Athena Classic Crowns 2013 Champs.

The inaugural Athena Classic lived up to its billing Saturday, April 20 as 80 women from 24 CrossFit affiliates braved three fierce workouts to land a spot in the finals, where the top 18 warriors battled for bragging rights, trophies, and almost $1,500 in cash and prizes. The Athena Classic will return to CrossFit Arlington Heights Saturday, April 19, 2014.

The final workout — a spectator-friendly-but athlete-nasty combo of a 500m Row, 30 American KB Swings (30#), 20 Pull-Ups and 10 Burpee Box Jumps — capped a great day of competition, and determined the 2013 Athena Classic Champion in the Open (18-39) and Master’s (40+) divisions.

2013 Athena Classic Master's Champion Liza Nelson, Thadine Zajac, 2nd place, and Sue Walton, 3rd place (not pictured).

2013 Athena Classic Master’s Champion Liza Nelson, Thadine Zajac, 2nd place, and Sue Walton, 3rd place (not pictured).

Liza Nelson, 43, CrossFit Carbon, took top honors in the Master’s division after posting a draw for Workout #1 with Thadine Zajac, 40, CrossFit Roselle; placing second to Zajac in Workout #2; and then besting Zajac in Workout #3. The difference between being crowned Master’s Champ and placing second came down to 43 seconds, with Nelson completing Workout #4 in 5 minutes, 14 seconds to Zajac’s 5 minutes and 57 seconds. Rounding out the podium for the Master’s Division was Sue Walton, 42, Cheetah CrossFit, in her first-ever competition. Walton placed third in Workout #1, fourth in Workout #2, first in Workout #3 and fifth in the finals. Also competing in the Master’s Division finals was Kaia Kraus, 40, CrossFit Barrington; Kristin Young, 41, FitBodies CrossFit; and Laura Channell, 42, CrossFit Barrington. Channell edged out Lori Lindahl, 49, CrossFit Arlington Heights, from a finals berth by just one point.

The top three finishers in the Open Division — Jennifer McDade, 35, FitBodies CrossFit; Emily Yates, 29, CrossFit Connex; and Lindsay Wilson, 25, CrossFit E-Town — consistently scored well throughout the day, but each had an Achilles Heel workout that kept them from a lock on the overall standings.

2013 Athena Classic Open Division top three: Champion Emily Yates, Jennifer McDade, 2nd place & Lindsay Wilson, 3rd place.

2013 Athena Classic Open Division top three: Champion Emily Yates, Jennifer McDade, 2nd place & Lindsay Wilson, 3rd place.

McDade, entered the finals in first place after third place finishes in Workout #1 and #2, and a first place finish in Workout #3. Yates came to the finals in second place after a second place finish in Workout #1, fifth place finish in Workout #2 and third place finish in Workout #3. But Yates peaked at the right time, and her blazing time of 4 minutes and 39 seconds in Workout #4 pushed her past McDade, and to the title 2013 Athena Classic Open Division Champ. Wilson rounded out the top three spots with a first place in Workout #1, second in Workout #2, and ninth in Workout #3. Also competing in the Open Division finals was Julie Curry, 35, and Kelsey Dipman, 30, CrossFit Construct; Erin Matta, 33, CrossFit Barrington; Kasey Pontarelli, 23, and Erin Rupsis, 32, CrossFit Darrien; Tomeka Coe, 37, CrossFit Bloomington-Normal; Michaela Ortega, 22, CrossFit Amplify; and Gina Ciannetti, 31, CrossFit E-Town. Kim Greenstein, 34, placed highest overall among the CrossFit Arlington Heights competitors, with Mary Tapia, 45, and Andrea Poffenberger, 45, placing in the top 10 for Workout #3 and #2, respectively.

Members of FitBodies CrossFit run in competitor Diann Grim during the 800m Run segment of Workout #3.

Members of FitBodies CrossFit run in competitor Diann Grim during the 800m Run segment of Workout #3.

In a day filled with stellar athletic performances, once of the most memorable moments came when the spectators packed into Elite Athletic Development / CrossFit Arlington Heights poured outside to encourage Diann Grim, 32, as her fellow FitBodies CrossFit athletes and friends ran alongside her as she completed the Workout #3 800m run. Diann, like all competitors, had the option to scale one or more workouts, but she never did. Her gumption and grit inspired those around her, and elevated her performance well above the scores she posted.

An initial batch of event photos is now posted, and more photos will be added in the coming days. Competitors and spectators are encouraged to contribute to the event photo album. Please email photos to karen@eadperformancecenter.com. Event results and more event information is available on the Athena Classic event page.

The sold out 2013 Athena Classic was hosted by Elite Athletic Development / CrossFit Arlington Heights and supported by Road Runner Sports-Kildeer, The Paleo Baking Company, US Wellness Meats, Jack Alexander Salon & Spa, Nowicki Chiropractic, Raw Revolution, Progenex, Unbroken CrossFit Outfitters, and Tropical Smoothie-Arlington Heights. Admission to the event was free, but many spectators contributed to the event charity, The Northwest Special Recreation Association, an organization which provides outstanding opportunities through recreation for children and adults with disabilities.

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