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Local CrossFit making it into national spotlight
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Members of CrossFIt Boro pose for a group photo at the local 'box' located across from Mill Creek Regional Park. - photo by Special to the Herald

    Former Georgia Southern University athlete Laura Brannen and current GSU student Jacob Anderson have a few things in common. They are both highly competitive, workout at CrossFit Boro and both have qualified for the 2015 CrossFit Regional competition in Atlanta.
    In the past few years CrossFit has taken the world by storm and with it has come a nationwide CrossFit competition.
    In order to advance to the CrossFit regional games, Brannen and Anderson had to rank in the top 20 of their respective region in the CrossFit open. Last year the open had more than 209,000 athletes from across the world compete. In the CrossFit open a different set of skills are tested over a five-week period with each participant completing a timed set of skills then uploading their results. Currently, Brannen is ranked 14th in the Southeast region, while Anderson ranked third.
    For Anderson, competing at such a high level in the CrossFit competition is in his blood. His brothers are active CrossFitters and his father, Steve Anderson, won the masters division of the annual CrossFit games in 2011.
    “I have four brothers and one sister and we grew up competing in everything,” Anderson said. “My dad and my mom workout with us so it’s really fun. Everyone in the family does it.”
    Anderson burst onto the crossfit scene this year with the world’s top score in week four of the 2015 Reebok CrossFit Games Open. The 21-year-old studying accounting at GSU posted 183 reps of handstand pushups. His video submission, which can be seen on YouTube, has over 19,000 views.
    “I just really enjoy it. It’s just fun. God blessed me with the ability to do it well,” said Anderson. “My parents support me, which is awesome. It’s really a blessing because I have more time to train.”
    Despite advancing to the regional crossfit games in Atlanta, Brannen — a full-time trainer at Statesboro’s new crossfit facility — said she doesn’t feel like she’s at the next level just yet.
    “It came naturally for me. I have a full-time position at CrossFit Boro, so I don’t think of myself as being at that next level,” Brannen said. “I’ve always competed for fun.”
    Brannen ranked 203rd worldwide in the 2014 Crossfit Games Open and 17th in the Crossfit Games Southeast Regionals. Brannen also competed for GSU as a track athlete in the 800-meter and 1,500-meter event.
    “Laura is a self-starter. She doesn’t need a training partner, she pushes herself that hard,” said Ryan Brack, owner of Crossfit Boro. “Jacob has been doing some crazy things this year. He was 22nd in the world. Just insane numbers.”
    Brack said in the three years he has owned Crossfit Boro, the interest in the area has gradually increased.
    “I think that in this generation you’re going to have a greater divide in healthy and unhealthy people. Our population is more invested in their fitness and you can see that change being made,” Brack said.
    The 2015 Reebok CrossFit Regional competition will be held May 15-17.