April 5, 2013
Week Five in Review: Southern California
By Kenni Palmer

Fewer than 300 men and 40 women in SoCal made it past 90 reps of thrusters and chest-to-bar pull-ups within the first four minutes of 13.5, and only three SoCal men surpassed the 180-rep mark.

That’s a wrap folks! The last of the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games Open Workouts are complete. Record numbers of CrossFitters in Southern California participated in this year’s Open, tackling the Inception rendition of chest-to-bar Fran: how many layers of, and how deep into, this CrossFit benchmark could you get?

Fewer than 300 men and 40 women in our region made it past 90 reps of thrusters and chest-to-bar pull-ups within the first four minutes of 13.5, and only three SoCal men surpassed the 180-rep mark.

This week wasn’t just about the leaders, though. This week symbolized the close of a worldwide event that saw numerous first-time competitors, and gave CrossFitters of all abilities the chance to make and achieve new goals. From PRs on snatches, to first muscle-ups and chest-to-bars, plenty of SoCal participants surpassed their expectations.

Steve Ashkar, ranked 103rd in the Masters Men 40-44 Division in SoCal, reflects on his very particular Open goal at the end of this week.

“I have been using Bob Harper as my rabbit to chase in the Open,” Ashkar says. “I've been watching him on TV for about seven years and I thought he was the ‘Fittest Man Alive.’ As I checked his scores several times a week, I discovered it was I, and not him, who was the ‘Fittest Man Alive,’ at least between the two of us. I waited with baited breath to see what his score would be for 13.5. I was left disappointed, as his score was never posted. Did he feel my heat? Was it too much for him? Where are you, Bob? I guess I win. Meet me at the Games for redemption.”

While Ashkar celebrates his personal victory, the top-scoring athletes in the region begin to plan their strategy for facing the other badass qualifiers of SoCal at the Del Mar Fairgrounds from May 17th-19th.

Fifth place Individual female finisher, Danielle Hale, like many SoCal qualifiers, reflects positively on the 2013 Open, and is happy to be back on track preparing for Regionals.

“The Open was a blast,” she says. “Five straight weeks of nerves! Time to get back to regular training. I am so excited to be going to Regionals. Can't wait!


With a third-place finish on 13.5, Kristan Clever officially took the top position in SoCal … again. In 2012, 14 points separated Clever from second-place finisher, Andrea Ager. This year, there was only a six-point spread between the two after Clever finished third in 13.5 with 162 reps, and Ager took eighth with 149 reps.

The top five overall Individual Woman have more or less remained consistent from early on in the competition. Sweeping first place on 13.5 with 178 reps, Valerie Voboril was only two chest-to-bar pull-ups short of making it into the third tier of this workout, a feat no other woman in SoCal, and only five women in the world achieved.

Rounding out the top spots for the ladies in SoCal are Rebecca Voigt in third overall, Voboril in fourth, and Hale in fifth.


Bridges is back! 2011 Reebok CrossFit Games second-place finisher is proving at the close of the Open that he has recovered from his knee injury last year and is ready to challenge the world’s top athletes. Not only did he take first place overall in SoCal by a spread of eight points, he also nailed first place worldwide in 13.5 with 254 reps. Bridges was also first in the region for three of five workouts, and sits in third worldwide behind Rich Froning Jr. and Mikko Salo.

Following Bridges in the SoCal overall rankings is Orange County’s hometown hero, Kenneth Leverich, who tied for second on 13.5 with his training partner and friend, Ryan Fischer with 236 reps. These three gentlemen were the only people in Southern California to make it past the eight-minute marker of 13.5.

Finishing up in the top spots in SoCal are those that have consistently proven their fitness this year in the Open: Wes Piatt secured third, Bill Grundler took fourth, and Fischer scored fifth overall.


The first round of golden tickets to the Games has been handed out with the close of 13.5 this week, as the top-20 Masters in each division worldwide will bypass Regionals and head straight to the Games to test their fitness.

In the Masters Men 40-44, Jeremy Herider, who tied for third on 13.5 with 147 reps, secures an easy second place behind Grundler, and secures himself a seat in Carson, Calif., with a fourth-place worldwide finish. Grundler, as declared early on in the competition, will be competing in the Individual Men’s category at Regionals rather than Masters.

Masters Men 45-49 competitors Mike Fournier and Greg Smiley tied at the close of the Open for first overall in their division, with nine points total each. They both hit more than 80 reps on 13.5, which was the same weight and standards in this division as it was for the Individual male competitors. As they each finished within the top-20 worldwide, both Fournier and Smiley will be representing SoCal in their division at the Games.

Forty-six-year-old Cynthia Truax secured her first place overall standing (third worldwide) in the Masters Women 45-49 Division at the close of 13.5. However, Truax’s perfect streak of first-place finishes in the region was broken as Linda Leipper of CrossFit Costa Mesa beat Truax’s 84 reps on 13.5 with 88 reps.

“I was two reps shy of being able to move on into the eighth minute,” Leipper says. “I was upset with myself after the workout was over, I could have gotten those two last reps if I had more guts, if I held onto the bar longer, if my transition was a step faster, if I had a champions mentality. All those things ran through my mind, to do all that work and be short by two reps was very frustrating for me. However, I am proud of my efforts and I know that I also made my family, friends, coach and community very proud of me, too.”


In the Team division, CrossFit Invictus has made SoCal proud with not only a first-place finish overall worldwide, but also the highest score in the world on 13.5 with a cumulative total of 1,014 reps. They were 114 reps ahead of the second-place worldwide finisher, Diablo CrossFit Anejo, and every contributing team member on Invictus made it past the four minute, 90-rep marker, of this Open Workout.

This year, CrossFit Invictus is sending not one but two teams to Regionals, as their second team, Sea of Green, tied for 23rd overall in SoCal.

“The Open is always such an amazing time of year for our community at Invictus,” coach CJ Martin says. “We have some amazing athletes, and that has shown again in the standings. We also have an unbelievable support network that helps to power our athletes. The Sea of Green came out in full force for our Friday night events, and their support had a huge impact on pushing our athletes to be at their best for each of the five weeks."

Another affiliate that has two teams qualifying for Regionals is Brick CrossFit, with team Brick Nation securing third overall in SoCal, and their second team, Brick Republic, taking 17th overall.

Sandwiched between Invictus and Brick Nation for an overall ranking of second place in SoCal is Valley CrossFit. Finishing in a surprising sixth place on 13.5, this week’s Open Workout was Valley’s only SoCal placement outside of the top two. At the close of the 2013 Open, only one point separated the top two teams in SoCal — Invictus with 10 points, and Valley CrossFit with 11. Spectators are guaranteed to witness an epic battle between these two teams in Del Mar next month.