"The 2012 Australia Regional will set the stage for a number of battles. Those of which will include a group of 10 men, five women and five teams from New Zealand wanting to claim the title of Fittest Kiwi."
It could be a gutsy performance to claim a place in the finals, a personal record broken, a first time Regional experience or even a little Trans-Tasman rivalry. The 2012 Australia Regional will set the stage for a number of battles. Those of which will include a group of 10 men, five woman and five teams from New Zealand wanting to claim the title of Fittest Kiwi.
Ten New Zealand men have qualified for the Australia Regional. Ben Thompson leads the way as the highest ranked Kiwi, currently sitting in 7th place for the region.
However, 8th place competitor Kevin Manuel hasn’t given him much breathing room. Nor has Aaron James (11th), Luke McGruer (12th) or Darren Ellis (16th). They all are athletes with potential to deliver when it counts … on game day.
In the women's competition, highest ranked Kiwi Ruth Anderson Horrell is sitting in 3rd place for the region. Horrell finished 31st in the 2011 Reebok CrossFit Games and 2nd at the 2011 Australia Regional behind Amy Dracup. She will be focused on securing a place at the Home Depot Center for the CrossFit Games in July.
Watch out for some fierce competition among fellow Kiwi athletes, Jennifer James (18th), Phillipa Hale (19th), Ekaterina Tabakova (22nd) and Bailey Rogers (43rd).
The team event is unpredictable and therefore an exciting one to follow. As the CrossFit Games transforms from the Open into the Regionals, the faces of affiliate teams will change too … or will they?
CrossFit New Zealand is currently the highest ranked Kiwi team. Strong performances in the Open resulted in a 12th place finish in the region and three team members, Darren Ellis, Fale Lea’aetalafo’ou and Mike Rankin, all qualifying for the individual Regional competition. However, it’s been decided that Lea’aetalafo’ou and Rankin will stay with their team in Wollongong, while Ellis will compete as an individual.
CrossFit Dunedin finished in 15th place, with individual athletes Ben Thompson and Bailey Rogers contributing to the team score. A similar situation emerged in 25th placed MANA (CrossFit Mana) whose top performers, Aaron and Jennifer James, are both choosing to compete as individuals.
CrossFit Birkenhead finished in 27th place and will be the sole New Zealand team not losing an athlete to the individual competition, a strong position to be in. We will see some new faces on the Mount CrossFit team though. They placed 28th in the Open while qualifying three members Luke McGruer, Mahdi Te Heuheu and John Templeton as individuals.
The game has definitely changed in New Zealand.