March 26, 2012
Week Five in Review: South East
By Shelby Levy

Revisiting workouts as a measure of improvement is a basic principle of the CrossFit method. So, it should have come as no surprise that the final workout of the 2012 CrossFit Open was a repeat of the final workout of last year’s Open: a 7-minute AMRAP of thrusters (65/100) and chest-to-bar pull-ups, increasing by three reps each round.

Open participants across the world could see how they progressed in a year’s time, and the strongest in the South East far surpassed their performances from 2011. Some were not crazy about the idea, but as the South East’s 4th-place finisher overall, A.J. Moore of CrossFit Delray Beach says, “I just put my head down and truck.”


On the South East Men’s Leaderboard, Irving Hernandez of CrossFit Paragon put up the most reps with 157. Hernandez, who is known for a sub-2-minute Fran time, was excited to see workout 12.5. “I love pull-ups and thrusters, and I wanted to see if I improved from last year. After I finished, I was happy with my result. All the training paid off so that made my day,” Hernandez says, having completed 15 more reps than last year.

The men’s Leaderboard experienced a shake-up as Brandon Phillips of CrossFit Kennesaw secured the top spot in the South East after posting 149 reps on 12.5. Phillips, who scored a 125 last year, was hoping to be able to do this workout again. “Improving 20-plus reps motivates me knowing I can still improve with age,” he says.

Phillips suffered an elbow injury prior to 12.5 that prohibited him from maintaining an ideal rack position on the thrusters so he was excited to find himself at the top of the region’s Leaderboard in the end. “I could not be happier with my finish in Regionals and worldwide,” he says. “But like I’ve said before, the Open is not what I train for. There are some great competitors here in the South East, and my focus is and has always been on Regionals and the Games.”

One point behind Phillips in 2nd place overall is Chase Daniels of Hard Exercise Works (139 reps). Hernandez finished in 3rd, Moore in 4th (143 reps) and Jason Ingham of CrossFit Ragnarok landed in 5th (132 reps).

Ingham, who won the South East Open last year, is ready to head back to Regionals. “I’ve learned so much since last year,” he says. “Last year’s standards and all the hype was a little overwhelming. This year, I’m way more equipped.”


Talayna Fortunato of CrossFit Real Fitness blew away the competition in the South East by posting 160 reps on 12.5. “I love pull-ups, and thrusters are on my ‘like’ list. I knew my Fran time had gotten over 20 seconds better since last year, too, so I could do better this year on the Fran ladder,” Fortunato says. She improved upon her 142 reps from last year.

Once again, Emily Bridgers of CrossFit Decatur maintained her 1st-place standing in the South East and finished in 4th place worldwide (138 reps in 12.5). “Although I have to admit I wasn’t super excited about 12.5, it was actually really cool to see the improvement from last year,” Bridgers says, having posted 125 reps in the 2011 Open.

“I couldn’t be happier with how the Open went for me and that I was able to stay consistent across all five weeks without having to redo the workouts multiple times like last year,” Bridgers says. “However, that feeling is only short-lived as this is really only the beginning, and everything is back to square one at Regionals. There is so much talent out there this year, and everyone is fighting with the same goal in mind, leaving no time to celebrate.”

Among the South East women, Fortunato follows Bridgers in 2nd, Cheryl Nasso of CrossFit Fort Pierce in 3rd (123 reps), Lindsay Bourdon of CrossFit Adrenaline in 4th (148 reps) and Sarabeth Phillips of CrossFit Tuscaloosa in 5th (137 reps).


Open Workout 12.5 was the Masters’ final chance at securing a top-20 spot in their age division to make it to the Games in July.

In the Men’s 45-49 age group, Ron Ortiz of Hard Exercise Works maintained his 8th-place position with 110 reps while Bryan Shockley of CrossFit Pulse stayed in 13th place with 126 reps. In the Men’s 50-54 age group, Brian “Brig” Edwards finished in 2nd place with 115 reps, a 14-rep improvement over last year thanks to utilizing butterfly pull-ups this year. “It is a nice feeling heading straight to the Games,” he says. “I am glad the Open is over because for me it is mentally draining and gets me away from my normal programming [following the main site].”

Charlie Clendening of CrossFit Vero Beach finished in 16th place (86 reps). In the Women’s 50-54 Division, Kelli Dean of Lightning CrossFit jumped to 9th place (92 reps). “I still don’t believe it. I am just trying to let it sink in,” she says. “I am going to take a week off, refresh and hammer away at my weaknesses. I don’t want to be afraid of anything in the hopper.”

For Diane McKinney of CrossFit North Fulton, it was a nail biter as she waited to see whether she would make it in the top 20 thanks to some late scores showing up on the Leaderboard. She ended up finishing 19th with 76 reps. “When I started in April 2011, my goal was to be able to learn how to do a pull-up. Now here I am, top 20 in the Masters Division and going to the Games,” McKinney says. “Being more of a beginner, I am humbled to be in the company of such seasoned and experienced athletes.”

Charles Sullivan of CrossFit Vero Beach moved up a spot to 9th place in the Men’s 55-59 Division (103 reps). Sullivan says he was anxious and apprehensive when workout 12.5 was released. “But I felt pretty good during the workout. I had a big improvement over last year so that felt good,” he says, having scored 88 reps last year.

Sullivan says he will continue to work on his technique and fundamental skills with the help of his coach Rob Delacruz and try to stay injury-free between now and July. In the Men’s 60-plus Division, Jim Lanier of CrossFit West Jax finished in 9th place (67 reps). “Thrusters seem harder the further you get in the Masters category – maybe it’s just my old catcher’s knees acting up,” he says. “They really whipped me this time, but I can use them as motivation to get better.”


The top of the Team Leaderboard contained some well-known names from the South East with CFNA Cockdiesel holding on to 1st place. “We celebrated our team’s kick-ass performance in this year’s CrossFit Open on Saturday night, well before the final standings came out. Going to Regionals is the only ‘W’ that matters. Back to work,” says Travis Harkey, owner of CrossFit North Atlanta.

CrossFit Hardcore was excited about its 2nd-place finish, having experienced some inconsistencies with its training. “We are going to keep following our programming, and add a little more training days. We are looking forward to being back in the arena and compete against so many great athletes,” says Adriana Grassi, owner of CrossFit Hardcore.

Finally, CrossFit Atlanta and CrossFit Paragon rounded out the top teams as they tied for third. “We’re extremely excited about finishing top-three,” says Nathan Taylor, owner of CrossFit Paragon. “12.5 repeat was a great choice. You can’t beat a nasty couplet to finish that off. We are grateful to be a part of it all.”