July 18, 2013
South East Masters Women Heading to the Games
By Billy Goodson

Meet the Masters women representing the South East at the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games.

The battle for those precious few spots allotted to Masters athletes is over. For those who finished the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Open in the top 20 worldwide, the focus is now on the Games.

The South East Region is represented well with past Games veterans and newcomers, all with the same goal of reaching the podium.

Masters Women 40-44

The South East is represented by one athlete in this division — Fortune Santos of CrossFit Port Saint Lucie. Although this is her first trip to the Games and her first time competing as a Master, Santos, 42, is far from a rookie. She competed as an individual female in the South East Sectionals in 2010 and the South East Regionals in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

With the ability to compete against women half her age, Santos hopes to be in prime condition for a shot at the podium.

“I have been trying to make it to the CrossFit Games since 2009,” she says. “My dreams of being at the CrossFit Games have been in my heart and mind every day since.”  

Masters Women 50-54

The Women’s 50-54 Division is represented by Colleen Fahey and Kelli Dean.

Fahey, 50, of CrossFit Black Box, is a former professional rugby player and has been CrossFitting for more than three years. She finished the Open in fifth place worldwide.

“CrossFit has really opened my eyes to my overall fitness and nutrition,” Fahey says.

Fahey receives programming from Katie Chasey at RXBound, and her training includes track days, strength, skill work and met-cons.

“When I can, I love joining in CrossFit Black Box’s group (workouts) if they fit into my program,” she says. “I'm extremely proud to have made it to the Games this year. Of course, I'm hoping to make it to the podium and represent the South East to the best of my abilities. My training is right on track and I'm feeling strong.”

Kelli Dean, 51, of Lightning CrossFit, was reluctant to try CrossFit just two years ago. Desperately wanting to lose weight and get in shape, she finally agreed to try CrossFit with her husband.

“I hated everything he asked me to do, so it was not without a significant amount of kicking, screaming and tears that I learned new moves and endured the workouts,” she says.

After 18 months and just before her 50th birthday, Dean had shed 30 pounds and was in the best condition of her life.

After qualifying for the Games last year, but withdrawing due to an injury, Dean’s eighth-place finish in this year’s Open is giving her another chance to compete.

Masters Women 55-59

Gabriele Schlicht and Christi Warren are both vying for the podium in the Women’s 55-59 Division.

Schlicht, 55, owns and coaches at CrossFit Deerfield Beach. She has been doing CrossFit for six years and is a Games veteran having competed in the 2010 CrossFit Games in the debut of the Masters competition where she finished in second place. She made a return trip to the Games in 2011, finishing in third place in the Masters 50-54 Division. Schlicht is headed back to the Games in 2013 with a vengeance.

“My goal is to finish with first place,” she says.

After dominating the Open with a first-place finish worldwide, she appears ready for the challenge.

Christi Warren, 55, is an athlete out of CrossFit Real Fitness where she trains beside last year’s third fittest woman on Earth, Talayna Fortunato.

“Interestingly, Talayna Fortunato and I have been close friends back before she was a CrossFit medalist,” Warren says. “We are both very supportive of each other, and Talayna has helped me so much. After this year's Open, she opened the door with her coach, Doug Katona, for my programming.”

The Games will be Warren’s first CrossFit competition other than the Open, which she finished 10th worldwide.

“My goal is to make my coaches and my friends proud. The finals will be a memorable life experience,” she says.

Masters Women 60+

The sole representative in the Women’s 60+ Division is Susan Wallis of CrossFit Duval. Wallis, 60, has completed 36 Ironman triathlons since the age of 38 and hopes to benefit at the Games from her past experience in endurance sports.

“She is one of the strongest people I know, mentally and physically,” says Chrissy Wallis Henry, Wallis’ daughter and the owner of CrossFit Duval.

Wallis says moving the prescribed weight efficiently will be the key to a strong showing at the Games. She comes into 2013 “stronger than last year” and ready to face the challenge of the Games.