Local Star Competes Among 80 in DC/Baltimore Pro Day Weekend

Strong Figure Ambassador, Tori Ruckman, Displayed HUGE talent among some of the Mid-Atlantic’s Best Athletes!

This past weekend, Erik and I were thrilled to be invited up to the DC Brawler and Baltimore Anthem Grid Pro Days where 80 athletes from the region came to Crofton, MD to lift, sprint, climb, push, and pull their way through the National Grid Testing workouts. Each athlete had five athletic tests on Saturday and again on Sunday, in hopes to be signed to a professional NPGL (National Professional Grid League) team, to be invited to the NPGL Combine, or be signed to one of the NPGL minor league teams.

Not only did Erik and I get a chance to sit down with Jim Kean, CEO of the NPGL; and Phillip Pitsky, Nick Mann, and Ateeb Ahmad of the Mid-Atlantic Amateur Grid League and the Capital Affiliate League (we will be releasing more information soon), but we were also able to support one of our own Strong Figure original ambassadors, Tori Ruckman who competed among the 80 hopefuls.

Tori Clean and Jerk“I went into this Pro Day not sure what to expect.  I wanted to have a fun time, meet new people with the same goals and kind of see where I stood with other great athletes.  I could not have been more pleased with the weekend.  I had a great time and left with so much inspiration to keep going and working hard. “

Over the course of Saturday and Sunday, each athlete had 10 total tests to complete in order to showcase their talents and hopefully win over the eyes of the coaches.

Saturday’s Tests Included:

  • Four Rope Climbs to a 15-foot target, for time

    Tori rope climb
    Tori completed all four rope climbs in 40 seconds!
  • Max Two-Rep Clean and Jerk in 20 seconds

    Erik and I also met Corinna Benz from CrossFit Forward in Fredericksburg, VA. Corinna won the muscle up challenge with 14 in 80 seconds.
  • 15 Ground to Overhead, 10 Burpees over the Barbell, and 15 Ground to Overhead, (Men: 135/Women: 95)
  • 20 thrusters for time (Men: 135/Women: 95)
  • Max effort muscle ups in 80 seconds

    Tori Muscle Ups GRID
    Photo courtesy of NPGL

In day one, Tori hit a two-rep max clean and jerk of 195 lbs in 20 seconds, and went on to complete the third mini-metcon of thrusters and burpees in just 1:57, one of the top scores of the day!

“I competed in my first CrossFit competition at Crofton CrossFit in October of 2012, so it was fun to come back to this gym and do workouts that I would not have even been able to do in 2012.  I see how much I have improved and where there is still so much to improve on, as always!”

Sunday’s Tests Included:

  • Max Effort Hang Cleans (Men: 245/Women: 155) in 20 seconds
  • 30 Seconds Max Effort Chest to Bar Pull-ups, Rest 30 seconds, 30 Max Effort Pistol Squats, 30 Second Rest, 30 Second Max Effort  Toes to Bar.
  • Snatch Ladder 30 Seconds to complete: (Men: 150/165/180/195/210/225/240, Women: 70/90/105/120/135/150/165)
  • Max Effort 5″ Deficit Handstand Push-ups in 30 seconds
  • Suicide Sprint (4 touches) then 10 Deadlifts (Men: 315/Women: 225)

Tori said that she loved this second day of testing. “I loved the first, third and fifth events since a barbell was involved! My favorite out of those three was definitely the hang cleans in :20.  I was able to go head to head with Corinna and Christen [Wagner] pushing me even more for this fun workout! I got 12 reps which was a tie for second.” Wagner, a former CrossFit Games athlete, completed 14 unbroken hang cleans at 155 pounds in just 20 seconds!

Even though Tori declares her best lifts were the strength-based ones, she said she had a blast with the gymnastics elements. “I did surprise myself on the deficit handstand push-ups. I just got these the week before in sets of 3 or 5 and I was able to do 9 unbroken for that event. I know it was not a great number, but I was very pleased with that! I had not tested out any of the events that took place on Sunday so I just went out there and did what I could do. Another element that surprised me were the rope climbs. I had done that workout before, but I am still getting proficient at rope climbs so it was nice to PR by six seconds.”

Benz added, “My favorite events were definitely the gymnastic ones. I’m a little behind the power curve for strength right now because I’m coming off a knee injury. My best event was definitely the muscle up one where I got top score! Chest to bar pull-ups and deficit handstand push-ups are my thing! Right now I’m trying to make regionals again and go individual this year.” Benz is a 2014 Mid-Atlantic Team Regional CrossFit Athlete.

Tori muscle ups

Watching the passion that all 80 athletes had within themselves–the fire, the dedication, the tears, the screams of success–these athletes all want one thing: a win. Whether they are signed on a professional GRID team, they make the CrossFit Games, they join a minor league team, or set a new record for the day, these functional fitness athletes push hard to go far.

“The window is shrinking and I want to prove that I have heart and that I have what it takes to get there. My end goal is obviously making to the Games one day and I’m hoping 2016 will be my year. I’m training smarter and I have a coach now so the sky is the limit! Benz said that she wasn’t able to make it to the Boston Combine last year, so she thoroughly enjoyed participating in the Pro Day this weekend and getting her name out there to the coaches.

Tori added, “I see the heart that all the owners and teams put into the NPGL and that is awesome to me.  It has always been a big goal of mine to make it to Regionals for CrossFit but participating in the Pro Day this past weekend has increased my interest in the NPGL.  I would love to eventually be able to do what I love professionally. What a dream come true that would be!”

Erik and I wish nothing but luck to Tori and all the hard-working athletes who are pushing to make his or her dream come true. And if you haven’t already subscribed to Strongfigure.com, make sure you do so that you can follow our posts on the NPGL and find out where our athletes end up next!


Click HERE to view a photo gallery from day one of the Pro Day Weekend!

What’s your ultimate athlete dream? Let us know in the comments below!