March 29, 2013
Week Four in Review: Central East
By Josh Bunch

With three athletes sitting top 10 in the worldwide standings, more than any other region, the Central East men prove once again that they came to play.

Moments after Dave Castro announced the fourth workout, an ascending ladder of clean and jerks and toes-to-bars, Chris Spealler and Graham Holmberg started in.

Although Spealler only weighs 150 pounds, he moved the 135-lb. barbell more efficiently than 190-pound Holmberg. From the start, Speal push jerked while Holmberg push pressed the weight.

Speal added to his lead with fast, nearly unbroken sets of toes-to-bars. By the time the clock ticked down to seven minutes, Speal had tallied 110 reps, while Holmberg got 102 (Holmberg would later redo for a score of 107).

Let’s check out what the Central East brought to 13.4.


With three athletes sitting top 10 in the worldwide standings, more than any other region, the Central East men prove once again that they came to play.

As far as worldwide standings go, he hasn’t won a workout. However, two-time CrossFit Games champion, Rich Froning Jr., with a score of 126 reps on 13.4, remains in first place in the Open.

Three spots from him, nestled in fourth place worldwide and second within the Central East, sits Scott Panchik. And while Panchik may be second in the region’s overall standings, he’s fourth in 13.4 with a score of 121, bested by Nick Urankar and newcomer, Matt Hewett.

“It’s an honor just to be able to compete with Rich,” Hewett says about tying the champ’s 126-rep score. “He is an awesome competitor and an even better individual."

Capping the top three is 2012 Games athlete, Marcus Hendren. Hendren’s 121 reps on 13.4 may have tied Panchik and Dan Bailey, but with the consistency of his Open performances to date, he’s managed 10th in the world and third in the Central East.

“So far, I think the workouts have been tough and challenging,” Hendren says about the Open season, adding a prediction for the fifth and final workout. “I’m excited to do never ending Fran next week.”


With an average worldwide score of 47 reps, 19 reps short of the males, it appears as though 13.4 was going to favor the men. Apparently Sam Briggs, the European firefighter who happens to be first in the world of CrossFit women didn’t get that message. On her second attempt she scored 126 reps, seven reps higher than second-placed Camille Leblanc-Bazinet.

While no one in the Central East would catch Briggs or Leblanc-Bazinet, 8th Day Gym’s Alyssa Ritchey would come the closest with 117 reps.

“I sat in my bed and calculated times and figured out what I needed to speed up,” Ritchey says about watching footage of her first 102-rep attempt.

She’s says her new strategy was an unbroken round of three, six and nine on both the clean and jerks and toes-to-bars. After that, she allowed herself one break per set from the 12s on up.

As of the close of 13.4, she’s in third overall above Heather Welsh and just beneath Michelle Kinney and Jennifer Smith. Smith, the CrossFit Maximus competitor with a 13.4 score of 112 reps, has been the overall leader within the Central East since week two ended. And since 13.3, Kinney has been a slim point or two behind. But there is still one workout left, and Welsh is hoping for something we haven’t seen before.

“Something different, something a little off the beaten path from what we’ve seen in the past, like a shuttle run, bar muscle-up, overhead squat triplet along the range of five minutes,” Welsh says. “That would be fun.”


With 630 total reps scored on 13.4, the seventh-best score worldwide, CrossFit Maximus continues the lead they began with 13.1.

In the Central East overall, 20 reps behind CrossFit Maximus, CrossFit Mayhem hangs on to their second-place position, while CrossFit Polaris’s score of 607 keeps them in third.

But the real competition, at least the part that continues to be about as predictable as a hurricane, is happening beneath the top 10 spots.

Sure, CrossFit Maximus, CrossFit Mayhem and CrossFit Polaris haven’t changed much since the Open started, but the Regional ticket isn’t written yet. In fact, should the Open have ended after week three, teams like 810 CrossFit and CrossFit Shift would have continued their season. Yet, as it stands after 13.4, their season would end.

Other teams however, like CrossFit Rutherford and CrossFit Murfreesboro, gain a little ground after each Open workout. If they continue their bracket hopping through the performance of 13.5, the Regional event that looked iffy a few weeks ago will become a reality.

And just because the second fittest team in the world — SPC CrossFit — isn’t making a lot of noise, doesn’t mean they’re not making up ground. At one time they sat as low as 17th place on the Central East Leaderboard. Today, they're in seventh with one workout to go.

When the final Open workout is announced live some of us will cheer knowing we have what it takes to continue our season. Some of us will moan as we stare at a formula that we weren’t quite ready for. The rest of us will just put our heads down and get to work. After all, that’s what got us this far.