As you look through the leaderboard now that the 17.1 results are in, one thing that stands out is how many new names are sitting near the top. One of those names is Laken Watt.

Watt competes out of CrossFit Valve in Australia. She crushed 17.1 with a time of 10:04, good to a tie in 5th place worldwide and 1st in Australia. We reached out to Laken earlier this week to find out a little bit more about her.

The Barbell Spin: Tell us about Laken. What is your athletic background? Why haven’t we heard about you until now?

Laken: I’m 26 years old and I am head coach at Crossfit Valve. Growing up I was given the opportunity to participate in many different sports. I did competitive gymnastics for a few years and I gave that up when I was 14 and I have spent the last 10 years coaching it. I found crossfit in 2013 and never looked back. In May 2016 I gave up my full time job to work at Crossfit Valve and this has allowed me to train the way I have always wanted to train.

The Barbell Spin: You’ve competed in the Open since 2013 and have been steadily improving each year. What do you attribute this improvement, especially as the competition has gotten tougher every year?

Laken: I’m a very competitive person. I always want to be better and as a result I have worked harder and harder each year. Every opens I had the goal to halve my previous ranking. I think also because there are always so many gymnastics and technical movements in the opens that has helped my ranking too.

The Barbell Spin: What was your initial reaction to 17.1? Was it something you thought you would do well in?

Laken: Initially I was so happy. I love burpees and I love box jump overs so it was the perfect combination for me. And then I started to think if I loved it I’m sure the too athletes would too so I got abit nervous after that.

The Barbell Spin: When you finished in 10:04, did you realize you would have one of the better times in the world?

Laken: When the workout was first released I calculated how long I thought it would take and I told my friend it would take me about ten minutes to complete this workout. The morning of the workout I told myself today I am going to beat Sam Briggs (her original time) and when I finished I knew it would be a competitive time but did not expect it to be up there in the world.

The Barbell Spin: With four weeks still go, what movements are you looking forward to and which ones would you prefer to be left out?

Laken: I would love zero wall balls and zero rowing! Castro can put as many chest to bars and bar muscle ups as her wants. And I don’t mind thrusters and overhead squats either.

The Barbell Spin: What were your goals heading into the Open? Have they changed after week 1?

Laken: My goal for this year has always been too 50 in the Pacific Region and for Team Valve to make regionals. We still have four weeks to go and who knows what workouts will be thrown our way so top 50 is still my goal.

Check out Laken’s prediction along with several other top performers from 17.1.

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