May 6, 2012
Sense of Family: Front Range CrossFit
By Andréa Maria Cecil
With four women and two teams in the top 10 headed into Day 3, the affiliate is poised to visit Carson, Calif., yet again.
With four women and two teams in the top 10 headed into Day 3, the affiliate is poised to visit Carson, Calif., yet again.

Going into Day 3, the Women's Leaderboard in the South West is filled with the women of Front Range CrossFit.

Jasmine Dever looked to her right, then to her left.

“It was all blue,” she says.

To her right was Colleen Maher. To her left were Becky Conzelman and Kristen Olson.

All four Front Range CrossFit women were leading the pack in Workout 3, consisting of four rounds of 70-pound dumbbell snatches and sprints.

“It’s pretty sweet for all four of us to be going at the same time,” says 26-year-old Dever, who has competed in every CrossFit Games Regional event.

At the end of Day 2, Front Range women dominated the Leaderboard. Maher kept the top spot, while Dever was at No. 2 and Conzelman was 3rd. Olson was in 8th place. In the affiliate competition, Front Range’s two teams sat at the No. 2 and No. 10 spots.

“We’re exactly where we need to be. We’re exactly where I expected us to be,” says Front Range owner Skip Miller, who also is the South West Regional Director.

Although he’s has been regional director for four years now, Miller says he still has a hard time watching his athletes compete.

“I’m scowling the whole time,” he says with a laugh. “It’s always super emotional for me.”

Seventeen-year-old Maher — the USA Weightlifting Junior Nationals champion in the 63 kg weight class — says she knew going into Workout 3 that Front Range would rule the event, describing her box as strength-focused.

“I could see Jasmine. I didn’t see where I was,” Maher says. “My game plan was just to go in and do my best.”

Before Workout 4 — a combination of high-rep back squats, shoulder-to-overheads, front squats and overhead squats mixed with pull-ups — she said the squats were light enough that she thought she’d be able to cycle through them quickly.

“I just want to try to finish strong,” Maher said.

She did more than that.

Maher ended up being the only South West woman to finish the workout in the allotted time at 19:44.

Earlier in the day, she credited Miller and his wife, Jodi, for their programming.

The Front Range methodology is “completely backwards from everybody else,” Miller says.

Each training day, Front Range’s Regional competitors do a warm-up, spend time on skills work and then do a met-con that ranges between eight and 10 minutes. Afterward, athletes go into a separate weight room and do either a general Olympic lifting workout or one that is individually tailored, Miller says.

Likewise, Front Range competitors typically are at the box from 5 to 8 p.m. five days a week, he adds.

Still, the rest of the affiliate’s members — totaling 200 — do “Games-level programming,” he adds.

“I believe that if the CrossFit Games is the pinnacle of fitness, then why wouldn’t I program it that way?” Miller says.

Undoubtedly, experience plays a role. Front Range opened in April 2006 as the 55th CrossFit affiliate.

The experience of its coaching staff and athletes is “insane,” Miller says.

“Everyone knows what they’re supposed to do.”

Conzelman, who last year joined Front Range after moving to Colorado from Virginia, vouched for that.

“I’m amazed,” she eked out between heavy breaths after the final workout of Day 2.

Front Range’s owners “run a very professional operation,” says Conzelman, who competed at last year’s Reebok CrossFit Games representing Outlaw CrossFit.

“It’s great to train with the girls and the guys,” she says. “It’s a real sense of family.”