February 27, 2012
Week One in Review: South West
By Neal Leitereg

What could be worse than seven minutes of burpees? (Hell, perhaps.)

This weekend marked the beginning of the Open competition in the CrossFit South West Region and what a better way to begin this season than with the pinnacle exercise of aerobic endurance: the burpee.

Quite a few new faces delivered strong first impressions as they made their way up the Leaderboard, and, in turn there were a number of top veteran athletes who slipped as a result. If anything, the parity across the board could be a sign the bar has, once again, been raised in the South West Region. But if there is one certainty, it is this: this is going to be a fun, grueling season.

Here is a rundown of the burpee action from over the weekend.


While the South West women fell short of making it into the top 20 slots in the world by a lone rep, there were a number of new faces
who registered top finishes in the region and look to push the top-returning veterans in the region.

Of the holdovers, Gayle Shalloo, Beth Guse, Amanda DeRosa, and Julie Andrew all finished within the top six during the first week of the Open, with Shalloo registering the top total for the returnees with 127.

Finishing in the top overall spot for the region was 26-year-old Natalie McLain of CrossFit Venture in Vale, Colo. McLain's 132 burpee count was best among the female athletes and four better than Front Range CrossFit's Becky Conzelman. As many may remember, Conzelman placed 23rd in the women's individuals at the 2011 CrossFit Games.

1) Natalie McLain - 132
2) Becky Conzelman - 128
3) Gayle Shalloo - 127
4) Beth Guse - 123
4) Angela Renfro - 123
6) Cortnee Childress - 121
6) Amanda DeRosa - 121
6) Sheena Hammer - 121
6) Ashley Raasch - 121
6) Julie Weldon - 121


It was a bit of mixed bag for individual men's performances over the weekend, with many of the returning athletes and projected top finishers not fairing as well as expected. 

Pacing the way for the men's bracket in the South West was Jonas Machado of Motion CrossFit. Machado, one of the top CrossFit athletes in the world, managed a total of 146 burpees for the top spot in the region, which bested 2nd-place finisher Russell Berger of CrossFit Roots by four (142) and 3rd-place finishers, Eric Hockridge and Chris Spealler, by eight (138).

Relative newcomer and CrossFit Black and Blue athlete, Devin Espin delivered a strong 7th-place showing in the opening weekend. Espin, who was pulled into the unique brand of fitness after being openly challenged by his twin sister, tallied 135 burpees and has started out on the right track of meeting his goal of making the South West Regional this season.

With 134 reps, former U.S. Army Airborne Ranger and co-owner of the newly minted CrossFit 480 outfit in Scottsdale Ariz., Derek Kneadler, finished 7th in the South West. Kneadler was tasked with the responsibility of Subject Matter Expert while serving in the 1st Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment and oversaw his platoon's physical training as part of the Ranger Athlete Warrior program.

1) Jonas Machado - 146
2) Russell Berger - 142
3) Eric Hockridge - 138
3) Chris Spealler - 138
5) Ryan Garcia - 137
6) Nick Zambruno - 136
7) Devin Espin - 135
8) Derek Kneadler - 134
9) Doug Berry - 132
9) Anthony Esplin - 132                                                                                                   


If the first week of Open competition was any indication, there appears to be a three-horse race in the South West region, with Salt Lake City CrossFit, Front Range CrossFit, and CrossFit Park City all jockeying for position in the team bracket.

Salt Lake City CrossFit sits atop the team Leaderboard after accumulating a total of 735 during the first day of the Open festivities; however, Front Range and Park City, who registered 733 each, are proving to be formidable competition. Front Range CrossFit, in particular, is once again expected to be among the best in the region after finishing 1st at last year's Regional.

1) Salt Lake City CrossFit - 735
2) Front Range CrossFit - 733
2) CrossFit Park City - 733 
4) CrossFit Verve - 721
4) CrossFit Works - 721
6) CrossFit Max Effort - 710
7) Team CrossFit loTA - 709
8) CrossFit Roots - 706
9) East Valley CrossFit - 704
10) Hacks Pack UTE - 703
Top returning men's athletes Matt Chan and Zach Forrest both managed to stay within the top 20 spots on the leaderboard.
Front Range CrossFit's Colleen Maher, a 17-year-old phenom and the 2012 USAW Jr. National Champion (63 kg), tallied 120 burpees in her first Open competition.
Scott Olson, who finished 2nd in the 55-59 age group at The Games in 2011, notched 93 burpees over the weekend.
Tiffany Hendrickson, a former two-time Big West Champion in gymnastics, was among six athletes that tied for 6th in the women's individuals with 118 burpees.
*The scores and rankings published are unofficial until Tuesdays at 5 p.m., PT.