Beginning today and into tomorrow the state of Mississippi and the best crossfiters from the Magnolia State will be making their way to San Antonio, TX in preparation for Friday – the opening day of the South Central Regional. The grueling three day event ends Sunday afternoon where three men and three women from the region will punch their ticket to Carson City, California for this summers crossfit games.
Crossfit, unlike a big football game or baseball game or even a big boxing match is much harder to gage when breaking down who might or might not win. The field is varied, athletes are great at some things and maybe not so great at other things. Workouts can turn on a dime but, that won’t stop us from at least looking at the field and comparing Mississippi’s best against the regions best.
Starting with the men, it all starts with the lone returning games competitor from the region, Roy Gamboa. Gamboa punched his ticket to the games last year with a third place finish in regionals then went on to finish 22nd in last years crossfit games. Gamboa is back this year as he looks for a return trip to the games.
“I will go into each event giving my all and learning from each experience to make me the best athlete I can become,” Gamboa said.
Gamboa, while smaller than some athletes is quick, athletic and super strong. NOTE: All benchmark workouts and descriptions can be see by clicking here.
Many anticipate Gamboa to again garner a games spot, after he dominated the open with a first place finish.
It will be interesting to see how the men of Mississippi compare with the regions best and even if he does get back to the podium, that leaves two spots left for the boys from the 601.
Hunter Owen will be making his fourth game appearance so you would have to think the big stage won’t affect him. Owen finished 28th at regionals in 2011, 31 in 2012 then made a huge leap last year, finishing 11th. He was right outside the top ten last year and this could be the year he hits the podium.
Cameron Willson is back for year two at the regionals and last year he finshed 22nd in the event. Wilson has without gotten faster and stronger,; evident of his fourth place open finish. He could be in the running on Sunday.
Finally, Dex Hopkins is the surprise of the group this year. Hopkins finished 142nd in the open a year ago but, worked tirelessly on his game to improve to sixth in this years open. Hopkins has as much talent as Owen or Willson but, this will be his first opportunity on the big stage. Don’t be surprised to see any or all of these guys in the running come Sunday.
When looking at the women, it all starts and stops with Jenn Jones. Jones, who is no stranger to this stage as she made it to the games in 2012 where she finished 28th, then just last year she finished 6th in the games and was just short of making the final three in the world.
Jones finished this years open at 7th but, don’t let that fool you. Many expect her to be one of the final three come Sunday.
Mississippi is bringing three very talented females to the competition this year and it starts with Jessica Malone. Malone will be making her third appearance at regionals as she finished 19th in 2012 and was just 16-points away from reaching the games last year – with a seventh place finish. Malone has a really good shot to be within striking distance of the podium, Sunday afternoon.
Marilyn Kelleher will be making her second straight trip to San Antonio as she looks to improve on last years 13th place finish.
And Hollye Henderson will make her debut this weekend as she, like Hopkins are the new kids on the block. But, again like Hopkins, don’t be surprised to see Henderson’s name move up the leader board throughout the weekend.
Both the men’s and women’s field is absolutely stacked with talent this year in San Antonio from names like, Jessie Jo Young, Cassidy Lance and Chely Galvan on the women’s side – to Jason Hoggan, Braden Torrez and Stephano Tsagnis on the men’s.
But one thing is for sure. If the guys and girls from the Magnolia State can match the enthusiasm and keep pace with Gamboa and Jones – it should make for one heck of a showing on Sunday. You may have several Mississippian’s vying for those coveted podium spots.