The 2011 Carolina Fitness Challenge
Some of you may or may not have been aware that, over the previous weekend, athletes from North and South Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia competed in the 3rd annual Carolina Fitness Challenge, a competition designed to acknowledge the finest athletes in the Carolinas and surrounding. Among the competitors were athletes of every breed: Male and female, old and young, rookie and elite, they all came with fire in their eyes and adrenaline in their blood. It was an event capitalizing on the spirit of competition through mutual passion for suffering, with the athletes coming together under an unmistakable bond of friendship that seems to be unique among the CrossFit community.
Present at the competition were welcome and familiar faces, faces from CrossFit Games past such as Zach Brock, Steve Pinkerton, Rory Hanlin, and the juggernaut Nate Schrader, who dazzled the crowd with incredible feats of strength. Comrades from the coast like the charming Isaiah Ybarra and CF Ocean Isle Beach’s beautiful Karen Candia, brought with them familiar smiles to match our screams. The ever present eyes of coaches like CF Charlotte’s Andy Hendel and Eternal’s own Josh Elmore gave constant, firm, and calculated guidance to the athletes as they hacked out over 12 hours of soul-shattering wods. It was an event that truly brought out the best the southern coast had to offer. Among them were CrossFit Eternal’s own team of dragon slayers: “Genetic” Michelle Crawford, Kelsey “the Mighty Midget” Elmore, Diamond Dave Borelli, and Sean “DeceptiSean” Catto,and a second-to-none coaching staff of Seth “Cpt. Underpants” Lingafeldt, Andrew “Hath” Hathaway, and the Jedi Master himself, head coach Josh Elmore.
The day began with a chaotic blend of strength and endurance, with over 200 athletes from the men, women, and masters divisions competing over the course of several hours. Wod 1 consisted of: 12 minute AMRAP of 20 plate squats (45/25), 20 overhead walking lunge with plate, and 20 plyometric hand release push ups (crossing over the plate), with a sprint back to the begining. CrossFit Eternal tasted domination, each athlete churning out over 4 rounds each, skirting a 5th. Event 2, the day’s test of strength and technical skill, required a max ground to overhead within 3 minutes. Each athlete gutted out amazing numbers, with game-day PRs from Elmore and Catto. Under the constant guidance and encouragement of Coach Josh Elmore, along with Seth and Hath, all 4 of the Eternal’s easily qualified for the 3rd event of the day… a horrifying triplet/AMRAP wod of: 21/15/9 reps of SlamBall-WallBall shots (30/20), Deadlift (275/185) and Burpees, with a 2 min AMRAP of Toe2Bar upon completion of the triplet.
Event 3 was, without a doubt, a true test of the CrossFit heart. Those who had managed to fight their way into the third event quickly dropped like flies in the face of combined overwhelming weight and with the unfamiliarity of engaging in heavy WallBall shots with a cumbersome SlamBall. Yet even in the face of fearsome competition and a hellish wod, team Eternal engaged with all their heart. Elmore and Crawford were the first to attack, with Crawford crushing the competition with ease and a dominating 1st place finish. Elmore, despite being fresh in her training cycle and under incredible strain from the overwhelming weight of the Deadlifts and WallBalls, also managed to fight her way into final round among the top 10 women. Team Eternal’s men, Borelli and Catto, faced intense competition going in to the 3rd event. The wod became a violent slug-fest for each of the athletes as they jockeyed for a top 10 spot for the final round. In the end Borelli, despite incredible fortitude and a near-psychopathic pain tollerence, was narrowly edged out by only 2 spots. Catto managed a place among the top 10.
Exhausted, hungry, and in intense physical pain, the men and women of the final round prepared to take on a monstrous combination of speed and endurance: a 100 Double-Under buy-in, immediately followed by a Double-Fran of 90 Pull-Ups, 90 Thrusters (95/65). With Elmore and Crawford again leading the charge, the wod commenced. Despite an already commanding lead over her utterly outmatched competition, Crawford again showed complete domination over the athletes with an incredible 11 minute finish. Elmore, well within her element, also showed amazing prowess as she surged past her once-confident competitors and secured a powerful 6th place finish.
Without the advantage of having Borelli by his side, Catto donned his kilt and engaged wod 4. With the loving encouragement from his team, friends, and family, Catto managed to fight through the clutches of the horrifying Double Fran, and secure a 6th place finish along with his tiny juggernaut sister, Kelsey. When the dust settled and the day was done, Team Eternal had delivered one of the mightiest performances of the evening, with all 4 of her athletes placing among the top. Among them included the fittest woman in the region, MICHELLE CRAWFORD!
All of us have greatness within us. Godlike qualities that give us great strength in times of peril. But it’s all for naught without proper guidance. On this I acknowledge the coaching staff of CrossFit Eternal: Steffie Fiore, Seth Lingafeldt, and Danielle Fowler, who dedicate themselves to the success of the Box. They go far out of their way to pass on their knowledge to the CrossFit community, and are an integral cog in the CF Eternal machine. But most of all, Head Coach Josh Elmore is a living example to what good coaching truly means. Over the past 90 days he has taken a rag-tag collection of misfit athletes and turned them into a highly efficient and elite-level team, a team capable of taking on seasoned CrossFit Boxes from around the region and engaging them on every level of fitness. His caring guidance and devotion to his athletes reflects in their achievements, and bear testimony to his endless hours spent programming, coaching, mentoring, and managing. As the patriarch of the Eternal family he continues to spearhead us toward the CrossFit Games with the heart of a true leader.
Now, get up from the computer and go train your ass off!