Catch up with the top athletes in the North East after Week 1 of the CrossFit Games Open.
A lot is happening in the North East after just one week of Open competition.
Austin Malleolo is making a run at a four-peat appearance at regionals, the women's field has widened, there is a baby boom at CrossFit New England and the region’s athletes hold the second best scores worldwide for both men and women at the close of 14.1.
It’s business as usual for the men, where Games veterans Malleolo, Daniel Tyminski, Eric Magee and Spencer Hendel all hope to earn an invitation to return to Carson, Calif., this summer.
Mathew Fraser, who finished the 2013 North East Regional in fifth place, is sure to give them a run for their money. He won the Kill Cliff East Coast Championship, beating both Malleolo and Games legend Chris Spealler.
James Hobart will also be competing as an individual, after three consecutive trips to the Games as a member of CFNE Team A.
“The hard part (about going individual) is overcoming the fear of letting people down,” Hobart said. “What if I compete as an individual and don't make it to the regionals or the Games? When I competed in 2009 and 2010 as an individual, I didn't perform as well as I had wanted to. I have let that rule me too much. Now it’s kind of a, ‘Hey, let's see what you got’ sort of thing that I imagine drives just about every athlete out there.”
Christian Harris, who finished sixth at the 2013 North East Regional, will not be competing this season. He suffered a complete tear of his left pectoralis major earlier this year, and is still recovering from surgery.
Craig Kenney, seventh-place finisher at the 2013 North East Regional, tested 14.1 on Monday, after coming home from the hospital with his wife and newborn son. His score of 450 reps was another reason to celebrate, as it was the best score in the North East, and second best score worldwide.
Kenney is one of only four people to have completed 10 rounds of 30 double-unders and 15 power snatches in 10 minutes. The other members of the “10 Rounds Club” are reigning Fittest Woman on Earth Samantha Briggs (472 reps), Dan Bailey (461 reps) and Drew Shamblin (450 reps).
Previous Games athletes Amanda Goodman and Mel Ockerby are both absent from this region’s roster. Goodman has moved to the South West Region and Ockerby is dealing with what she describes as “daily debilitating migraines.”
Despite their absences, the women’s field of competitors has widened.
Danielle Horan and Kaleena Ladeairous, who finished the 2013 North East Regional in first and third, respectively, and the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games in 18th and 19th, are back and on a quest for a spot on the podium.
Games athlete Jessa Lemoine will be returning as an individual this year, after competing on the Reebok CrossFit Back Bay Team last season.
Rachel Martinez will also be competing as an individual, after helping CFNE Team A to a second-place finish at the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games.
Joining the field is Games athlete Cheryl Nasso, who just relocated to the North East. Nasso finished the 2013 Open in third place in the South East Region, but did not compete at the regional. Less than a week before the regional last year, she suffered a broken wrist and other injuries as a result of breaking up a dog fight.
Fully recovered from surgery, Nasso is excited for the season in her new region.
“I think the coolest thing about the region is that I don’t really know too many people,” Nasso said. “It’s super fun to be in a region where I have no idea what to expect.”
Former professional boxer and two-time North East Regional competitor Tracy Hutt started off her season with a score of 445 for 14.1. The score was enough to earn her first place in the North East and second in the world.
Hutt, who trains with Dennis Marshall at CrossFit Garden City, said she was ecstatic when 14.1 was announced.
“I actually told Dennis two days prior, that I would love for them to bring back this workout,” Hutt said. “I love having a competition that relies only on my shoulders.”
Team Dynamix’s Christina Gloger is taking a step back from the 2014 competition.
“I have to sit out this whole season due to a torn rotator cuff,” Gloger said. “I felt that being much older than the rest of the team, and my Olympic lifting numbers not being as high as the rest of the girls, it would be better to step back, focus on getting stronger and returning as a masters athlete.”
Ben Bergeron’s CrossFit New England Team has five open spots this year.
“Kevin Montoya is coming back,” Bergeron said. “Heather (Bergeron) and Bethany (Hart) are both expecting. Derek Mohamed is retiring. We train every athlete to be ready, so if their time is called, they will be ready to step up. There is a big opportunity for our younger athletes to take the next step and become leaders and represent CFNE.”
The team from Reebok CrossFit 5th Ave finished the 2013 North East Regional in fifth place, and has added two former individual athletes to their roster this year. Affiliate owner Nate Forster is excited about their prospects.
“Ian Berger and Lauren Fleri are two great athletes and coaches,” Forster said. “I think this year, focusing on training as a team is the most important. Train as one, compete as one. We can't wait to throw down against the best athletes in our region.”