2022 CrossFit Open Wrap-up

March 21

The Open Leaderboard was finalized by CrossFit today.  Congrats to all of our athletes who signed up, showed up, and tested themselves during the 2022 CrossFit Open.  We had over 70 members register this year!  For some, it was the first time.  And for others, it is a yearly experience.  We have many athletes that have participated 5 or more years, and a few up to 10 years.  We had many athletes achieve “firsts,” and come out stronger on the other end.

For individuals, the top 10% from each continental region will advance to the online quarterfinal competition which begins next weekend March 24-27th.

For age group athletes (beginning at age 35), the top 10% from each age group will be invited to participate in the online quarterfinals the weekend of April 21-24th.

Congrats to our Quarterfinal Qualifiers!

Individual Women:

  • Shelby Neal (23rd in North America!  Go Shelby!!)
  • Emily DeFeo
  • Maddy Hannan
  • Whitney Gelin
  • Kendall Hudson
  • Rebecca Luft

Individual Men:

  • Benji McRoberts
  • John Hand
  • Mason Welch
  • Nick Spargo
  • Kyle Takayama
  • Mike Morales

Age group Men (35-49)

  • Quint Coward*
  • Emeric Harney*

Age group Women 40-44

  • Rebecca Johnson*
  • Gail Ho*
  • Kelly Hicks

Age group Men (55-59)

  • Kirk Williams

Age group Women (55-59)

  • Brenda Mullaney

*Also qualified as an individual regardless of age group


And while the Quarterfinals, Semi-Finals, and Games are fun to watch – the Open is all about pushing yourself to be better, overcoming obstacles, and celebrating achievements.  For that reason, we wanted to highlight a few athletes to share their stories.

“Consistency Award” – Gail Ho

Gail Ho is supermom of 4 kids and has been with 12th State since after her 4th baby (2016).  Competing in her 5th CrossFit open, she qualified for the Quarterfinals in the 40-44 age group this year (as well as in the overall women category!).  Our coaches nominated her for her commitment and consistent improvement over the years.  Gail is known as an athlete that puts in the time to take care of her body through mobility, extra skill work, and a focus on nutrition.  Despite attending over 1500 classes at 12th State, she continues to gain strength and endurance every year.  In the 2021 Open, she struggled with bar muscle-ups in the Open.  This year, they were no problem after a lot of work and dedication throughout the year.  Gail offers advice on what has helped her succeed as an athlete:

“Every year I set a goal….one year I wanted to get double unders, and a different year it was to get one bar muscle up.  Each year during the Open, I do give it my absolute best…but during the year I think what’s most important is being consistent.  Meaning consistently showing up, following the program, doing the extra mobility work, and eating clean.  I try to work on skills one thing at a time (whether that’s cleaning up my BMUs or becoming more efficient in another movement) so I’m not getting frustrated or scatterbrained.  I will easily ask for help from the coaches when I want to do something in a met con but also want to work on certain skills….they ask “what is your goal?,” and then help me scale or modify to meet that goal….. So many strong, amazing athletes at 12th State…training with these people really pushes you to be better.  My general approach is show up, follow the program consistently (including mobility), listen to my body, give it my best (some days definitely won’t be your best & that’s truly okay), then go home reset & repeat.  I always try to remember that best does not equal crazy intensity all the time.  You can’t train at 100% everyday without burning out.  For instance, I don’t train to redline or roll on the ground in pain, although it still happens… I generally save that for the Open.  Believe it or not, you will adapt!  And have fun….  because the real hard work is a marathon and not a sprint.”

“Comeback Award” – Stuart Thompson

Stuart joined 12th State at the end of November last year.  You can usually find him at the 6:30 PM class, often with his daughter Lindsay who was inspired by her dad to join as well.  Stuart was nominated by our coaches for his positive attitude, willingness to work, and for overcoming some unique obstacles.  For many of us, this is all about health, and that is why Stuart’s story is inspiring.  When we get stronger in the gym, it carries over to the rest of our life.  Stuart shares his story:

“19 years ago, I went to the gym and after 25 minutes on an elliptical machine, I dropped dead from sudden cardiac arrest.  Back then, they just called it sudden death.  I was out for 6 1/2 minutes.  Someone gave me CPR and they shocked me 3 times with a defibrillator to get me back.  I was in a coma for two days and then spent a week at Duke with doctors trying to figure out what happened.  They still have no idea. I have no heart disease or blockages.  My cholesterol was 135.  As a precaution, they implanted a defibrillator (ICD) in me. When I left Duke, they told me I was part of a very, very small club. At the time, I was 38 and my girls were 3 and 7.   Since then, I’ve been very healthy other than surgeries related to changing out ICD hardware. I’ve ridden my bike a lot over the past 10 years, including two double centuries from Seattle to Portland and Seattle to Vancouver.  For the first twelve years, I wasn’t allowed to lift more than 50 lbs because of the wires in my heart…. but my current device is a Subcutaneous ICD (SCID) and I don’t have those lifting restrictions anymore.  Crossfit has been a fantastic way for me to rebuild my upper body strength.  I haven’t been this strong since I went through Airborne school!”

“Moment of the open” – Keith Streger.

Keith is a retired firefighter who moved to NC during the Covid pandemic with his lovely wife Alicia.  He frequents the 9 AM and 3:30 classes.  Many of you only know what the back of his head looks like from chasing him during running workouts (he is one of 12th State’s best runners).  Rumor has it that Keith had never done a muscle up prior to Open workout 22.3.  On the day of 22.3, he was seen briefly during Open Gym practicing some muscle-up drills for about 20 minutes.  He left quietly, only to return a few hours later for his scheduled heat time.  Then, about 10 minutes into a dogfight of a workout, with a heart rate of 150+, he stepped up to the bar and cruised through his 1st, 2nd, and 3rd muscle ups in a row to wild cheers from the crowd.  Truly awesome, Keith.

Speaking of “firsts” – congrats to Kristen Russell who achieved her first chest to bar pull-up, as well as Aubrey Woodward and Camden Woods who also got their first bar muscle ups during the open.

Newcomer award: Emily DeFeo

If you noticed Emily crush 22.3 in an eye blink (5:56) and wondered, “who is that?” – you would not be alone.  Emily is new to 12th State, but not new to CrossFit.  She qualified for CrossFit Semi-Finals last year and performed very well at the Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge (see her mentioned in Morning Chalk-up here).

Emily is originally from Statesville, NC and has been training with CrossFit methodology for the past 5 years, starting while she was in college at App State.  She recently moved here with her husband, Alex, who had a job opportunity that brought him to Raleigh just before they were married in January.  She has a goal to make and compete at the CrossFit Games.  We are excited to cheer for her as she attempts to qualify for Semi-Finals as part of the 12th State community of athletes.  We asked her to answer a few questions so that you can get to know her as well.

What is your athletic background?  “I grew up with a background in gymnastics from the time I was a little girl into my teen years. After I “ retired” I tried school sports like cheerleading, soccer and swim team. But no other sport fit quite the same way.”

How did you get into CrossFit?: “My mom actually got me in to CrossFit!  She needed something new to do when I left for college so some friends brought her to CF. It took her 2 years to even convince me to walk into a CrossFit gym. But once she finally did, I was hooked.  I felt like it filled the hole in my life I had after quitting gymnastics that I didn’t even know existed until it was filled again.  It took about a year and a half doing it for health and fitness before I realized I wanted to pursue it competing at higher levels.”

What do you do outside the gym? “You can find me being a dog mom to my 1 year old chocolate lab named Leo. We play a lot of frisbee and go on lots of woodsy walks!  I’m obsessed with him 🙂 “

Tell us about your husband:  “Alex is also passionate about CrossFit. He also recently joined 12th state and enjoys the community, atmosphere, and programming.  Alex works together with Emily to help support her in achieving her goals. Some interesting things about Alex are as follows: he’s hyper competitive, he grew up racing dirt bikes, he attended college at UNC, and he’s not afraid to make a joke at his own expense.”

From Emily:  “We are REALLY excited to be at 12th State! Everyone has taken us in as their own so quickly after only being around for just a bit over a month. We are feeling the love. I am excited to see where my athletic career takes me with the love and support of my new 12th State family.”

Go Emily and Good luck!  And again, congrats to everyone who participated in the 2022 Open!  It was truly a success.

-Mollie and the 12th State team