March 13, 2012
Whitney Cappellucci: Making Her Move
By Melisa Angelone

"The power I developed in rugby was easy to transfer."


Whitney Cappellucci is no stranger to hard work born out of adversity. Cappellucci, 24, played women’s rugby for the University of New Mexico-Lobos during the 2007 and 2008 collegiate seasons. During htat time, she tore both ACLs. 

Following surgery on both knees, Cappellucci was forced into an 18-month period of recuperation. A fellow team member introduced her to CrossFit as a way to keep in shape. “We arrived at CrossFit Albuquerque and our workout that day was thrusters and running,” she says. “It kicked my butt and I’ve been hooked ever since.”

Cappellucci believes her early training in rugby directly translated to the success she has achieved at CrossFit. “I love Olympic lifting,” she says. “The power I developed in rugby was easy to transfer into those fast lifts.”  

Although Cappellucci admits that following her knee surgery, she realized just how little upper body strength she had. “When I had my knee surgery, I didn’t have any choice but to focus on my upper body. That’s when I got my pull-ups and got stronger overall in the gymnastics moves.”

Following the 2011 Reebok CrossFit Open, Cappellucci had the opportunity to compete in the South West Regional as part of the team put together by CrossFit Albuquerque. That team placed 6th overall in the South West Region.

This year, however, she has decided to take a run at going individual. “I enjoy the team atmosphere so much that it was difficult for me to decide to do individual this year. (But) now is the perfect time for me to take a shot, so I'm going to see what I can do.”

Collaborating with her coach, Ben Abruzzo, Cappellucci’s training has focused primarily on strength for the past several months. “We’ve all gotten stronger here at our box,” she says. “More recently, we’ve been adding in more conditioning. My focus is to get better at gymnastics movements and my mental game. The mentality of being on the team to (going) solo has to change a little bit.”

That being said, Cappellucci again recently suffered an injury, this time to her lower back, during the first event of the 2012 OC Throwdown.

“My back still bugs me. I have a hard time doing front squats, squat cleans and thrusters,” she says. “The main lifts I can go heavy on with minimal back pain are overhead squat and snatch, so I was pumped when they announced that snatch ladder.”

She definitely proved to be true during Open Workout 12.2 where she posted an outstanding 101 snatches, just six snatches shy of Loree Smith from CrossFit SoCo and four back from Jasmine Dever, Front Range CrossFit, who knocked out 105.  

With her strong and consistent performances in the first two Open Workouts and her dedication and commitment to hard work, Whitney was poised on the cusp of breaking into the Top 60 women in the South West going into Open Workout 12.3. After posting over 9 round, 333 total rep score, she did just that. She finished up week three at 53rd overall in the South West and positioning herself nicely to continue climbing the Leaderboard going into 12.4.