Briggs wins women’s title at Wodapalooza Fitness Festival


Special to the Miami Herald

Great Britain’s Samantha Briggs earned the title of “Fittest Woman on Earth” after winning the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games this past summer, and she proved herself fit for the title at this past weekend’s Wodapalooza Fitness Festival at Bayfront Park in downtown Miami.

The three-day competition combined a series intense weightlifting and gymnastic skills to see who was the toughest. It combined exercises such as the rope climb, pullup and bench press into a high intensity competition. In addition, the competitors did a mini-triathlon that combined a 300-meter swim, 2K row (on a machine) and a 2,000-meter run.

At the end of the extreme weekend, Briggs, 31, found herself at the top of the female elite division despite the efforts of Talayna Fortunato.

On Saturday, during the the final sets of the squat clean and jerks on Day 2, Briggs and Fortunato were going rep for rep. With the crowd behind her, Fortunato finished 24 seconds ahead of Briggs in 8 minutes 56 seconds.

But Brigg’s strong performance on Sunday was all it took to persevere through the third day, giving her a winning score of 19 points.

Kenneth Leverich, 26, of Costa Mesa, Calif., won the men’s division with 36 points.

In its third year, Wodapalooza brought out 700 participants with more than 10,000 spectators.

“Everything was a success,” Wodapalooza co-founder Guido Trinidad said. “There were 700 competitors with 10,000 to 15,000 spectators over the weekend, and this year we saw the largest diversity. The more than 300 volunteers are what made this event a success.”

The events were broken up into divisions by age and athletic ability — not everyone had to be the fittest on earth.

“Compared to others, [I did OK]. Compared to my personal skill set, [I did] awesome!” said Melissa Saler of Miami.

There are some concerns as to the safety of CrossFit as a sport, and Saler had her own thoughts as a someone new to the sport.

“Only people who don’t do it complain that it’s dangerous,” Saler said. “All sports are dangerous.”

No major injuries were reported during the competition, and Trinidad said CrossFit is like all sports in that there is a chance for injury. He added that safety depends on several key things: level of expertise, program and accidents. Factors such as poor form or faulty exercise routines are the main reason for injuries.


Boys’ 13-15: 1. Marvin Castrillo (Siege), 2. Daniel Varona (CrossFit GMA), 3. Jordan Feldman (CrossFit 305). Boys’ 16-18: 1. Robert Miniter (Branford CrossFit), 2. Robert Hill (TNL Tampa), 3. Gabriel Estevez (Peak 360). Girls’ 13-17: 1. Emily Castrillo (CrossFit Siege). Men’s Masters: 1. Cory Dague (CrossFit Pike), 2. Chris Exarhos (ProAnox), 3. Cory Hall (Real Fitness). Men Scaled: 1. Austin Hafner (Training Box), 2. Kenny Carlson. 3. Jose Bencomo. Men RX: 1. Allen Duarte (CrossFit Black Box), 2. Nik Hecht (CrossFit Five Star), 3. Andrew Kong (CrossFit Ambush). Men Teams: 1. Team Progenex (CrossFit Krypton), 2. NF Sports (Hustle Hard CrossFit), 3. PR Wraps (PR Wraps). Men’s Elite: 1. Kenneth Leverich, 2. Craig Kenney (Branford CrossFit), 3. Nate Schrader (Iron Forged CrossFit). Women’s Masters: 1. Tara Philion (CrossFit Threshold), 2. Colleen Fahey (CrossFit Blackbox), 3. Heahter Angelo (ProAnox). Women Scaled: 1. Ashlyn Morse (CrossFit Ambush), 2. Allyson Vanegas (CrossFit Witness), 3. Kristen Girard (Firebase). Women RX: 1. Karina Arrendondo (CrossFit Grounds), 2. Maria Vulcano (CrossFit Port Chester), 3. Sophie Larson (Real Fitness Sarasota). Women Teams: 1. Chi-Town Belles, 2. Rising CrossFit Ballantyne, 3. Team Nutriforce Sports. Women’s Elite: 1. Samantha Briggs (CrossFit Black Five), 2. Talayna Fortunato (Redline), 3. Emily Friedman (Hardbat CrossFit).

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