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posted: 4/30/2014 11:24 AM

2014 Athena Classic Crowns Champs.

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  • 2014 Athena Classic Top Finishers. The Master's Division: Deb Pirkel, CrossFit Sanctify; Jennifer Benson, Big City CrossFit; Liza Nelson, CrossFit Carbon. The Open Division: Anna Schmidt, CrossFit Sanctify; Ashley Beerens, CrossFit Northpoint; Anne-Lisa Maag, CrossFit Sanctify.Tom Snitzter

      2014 Athena Classic Top Finishers. The Master's Division: Deb Pirkel, CrossFit Sanctify; Jennifer Benson, Big City CrossFit; Liza Nelson, CrossFit Carbon. The Open Division: Anna Schmidt, CrossFit Sanctify; Ashley Beerens, CrossFit Northpoint; Anne-Lisa Maag, CrossFit Sanctify.Tom Snitzter

 
Karen Stoychoff Inman

The 2014 Athena Classic lived up to its billing Saturday, April 19 pitting 80 women from 25 CrossFit affiliates and three states against three fierce workouts to land a spot in the finals, where the top 12 warriors battled for bragging rights, trophies, and almost $3,000 in cash and prizes.

The final workout -- a spectator-friendly-but athlete-nasty combo of 50 Double Under Rope Skips, a 30 calorie Indoor Row, 20 Overhead Squats (85 pounds for 18-39 years-old and 65# pounds for 40 years-old and older), 10 Handstand Push Ups, and 5 Bar Muscle Ups (Open Division) 5 or Chest-to-Bar Pull Ups (Master's Division)-- capped an exciting day of competition.

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Liza Nelson, 44, CrossFit Carbon, Vernon Hills, took top honors in the Master's Division for the second consecutive year, but not without a scare from division runner-up Jennifer Benson, 40, Big City CrossFit, Chicago. Benson set her sights on denying Nelson a repeat, and with just three points separating the competitors, Benson's path to the crown was clear: beat Nelson in Workout #4, and hope the other two finalists, Deb Pirkel, 46, CrossFit Sanctify, Madison, and Jodi Corbit, 40, CrossFit Connex, Madison, bested Nelson. Benson did her part and placed first in the workout, but Nelson failed to do her part and finished a strong second. Rounding out the Master's Division was Pirkel in third and Corbit in fourth.

Anna Schmidt, 24, CrossFit Sanctify, Madison, had a lock on the Open Division entering the finals; as long as she didn't self-destruct, the championship was hers. Not so with Ashley Beerens, 27, CrossFit Northpoint, Waukegan, and Anne-Lisa Maag, 30, CrossFit Sanctify, Madison, who waged a mighty battle throughout Workout #4 to determine finishing positions. In the end, Beerens bested Maag, and the competitors finished in second and third place, respectively. Amber Earleywine, 29, CrossFit Sanctify, won the final workout, but ninth place finishes in Workout #2 and Workout #3 cost her a spot on the podium; she finished fourth. Rounding out the top eight in the Open Division were: Christie Suligoy, 24, CrossFit Construct, Chicago; Jennifer McDade, 36, Fit Bodies CrossFit, Bloomington; Alexandra Buth, 27, CrossFit Connex, Madison; and Emily Gorman, 24, CrossFit Northpoint, Waukegan. Visit the Athena Classic Event Page for links to the Leaderboard, Workout Scoring, Photo Albums and more.

In a day filled with stellar athletic performances, a series of most memorable moments came from Master's Division athlete Jodi Marino, 58, CrossFit Sanctify, Madison. An accident left Marino with exceptionally limited use of her arm – but full access to her competitive spirit and drive. Marino attacked all three Athena Classic workouts, inspiring competitors , volunteers and spectators, and leaving many to question their litany of excuses for why they don't set challenging goals and work without fail to achieve them.

The Athena Classic returns to Elite Athletic Development| CrossFit Arlington Heights Saturday, April 18, 2015.

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