CrossFit South Rockland

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Athletics started at home

Laurie Meschishnick recently placed second in the 45-49 age division at the 2011 CrossFit Games in Los Angeles.
Photograph by: Submitted, The StarPhoenix

Laurie Meschishnick may be the world's second-best CrossFit athlete in her age category, but she only got involved by trying to be the world's No. 1 mom.

Saskatoon native Meschishnick - who recently returned from the 2011 Cross-Fit Games in Los Angeles having finished second in the women's masters 45-49 age division - started training in the sport two years ago when two of her kids, former Saskatchewan Huskies basketball guard Rejean Chabot and University of Maine volleyball player Justine Chabot, took up the burgeoning sport.

"At that point I figured, wow, I get to work out and be around my kids - that would be great," said Meschishnick, 47. "It was a perfect fit for me ... I was introduced to it and just loved it.
"What I've learned technically and physically in the last two years has been amazing - I just worked hard and the results came."

CrossFit is a multi-discipline competition that combines forms of weight and power lifting, sprinting, and gymnastics, among others. Competitors and organizers boast that CrossFit athletes are some of the strongest and conditioned athletes in the world because of the allaround nature of the training.

In the competition itself, athletes take part in five distinct, gruelling tests of fitness. The top competitor from the events is crowned the winner.

Under the tutelage of coach Chad Benko of Saskatoon's Synergy Gym, Meschishnick started qualifying for the event in March. To punch her ticket, she needed to finish in the top-20 worldwide in her age category during a six week open-workout trial. Each week, competitors needed to report their results in a specified workout, be it deadlifts, squat cleans or have you.
Meschishnick would finish 11th, surpassing expectations.

"In the six weeks we kept watching I kept finishing higher in each workout," she said. "My scores were putting me in the top six and then top four, and so on.

"I hadn't nurtured that competitive spirit in awhile - it was certainly an interesting avenue for me because it's all about doing as many reps as you can, as fast as you can."
At the CrossFit Games, which ran July 29-31, Meschishnick hoped to at least win one of the five events and finish top-five overall.

After the first event, however, she was already well on her way.

With a time of 4: 25.0, Meschishnick finished first in an event that called for her to first squat a prescribed weight 21 times, perform 21 push ups and then do a 150m shuttle run - three times.
It was an "encouraging start" for Meschishnick, as she went on to place 6th, 11th and fourth in the ensuring three events. Entering the final workout - a onetime circuit that included a 500m row, biking of 500m, burpee box jumps and a 120 foot kettleball carry - Meschishnick needed to finish first to leap frog American Susan Habbe for first.

She finished with a time of 4: 32.0, but had to settle for second place.

"In it I didn't execute well," said Meschishnick "You don't have much time to catch up if you make a mistake in a workout like that."

Having come so close to top prize, Meschishnick intends on making her way back to the Games next season. For now she'll keep plugging away at her job with Herbalife health products and training with her 15-year old son Jonah Litzenberger who takes part in the teen CrossFit program at Synergy.

"I just have to become a smarter crossfitter and tighten up my technique," Meschishnick. "If I could qualify for the Games, why couldn't I win them? I just hope I can make it back - it was an amazing experience.

"Hopefully I'll come back with a different colour medal next time around."

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