“It is an exciting time in the South West Region.”
Ashley Miller, photo by Robert Martin
After four weeks of the 2014 Reebok CrossFit Games Open, it’s clear anything can happen for the women of the South West.
Veteran regional competitors like Tiffany Hendrickson, Natalie McLain, Emmalee Teribery, Lindsey Cascarina and Colleen Maher have usually kept the competition anchored. However, with a few shifts, the region is up for grabs.
Two of last year’s top three women have faced challenges this year. Natalie McLain, who was second at the South West Regional and 30th at the CrossFit Games in 2013, suffered a herniated disc a month before the Open that forced her to withdraw in 2014.
“I look forward to training for 2015 Games, getting stronger, bigger and faster,” McLain said. “Good luck to my fellow competitors.”
Lindsay Cascarina finished last year’s regional in sixth place. While many thought this could have been her year, she’s sitting out of the season to mend a broken ankle.
Reigning regional champ Tiffany Hendrickson said she has not trained as much due to personal issues. You’d never guess it based on the Leaderboard.
“It might have to be a sprint at the end, but I am feeling confident I can do it,” Hendrickson said. “I know I also have a bit more of a challenge this year with new athletes moving into our region, but I’m going to be bold and say I want to defend my title.”
So far so good. Hendrickson sits in first place in the region after two top-three finishes on four Open workouts.
Emmalee Teribery, who earned the third spot to the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games, is healthy and training hard. She said she’s had to keep a delicate balance among training, family and her job as a full-time firefighter. Despite this, she’s hit PRs in her front squat, deadlift, push jerk and back squat.
“My goal is to continue to stay healthy during my CrossFit career,” she said. “Sure, I would love to make it to the Games again, and (I) continue to work on my weaknesses like weighted pistols, snatches and cleans, running, swimming, etc.”
While Teribery is currently sitting in 25th place, she’s focused on herself, not her competitors.
“I am happy for others’ (successes) in the sport—their PRs, their wins,” she said. “However, I don't spend a lot of time fixated on the others, as it would take away from my needs and focus. It’s a mental game.”
Due to some of these shifts, the door is open for other athletes to take the region.
New contenders this year include Andrea Ager, who moved to her home state of Colorado from Southern California and Amanda Goodman, who moved from the North East.
“There are a tons of impressive athletes in this region, so I know it will be an exciting weekend for everyone that participates and cheers their favorites in the stands,” said Ager, who is in seventh place after logging 198 reps on 14.4. “My goal is to qualify and represent the South West Region in the 2014 CrossFit Games, so I can prove myself amongst the fittest individuals on Earth.”
Many are happy to see Taylor Richards-Lindsay return to individual competition after competing with Hack’s Pack Ute and bringing back-to-back Affiliate Cup wins to the region.
And then there are those who have come so close to the podium year after year and will be back for more.
Amanda DeRosa, Ashley Miller, Tennil Reed, Meghan Sweet, Loree Smith and Whitney Cappellucci are all returning for another shot at the Games.
Reed set a goal to finish in the top five at this year’s regional. She’s currently sitting in fifth place, regionally.
“I think the competition in the South West Region has increased a lot since last year,” Reed said. “We had some great competitors move into the region, but it makes for a more exciting Open.”
DeRosa has been a staple in the South West since 2011. She finished the regional 10th in 2011 and 12th in 2012. She took 2013 off, but is back with every intention of making some noise.
“The competition in the South West Region continues to amaze me,” DeRosa said. “After taking last year off to have my baby boy, I realize just how competitive this region is and will continue to be.”
DeRosa sits in 11th place after four workouts.
Cappellucci started off as a strong contender last year at regionals, finishing the first two events in fifth and second place, respectively.
“Last year at regionals, I hyper-extended my elbow in Event 2 on the overhead squat, so I was forced to withdraw,” the two-time regional competitor said. “Since then, I have been working to get my overhead stability back. My ultimate goal is to qualify for the CrossFit Games this year.”
So far in the Open, she’s hanging on to fourth place.
With such long list of women racing toward the same goal, this year’s regional is proving to be even more exciting than previous years.
“Every year the competition gets stronger and the expectations of the athletes are raised,” said Miller, currently in 27th place. “A lot of high-caliber athletes have moved into the South West Region, which has made the region incredibly competitive.”
Miller added: “It is an exciting time in the South West Region.”