Smith in overdrive training for CrossFit Games

Sunday, July 15, 2018
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Chloe Smith is on a road trip this weekend. She does not know where she is going, what she will be doing or who she will encounter.

But jumping into the unexpected is the point of the adventure.

“We’re going to Mississippi first but I don’t know where after that,” Smith said Friday before hitting the road.

Her trainers at CrossFit Unlimited Jennings, Kimberly Vincent and Rebecca Chaisson, said they made no specific plans for her because plenty surprises are awaiting at the 2018 CrossFit Games.

“We’re going to walk into some different CrossFit boxes and say, ‘She wants to work out,’” Chaisson said of the trip. “I want her to be exposed to different programming, athletes, coaches and equipment without knowing what to expect, because that’s what she is going to face in Wisconsin.”

August 1-5, Smith, her trainers and an entourage of family, friends and fans will descend on Madison, Wisconsin, for the CrossFit Games that will be hosted at the Alliant Energy Center. Sixteen-year-old Smith is heading into the Girls 16-17 division in the number-three spot out of 20 competitors worldwide. In her age group, she also ranks first in the South Central division and first in Louisiana. Not too shabby for someone who last year not only made it to their first Games on the first try, but took the Fittest Teen on Earth title in the Girls 14-15 division.

“It’s a different scenario this year,” Chaisson said. “She’s moved up one age group and yes, the athletes are very close in age. But some of the girls she is going up against have been at the Games the past few years. They have the experience and they’ve been training for this longer than Chloe has.”

Chaisson and Vincent both recognize that while Smith is going in as an underdog, she has the means to lead the pack.

“It was the same last year when she competed for the first time,” Vincent said. “’They never saw her coming.’ We always say that about Chloe because it’s true. They didn’t see her coming last year and they haven’t this year.”

The trainers contribute Smith’s ongoing success to her work ethic.

“You will have a very hard time finding someone as focused and hardworking as she is, if you can find someone else like that at all,” Chaisson said.

This summer alone, Smith has been in the gym on weekdays from about 8:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m., sometimes later. This does not include the many hours spent training on weekends. While much of her time is devoted to improving her skills, she has also assumed the role of a coach, guiding CrossFit Unlimited Jennings’ teens class and a midday session attended by mostly adults. She has also assisted Chaisson and Vincent as they train the Lacassine Lady Cardinals softball team.

Just days after she returns from the CrossFit Games next month, Smith will begin her junior year at Iota High School, where she is a 4.0 student. Her school days will actually be split between high school and higher education. Smith will be taking some morning college courses at Louisiana State University in Eunice then head back to Iota for regular classes.

Working through her final two high school years is not her dream at the moment, however. Smith said there is still much work to be done as she preps for Madison, preparation that has been underway since the minute last year’s CrossFit Games wrapped.

“I’m stronger and my gymnastics skills have gotten much better,” Smith said. “We’ve worked a lot on seeing what my weaknesses are so we can tackle those.”

She’s done a lot of tackling, too. Earlier this month fellow Games athlete, 16-year-old Annalise Moore of Slidell, spent time in Southwest Louisiana facing off against Smith in a mock-Games event orchestrated by Vincent and Chaisson.

“The Games consist of several days filled with multiple series of movements,” Chaisson said. “You don’t know what you’re going to get, how much weight you’ll have to use on bars, how many miles you will have to run, how well your competitors do certain things.”

In 2017, one day of competitions alone included hundreds of grueling movements, all to be completed with proper form as quickly as possible. The Vest Triplet required teens to complete four rounds that each included a 400-meter run, 24 air squats and 12 burpee box jump-overs. The teens then faced the Quatrain, featuring a total of 30 muscle-ups, 90 wall ball shots, a 50-foot and a 25-foot handstand walk, three separate 25-foot sandbag carries and finally a 50-foot sandbag carry. The day ended with the Double-Under Snatch, four rounds each consisting of 50 double-unders and 15 snatches. Athletes in each age division are prescribed the same specific weight to use for events that involve lifting or weighted movements like wall balls and sandbags.

Smith and Moore encountered a little bit of everything through 10 different challenges, including a run-swim-run challenge that involved the use of a residential pond.

With all of that said, yes, Smith is training for the August Games. Ultimately, she is prepping for her 18th birthday.

“Eighteen is when she can start competing for a $300,000 prize at the CrossFit Games,” Chaisson said. “She’s going to be their Fittest Woman on Earth one day.”