February 28, 2012
Week One in Review: Australia
By CrossFit


The announcement of the first Open workout was met with mixed reaction down under. At the end of the day though, no one can argue with seven minutes of burpees as an inclusive test of capacity, and a great opener for this year’s competition

As a region, Australia has punched above its weight in Week 1, with our women representing 11 percent of the world’s top 100 results, our men representing 8 percent and seven of our teams in the top 100.

The nature of 12.1 suggested we were always going to see some new names at the top of the Leaderboard. However few would have suggested that we would only see one name from last year’s regionals in the top ten, as was the case in the Men’s category. That name belongs to Jerome McKittrick who finished 42nd at the 2011 Australia Regional. In fact, with his 30th place finish in last year’s Open, McKittrick was the only man from this week’s top 10 to finish inside the top 100 in 2011.

The Australia Region leader after the first event is Craig Jennings, with a very impressive 148 burpees that ranks him 5th in the world. Jennings made huge gains since finishing 112th in Australia in last year’s Open. Behind him tied for 2nd is Brady Payne and Donavan Kirk, both with 144 reps and ranked 17th in the world. 

Some of the names not in the top 10 for this week include Chris Hogan in 59th with 127, Rob Forte in 16th with 134, Brendan Southwick in 46th with 129, and in 202nd place with 119 burpees is Jason Haywood. All these names were top five finishers from the 2011 Australia Regional, so expect to see them climb the Leaderboard in the coming weeks.

There were also some new names in the Women’s category this week, but fewer surprises.  Denae Brown and Linda Thomas finished in top spot with 135 and tied for 8th in the world rankings. Just one rep back and tied for 14th in the world is CrossFit newcomer Mel Cupitt from CrossFit Queanbeyan, who got 134 reps. Cupitt is the real surprise packet for week one in Australia, having been CrossFitting for just two weeks. With a background in competitive swimming and physical therapy, Cupitt was not happy with her initial effort of 134 and went 133 and 131 over the next two days trying to improve on her score.

In 4th with 132 burpees is Penny Kemp, training out of the firebreather factory, Schwartz’s CrossFit Melbourne. Kemp has only been doing CrossFit since May 2010, but is certainly one to watch this year. Rounding out the region’s top five is Taryn Stratten of last year’s Regional winning affiliate team, CrossFit Gold Coast.

Another new name in the women’s top 10 is Brimlea-Jane (BJ) Smyth, who is tied with Amy Dracup for 6th with 128 reps. With her athletic background in adventure racing, rugby, and ironman, among other things, BJ competed in the Open last year, but has dialed in the focus for this year’s competition.

New Zealand and in particular Functional Strength CrossFit are well represented in the women’s category with stable mates Emma Collins and Pip Hale finishing 8th (126) and 9th (125) respectively.

From last year’s top five, Ruth Anderson Horrell is in 30th with 116, Amanda Allen is 28th with 117, Eve Neville is 20th with 119, and Megan Smith is 133rd with 104 burpees.

It is no surprise to see Schwartz’s CrossFit Melbourne with their amazing depth as the current leader in the Team category on 781 and ranked 3rd in the world. CrossFit Townsville’s Tropic Thunder is in 2nd with 751. However, the big mover in the Team competition so far appears to be Functional Strength CrossFit in Auckland, sitting in 3rd place in the region and 16th in the world.

Our top Master’s athletes are also off to a good start in this year’s open with Sue Oakman (124 reps) in 6th, and Russell Kapper (120 reps) 2nd in the world in their respective categories.

Love them or hate them, strength or weakness, most people are happy to see the back of seven minutes of burpees and are anxiously waiting to see what 12.2 will bring.