April 8, 2013
Week Five in Review: Canada East
By Chris Cooper

Camille Leblanc-Bazinet and Albert-Dominic Larouche are returning to the Canada East Regional at the top of the Leaderboard. 

Camille Leblanc-Bazinet and Albert-Dominic Larouche are returning to the Canada East Regional at the top of the Leaderboard.

Leblanc-Bazinet thrilled a sellout crowd at the 13.5 announcement in Santa Cruz, Calif. Entering the arena to a light show, fog machine and Def Leppard, Leblanc-Bazinet had only a moment's preparation for the chest-to-bar Fran. She still set a pace that was second fastest in the world days later, slowing only after Samantha Briggs failed to make the cutoff time for the third round.

“It was like being a freaking rock star while competing with some of the best in the world ... thanks you so much to HQ for giving us the opportunity to live this!" she posted on Facebook after the event.

Of the select few who came close to Leblanc-Bazinet's score was Michele Letendre, who finished with 239 reps to Leblanc-Bazinet's 244. This was Letendre's best event of the Open, but she finished a remarkable 14th overall, even with a low rank of 252nd worldwide on 13.2.

"Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face," Letendre says, quoting Mike Tyson. "For real though, I'm happy some weaknesses came out now and not later. I'm glad it's over and I'm really looking forward to the next step. Lots to do!"

Second in Canada East is Lacey Van Der Marel, who finished 17th worldwide Coincidentally, Van Der Marel's boyfirned, Jay Rhodes, also finished second on the Men's side. Both are of Outlaw CrossFit North.

"I'm happy to have finished second in the Open. I don't feel the Open is the type of workouts that I really shine on, but I am feeling confident in my abilities and looking forward to seeing what the Regional workouts are," Rhodes says. "I'm super proud of Lacey, and to our team who had a strong showing even with missing a few key athletes."

Kat Ljubicic finished fifth in the world in the Masters Women 40-44 Division, and has earned a ticket to the Games in Carson, Calif.

"Over the past few months, I've been living on peanut butter and bananas, averaging three to four hours of sleep a night, working 15-hour days and sleeping on an air mattress. My workouts for five weeks have only consisted of the Open workouts." Ljubicic says. "I never thought I would get this far, to be honest. For the next three months, I plan on doing what I do best and that is kicking my own ass. Who woulda thought that a meathead like me would get this far. I’m still shocked. Amanda Allen, Becky Conzelman, Cheryl Brost, Marcie Wells, Lisa Rendic … those are some tough, strong women!"

Kristine Andali managed 25th worldwide, and Britney Holmberg finished 32nd. The Women’s competition at Regionals could be very tight.  

The top 10 men in Canada East have shifted positions throughout the Open, but the names have been the same: Larouche, Rhodes, Brandon Crump, Charles Felx Leduc, Paul Tremblay, Simon Paquette. Matt Lefave, who competed in the CrossFit Games last year, rose slowly throughout the Open and finished 11th in the Region. Jeff Larsh, who missed the 2012 Games on a tiebreaker with Lefave, finished tied for 31st in the 2013 Open. However, Larsh was ranked 34th entering Regionals in 2012, and still finished third. Can he strike again from the back in 2013?

The top team spot in Canada East may have been in doubt early, but CrossFit Select earned the distinction with a solid performance through the Open. Their lowest rank on any week was a fourth-place finish on 13.2. L'Usine CrossFit and CrossFit Laval stayed at the top, but usual contenders like CrossFit Altitude and CrossFit Brossard slipped out of the top 10.

The total number of teams in the region nearly doubled between 2012 and 2013, but if the Open proved anything, it's that experience counts. Veterans stayed at the top of Canada East. At Regionals, CrossFit Altitude will rely heavily on their veteran leader, Jennifer Morris, who finished just out of Games contention as a Masters 40-44 athlete. This is great news for the Altitude team, which is a constant podium threat.

With tight races, veterans building through the Open and some of the top athletes in the world residing in Canada East, the 2013 Regional should be far more competitive than in 2012. Every minute — every rep — will count. The new game begins now.