April 29, 2012
South East Games Competitors Determined
By Shelby Levy

After three days of grueling workouts, three men, three women and three teams will represent the South East this July in California.

A mix of familiar names and new faces battled it out in the Dirty South this weekend for a trip to the 2012 CrossFit Games. After three days of grueling workouts, three men, three women and three teams will represent the South East this July in California.
Brandon Phillips and Shana Alverson both will be returning to the Games for an impressive fourth time. They will be joined by Chase Daniels, who also went to the Games last year, and Talayna Fortunato, whose 4th place finish at last year’s Regionals lit a fire under her this season and propelled her to an overall win.
Jamie Gold came into the South East this year from the Central East and secured a spot to the Games with her 2nd place finish.
Guido Trinidad rounds out the men making it to California with a solid 3rd-place performance.
As for the teams, CrossFit Atlanta was determined to make it to the Games after just missing out at last year’s Regionals. They dominated the weekend and topped the Leaderboard. Newcomer team CrossFit Adrenaline will join them. Adrenaline surprised some of the more established gyms of the South East to take 2nd. Rounding out the teams is Hustle Hard Powered by HEW, the team that started the competition behind, but chipped away to take 3rd overall.
Fans packed the arena to standing-room only capacity as they cheered on these amazing athletes who had given them three days of all-out performances. The music was pumping and the crowds were on their feet as Event 6 got under way.
Regional Workout 6: Deadlifts/ Muscle-ups/ Wall Ball Shots/ Toes-to-Bar/ Farmer Carry/ Burpee Box Jumps
1. Chase Daniels (14:54)
2. Brandon Phillips (15:10)
3. AJ Moore (15:21)
Despite the mental fatigue and muscle soreness incurred during three days of tough competition, the men of the South East did not disappoint as they gave the crowd an exciting ending to Regionals. 
Chase Daniels of Hard Exercise Works, who sat in 1st place for the majority of Regionals, capped it off with another 1st place finish on Event 6. “Since last year, I’ve been training for this,” he says. “I worked on strength and went back to the basics on deadlifts, front squats, back squats, presses, muscle-ups.
This has been the best experience. The workouts this year were better than they’ve ever been,” he says. “I loved the competition, all the athletes were awesome. It feels good right now.”
CrossFit Kennesaw’s Brandon Phillips earned his fourth trip to the Games, something he shares in common with Shana Alverson. “Last year was tough, but (Shana and I) think this fourth year was the toughest one to make so far,” he says. “Everything is getting better, everything is getting heavier in the workouts and more skill-oriented. You just have to be all-round now. We may not have won any of the Regionals we’ve ever been to, but we can still be consistently high.” 
How has Phillips managed to stay so disciplined to make it back to California year after year? “You just really have to have a passion for the sport,” he says. “It’s what I do all day. When your whole life is based around fitness and teaching others to be fit, you have to lead by example.”
Phillips finished Event 6 in 2nd place and secured the second spot in the final standings.
Guido Trindad of Peak 360 CrossFit appeared to have trouble with the farmer carry in what he called the worst workout of the Regionals, but still finished it in 5th place and secured final spot to the Games. He said he couldn’t believe that he has made it to the Games. “This is surreal. It really hasn’t sunk in to me yet,” he says.
AJ Moore of CrossFit Delray Beach entered the workout with something to prove after a disappointing Day 2. He finished the workout 3rd, just beating out Irving Hernandez on the muscle-ups for an exciting finish. Placing 3rd brought him up in the final rankings to end up 6th overall. 
Just four seconds behind Moore, Irving Hernandez of CrossFit Paragon took 4th in Event 6 and finished Regionals in 4th overall.
Dominick Maurici of Caution CrossFit entered the day in 2nd place overall and leaves in 5th after a disappointing Event 5. His mental exhaustion was apparent as he struggled to make it through the final event.
Jason Ingham, owner of CrossFit Ragnarok, has had two strong Open performances, winning it for the South East in 2011 and finishing 5th this year. Last year, he came in 26th at Regionals, and this year he improved by finishing 12th. “Every year is a learning experience,” an upbeat Ingham says. “This year was a little different because we sent a team here so I spent a lot of my time focusing on the team and getting them ready. But every year, we’re going to get better and better and keep representing the South East and doing it big.”
Overall (Day 3)
1. Chase Daniels
2. Brandon Phillips
3. Guido Trinidad
Regional Workout 6: Deadlifts/ Muscle-ups/ Wall Ball Shots/ Toes-to-Bar/ Farmer Carry/ Burpee Box Jumps
1. Talayna Fortunato (17:04)
1. Emily Bridgers (17:04)
3. Shana Alverson (17:06)
The women ended Regionals with a bang after a head-to-head finish in Event 6 by Talayna Fortunato of CrossFit Real Fitness and Emily Bridgers of CrossFit Decatur. The two athletes made it to the second farmer carry and ended up tying for 1st place. 
Fortunato’s strong finish further secured her domination all weekend. She took 1st place overall with two 1st place finishes, three 2nd places and a 5th. The next closest competitor was 12 points behind. 
It was “sweet redemption” for Fortunato, who finished in 4th place at last year’s Regional. “I knew after looking at the WODs, I didn’t have to be superhuman,” she says. “You have to do what you have to do. It’s just like a normal workout over the weekend in the gym.”
Jaime Gold of CrossFit Affliction finished the workout in 4th place and was able to keep the 2nd-place finish overall that she had a stronghold on all weekend. Last year, Gold surprised the Central East by making it to the Games, where she finished 26th. “All of my hard work paid off, and I showed that last year was not a fluke. I proved myself as a competitor,” Gold says.
Without a doubt, the story of the South East Women’s competition has to be Shana Alverson of CrossFit East Decatur, who will be going to California for an incredible fourth time. 
Alverson smoked through Event 6, finishing it in 3rd, which also gave her 3rd place overall. She was emotional as she left the arena. “That was a ‘Come-to-Jesus Workout’ where you actually die a little bit, and you see Jesus, and he says you have to go back and finish the workout,” she says in tears. “It is a miracle every year.”
Alverson was upset Saturday over a somewhat disappointing Day 2, but came back Sunday ready to fight for the podium. “My coach, Doug (Chapman), and I have a new ritual before every workout,” she says. “The score is 0-0 so it can be me versus the workout. I can enter it in with a fresh mind. We were ready to go again.”
Emily Bridgers, who put herself on the map by winning the CrossFit Games Open for the South East and finishing 4th in the world, leaves Regionals in 4th place overall. “It feels disappointing, especially with a good finish,” Bridgers says, after tying for 1st place in the final event. “I learned there is still a lot to learn in year two. I’ll be back, don’t worry.” 
Last year’s Regional winner, Leah Polaski of CrossFit Atlanta, finished the final workout in 6th place and ends the day in 5th overall. “I was happy with my performance. I can’t be disappointed. If I left something out there, I’d be upset,” she says. “There are amazing athletes this year. New ones and ones that worked on their weaknesses. I have nothing to shed tears over.”
Sarabeth Phillips of CrossFit Tuscaloosa started Regionals with a 1st place finish in Event 1 and ends her Games experience in 6th place overall. When asked whether she was disappointed in her performance, she said “Absolutely. Yesterday was very hard. I learned a lot about myself and things that I will take home, reevaluate, make it better, and come back stronger than ever.”
Cheryl Nasso of CrossFit Fort Pierce, who unforgettably won a spot on the podium at last year’s Regionals, will not be making it back to the Games. After struggling with her muscle-ups during Event 6, she finished 13th in that workout and 10th overall. Nasso revealed she was having an issue with her left shoulder prior to Regionals, but was hoping to work through it. “It was a good experience,” she tearfully says. “I liked this year better than last year. I learned more about myself and what I need to work on. Now I have a fresh start for next year.”
Overall (Day 3)
1.Talayna Fortunato
2. Jaime Gold
3. Shana Alverson
Team Regional Workout 6: Muscle-ups/ wall-ball shots/ buddy dumbbell carry/ box Jumps
1. CrossFit Atlanta (16:00)
2. CrossFit Vida Brickell (18:51)
3. Gardens CrossFit (19:53)
Twelve teams lined up on the arena floor ready to begin the final workout of the day and leave their mark on the South East Regional. Not surprisingly, CrossFit Atlanta continued their Regional domination taking 1st place in the event by a long shot. 
The team was ecstatic about making it back to California. “Ken (Gall, team member and coach) and I have been working with everybody putting out our programming the whole year,” Mike Giardina says. “We program for Regionals to do well here. Things came out that luckily we experimented with, and it came out in our favor.” 
The team, which has been programming for Regionals since last summer, will have some down time and then begin to build back up for the Games in July. “The Games’ volume is going to be pretty interesting so we will do a little more volume as we approach,” Giardina says. 
“For Games training, we will add things like rope climbs, prowlers, sand bags. They like to have things normalize for the Regionals, but not the Games,” Gall says.
CrossFit Vida Brickell took 2nd place in the event, which helped bring them to 4th place overall. “I am very happy we got 2nd place in this WOD. We did the best we could have done. We’re unhappy with the results, but we have to keep fighting,” team member Larissa Costa says.
Gardens CrossFit, which made its debut at Regionals this week, finished 3rd in Event 6, and 5th overall. Team members said their experience was “surreal.” At the end of the first day, the team sat in 2nd place, but the heavy weights in workouts on Day 2 brought the team down in the rankings. “This is inspiration for next year,” Miki Carey says. “Our girls need to go bigger.”
Despite struggling with muscle-ups and the pull-up holds, CrossFit Adrenaline came in 4th in the event and will be heading to California having finished 2nd overall. “It was bicep strength, nothing but bicep strength,” team member TJ Menerey says. “Your grip didn’t go, but with all the pulls of the muscle-ups and all the pulls in the pull-ups yesterday, your biceps are just gone.”
Team member and owner of CrossFit Adrenaline, Lindsay Bourdon, who placed 4th in the Open but opted for team, was pumped with how they did. “It feels really good. (It’s our) first time competing all together, the four of us,” she says. “We’ve all decided that we do much better all together than individual. We’re a great team. It’s like a family.”
Hustle Hard Powered by HEW rounds out the top three for the South East. The team says they came out slow at Regionals, but established themselves as the workouts progressed. “We’re in,” Jonathan Adams says. “We just wanted to enjoy the last WOD. It was a great experience.”
Heartbreak came for CFNA Cockdiesel, which was in 2nd place in the final workout going into the women’s last two muscle-ups. Unable to complete the muscle-ups, CFNA tied for 7th and ended Regionals in 6th place. The team was down one member, who stayed home for the arrival of his new baby. “We had high expectations,” Brandon Bergin says. “But we knew coming into this weekend that it would be a challenge.”
Overall (Day 3)
1. CrossFit Atlanta
2. CrossFit Adrenaline
3. Hustle Hard Powered by HEW