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Cortland gym joins CrossFit competition

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Amy Sherwood of Cortland competes Friday night at Seven Valley CrossFit as part of a worldwide competition.

The smell of vinyl floor mats filled the air as punk and hip hop music drowned out any thought lingering in the mind. Ten grunting people had already started their rigorous workout.

Dozens of people, varying in age, gathered Friday afternoon at Seven Valley CrossFit gym in Cortland to compete in the first of five qualifying rounds for this year’s CrossFit Games, an international competition.

For 20 minutes each, groups of 10 compete Friday evenings in a random prescribed workouts, said Jody Mashlykin, a competitor and employee of Seven Valley CrossFit, at 50 Main St. “Every week it’s different.”

The competitors are teachers, accountants, firefighters and photographers, Mashlykin said, and the competition itself promotes a supportive atmosphere. CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program that varies workouts, said Dana Soprano, owner of Seven Valley. The workouts include any range of functional movement patterns from weight lifting to gymnastics and even running.

Friday’s event alternated dumbbell snatches and burpee box jumps. Contestants had 20 minutes to complete the workout, which included sets of 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 dumbbell snatches separated by 15 jumps over either a 20- or 24-inch box. Depending on where each person finishes in the workout, a score is kept and later listed at crossfit.com.

At the end of his 20 minutes, Travis Marshall, who was dripping with sweat, of DeRuyter scored an 18 out of 50. The score means Marshall made it 18 dumbbell snatches into his set of 50 before the allotted time expired.

Marshall has been doing CrossFit for three years; the workout helps him decompress.

While Marshall was in the middle of his set, 19-year-old Austin Harriger of Cortland was preparing for his turn. “I don’t really know what to expect,” Harriger said. It was his first time competing after a year training.

Natalie Rew of Cortland was excited to see people work out together. Rew competed last year in the qualifying rounds, but an injury prevented her from finishing the final two weeks. This year, as a judge, Rew said she found watching others compete motivates her for the future. “I miss it but it gears me up for next year.”

Between 70 and 75 people were expected to participate in the qualifying round, Mashlykin said. The international Crossfit Games will be the last weekend in July in Madison, Wisconsin.