March 11, 2013
Week One in Review: Central East
By Josh Bunch

Repeat CrossFit Games champion, Rich Froning, sits atop the Leaderboard in Central East. Danielle Sidell leads the women with an impressive 204 reps on 13.1.

The 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games season started with a 17-minute couplet of snatches and burpees. It was the love child of last year’s first two Open workouts: seven minutes of burpees (12.1) and a 10-minute snatch progression at increasingly heavy weights (12.2).

When CrossFit Games Director, Dave Castro, announced the workout live on the Games site, top competitors Dan Bailey and Scott Panchik laughed nervously. The worldwide CrossFit community had anticipated the return of the seven minutes of burpees, but no one had guessed the burpees would be combined with such a technical movement as the snatch.

By the end of the live stream, men worldwide had two numbers to beat — 194 for Scott Panchik and 190 for Dan Bailey — and the Central East Leaderboard had two entries.

As always, CrossFit competitors rose to the challenge and put in mind-bending scores. Kristan Clever of Southern California put in the top women’s score with 211 reps (21 snatches at 120 lb.), and Neal Maddox of Northern California put in the top men’s score with 199 reps (nine reps at 210 lb.).

The Central East Region, the home of Games champions Rich Froning Jr. and Graham Holmberg, and the second fittest woman on Earth, Julie Foucher, is known as one of the toughest. Let’s see how the competition played out in our region.


For a couple of days, Scott Panchik held tight to the top position on the Central East Leaderboard. One hundred and ninety four reps wasn’t just good on the region level, it was exceptional on a worldwide scale. But, alas, it didn’t last. On Friday afternoon, the two-time defending champion, Rich Froning Jr., took on the workout at his box, CrossFit Mayhem.

At the time, Maddox had already turned in his score of 199 reps. The champ had two numbers to chase: five reps at 210 to win the Central East, or 10 reps at 210 to win worldwide.

Froning had his attempt streamed to the CrossFit Media office via Facetime. For the first half of the workout, Froning slowly and methodically moved through the burpees and light snatches, 40 to 60 seconds behind Panchik’s pace. However, once he got to the set of 30 165-lb. snatches, the champ quickly caught and passed Panchik. He knocked out the final 10 burpees before slowly loading the barbell with 210 lb. In the time remaining, Froning attempted the weight nine times, but missed two, leaving him with 197 completed reps, first in the Central East, and second worldwide.

Lying on the floor after the workout, the champ looked exhausted.

“Combining those two workouts doubled the pain,” Froning says.

When the workout closed on Sunday night, the Central East Leaderboard had Froning in first (197), Panchik in second (194), and newcomer Derek Robinson in third (192).

Nine men from the Central East (ranked fourth-12th) finished with 190 reps (zero snatches at 210 pounds). The tiebreaker was the time when they finished the 30 snatches at 165 lb. In this workout, every second counted. Newcomer Mitch Barnard (fourth) edged out the sixth fittest man, Dan Bailey (fifth), by 16 seconds.

Our region, as we all know, is deep. Twelve men from the Central East scored 190 reps or better. The only other region that came close to that number is Southern California, with 10 men who topped 190.  

The most notable, of course, is always the unexpected. In the case of 13.1, that’s Robinson who bested CrossFit Games athletes such as Nick Urankar, Marcus Hendren and Holmberg. The 33-year-old former Georgetown football player trains out of his garage, and says his biggest strength is strength. He tips the scales at just less than 230 pounds, and has individually qualified for Regionals the last two years running. He says the Games are a long shot, “but this sport is too much fun not to give it hell.”


Two men from the Central East got the honor of performing the workout live, but one woman from the Central East got the honor of showing the world how it’s done. The second fittest woman on Earth, Julie Foucher, demoed Open Workout 13.1.

Although she says she will not be able to compete in 2013 due to medical school commitments, Foucher put in a competitive score of 195 reps. That number held the top of the Central East Leaderboard for more than 24 hours.

On Thursday, CrossFit Cornerstone’s, Jen Osborn, had her go at the snatch and burpee couplet. Osborn, who finished ninth at the Central East Regional last year, took first place from Foucher with 197 reps. But again, victory would be short-lived.

Once score submission closed on Sunday evening, Danielle Sidell of NFT CrossFit in Norwalk, Ohio, was in first with 204 reps (14 at 120 lb.), Mikki Nuccio was in second with 202 (12 reps at 120 lb.) Molly Martin was in third with 201 reps, Jennifer Smith was in fourth with 198 reps, and Anna Rode was in fifth with 197 reps and a 14-second pace faster than Osborn.

Danielle Sidell is a new name on the Leaderboard. The 24-year-old former track star at the University of Akron isn’t new to competing. In fact, last year she was part of SPC CrossFit’s affiliate team, which took second place in the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games Affiliate Cup.

Sidell’s one-year CrossFit anniversary just passed and she says 13.1 was a great gift.

“The weight was light, and I have good muscle endurance so I wasn’t worried at all,” Sidell says.

And just in case you were curious, 13 female competitors from the Central East got reps with the final 120-lb. bar, besting their male counterparts by one competitor.


As expected, the world’s biggest CrossFit affiliate team competition to date is heated from the start. The Central East alone offered 182 team scores, nearly 70 more than last year.

The fireman-owned and operated CrossFit Future, alongside Friendship CrossFit were off to an early led. But as minutes turned to hours, more and more competitors gathered to perform 13.1 changing the Leaderboard landscape considerably.

With four weeks of Open workouts yet to be announced, team CrossFit Maximus takes an early lead in the Central East with 1,080 reps. That’s nearly 20 reps better than CrossFit Polaris in second, and almost 30 reps better than third place’s CrossFit Naptown Competition Team.

It’s easy to tell the difference a year can make by looking at the Leaderboard. But, as we all know too well, what a difference a workout can make. Be it for individuals or teams. And there is a lot of working out left to do.

It’s early in the season and the CrossFit stage is just getting set. The true characters, in all their fitness glory, still have time to get their acts together.