that she needed to work on repping moderately heavy weight like the hang power cleans in this event. Although she has worked on it and has gotten better ,she still believes that's where things broke down on Event 2.

Gretchen Kittelberger and Michelle Crawford came in 3rd and 4th respectively behind Phillips.

At the end of Day 1, the biggest news on the Leaderboard for the women is Jones. After a 4th place tie at the 2011 Regionals, Jones is showing she means business when it comes to qualifying for the Games this year. She is in 1st place with her sweep of Event 1 and 2, and has a Regional record for Event 1. Behind Jones, right in the top three where all expect her is Phillips. Phillips is a little disappointed after day one. "I wanted to win a workout in day one, hopefully it will motivate me in day two," she says. In 3rd place is, Kittelberger. "It was a solid first day. It wasn't spectacular, but you just need solid," she says. The top five are rounded out by Michelle Crawford in 4th and Emily Pale in 5th. Wagner is solidly in 6th.


Think CrossFit is all about physical ability? Well team Event 2 taught us strategy matters. Teams went with varying approaches to set their athlete order, which ended up being the limiting factor for many that placed lower in the standings.

The workout required each member of the four-person team to complete a 1,000-meter row, 25 pistols, and 15 hang cleans (225/135 pounds). Practice helped teams decide. Whether it was both women first, both men first or mixed up, the teams at the top of the pack put their fastest rower first to get them on to the pistols quickly and their most consistent athlete in the cleanup spot.

CrossFit Wilmington bested the rest of the field by 31 seconds with a time of 17:31. They timed their athletes in practice and decided to put Dawn Hutchison at the end because she could clean the 135-pound faster than the guys could clean their 225-pound Hutchison, who competed as an individual in 2009 and 2010 and is back this year for team competition, blew through her cleans knowing that when she finished, the clock would stop. “I was trying to keep my breathing under control,” she says. “I saw the guy on the team beside us on the cleans before me and I told myself to catch him.”

Next across the finish line was CrossFit Explode at 18:02. This is the team’s first trip to Regionals. They put their men in the first two places because they are the fastest rowers. Leah Bednarek, still in her first year of doing CrossFit, went third, followed by team leader Lauren Krygowski, who was confident she could crank out the 15 hang cleans quickly.

RAW Training from Pittsburgh claimed 3rd in this workout just four seconds behind Explode at 18:06. RAW was the top team out of last year’s Mid Atlantic Regional and now is back at the top of the Leaderboard. With three returning athletes from 2011, Amy Butteri, RAW co-founder and coach, said they knew they needed to focus on building strength. “We wanted to increase the amount of weight we could push overall.”

After first two workouts, the rankings have CrossFit Greensboro, RAW Training, and CrossFit Explode at the top.