April 2, 2013
Winning the Games. Eventually.
By Andréa Maria Cecil

Buddy Hitchcock beat Jason Khalipa and Neal Maddox on 13.2. Now he wants more.

Top photo courtesy of John Hitchcock III. Above photo courtesy of Frank Sabala.

Buddy Hitchcock might come across sounding cocky.

With about six years of CrossFit under his belt, the 23-year-old says winning the CrossFit Games is part of his plan.

“Eventually, it’s probably going to happen,” the coach at CrossFit Excel in Manteca, Calif., says.

His coaches don’t think it farfetched.

“He has the drive and potential to become an extremely good athlete. He has developed well in a short time and he's only 23 years old,” C.J. Martin of CrossFit Invictus says.

Martin remotely coaches Hitchcock and writes his programming.

“If he continues to train hard and consistently, he can certainly progress into an athlete that will be competing for a podium spot at (the) Games.”

Hitchcock has the talent and ability to make it happen, says Nick Hobby, co-owner of CrossFit Excel and the man who introduced CrossFit to Hitchcock in 2005 as his high-school P.E. teacher.

“I think he needs to put a few more things together with that to get to (be) that top-notch Games competitor,” he adds. “I think there’s a little mental fortitude and pushing through a little bit that he still needs to work through, and have some experiences that strengthen those within him because he’s still pretty young. Physically, he has everything he needs.”

First, Hitchcock must reach the podium at the Northern California Regional.

In 2011, he placed 27th at the Regional. Last year, he finished 10th.

His nemesis: high-rep squatting.

Although Hitchcock placed no lower than 11th in five of the six events at the 2012 Regional, he placed 32nd in the workout that included a medley of back squats, front squats and overhead squats.

Likewise, Martin has programmed “a lot of heavy squatting” for him, Hitchcock says. Workouts typically comprise skill work, followed by met-cons that include rest and strength.

While Hitchcock exceeds in technical workouts where his power and explosiveness come into play, he needs more than that to be successful in competition, Martin notes.

“(It’s) essential that we develop our athletes to be proficient in every area in which they may be tested in competition,” he explains. “Our aim is to continue to develop what he was good at and also improve the areas which have held him back. Buddy is an extremely good Olympic weightlifter and it is what he enjoys doing. We have to balance that with the things that he might not have worked on as much or would shy away from on his own so that he is never unprepared or surprised in competition.”

At 5-foot-9 and 180 pounds, Hitchcock snatches nearly 280 lb. and clean and jerks nearly 320 lb., according to his Games athlete profile.

In Open Workout 13.2, he finished ahead of 2008 Games champion, Jason Khalipa, and three-time Games competitor, Neal Maddox. The workout was a 10-minute AMRAP of five shoulder-to-overheads at 115 lb., 10 deadlifts at 115 lb. and 15 box jumps on a 24-inch box.

“The kid can also jump extremely well,” Martin says, “which make box jumps a welcome movement.”

With one workout left in the Open, Hitchcock is gunning for a top-three spot at this year’s Regional.

The competition will be intense. Besides Khalipa and Maddox, Hitchcock will face other “big dogs” like Garret Fisher, Pat Barber and Blair Morrison, Hobby notes.

Hitchcock sat in seventh place in the Region as of Sunday night.

“I need to advance,” he says. “I’ve been doing this for too long.”

Hobby has high expectations for the former high-school track star.

“I saw some pretty great things in him as a young teenager. I definitively see big things in his future. He’s very well rounded. He has very few weaknesses,” he explains. “For the Open, we’re definitely looking for him to go to Regionals. That’s well within his grasp. He’s been the last two years and he’s a better athlete now than he was then.”

Hitchcock, Martin says, has the attributes to perform “extremely well” at the Regional.

“I expect that he will be pushing athletes in the top 10 of a very tough NorCal Region,” he says.