'She crushed it': 16-year-old Islander 8th in world in CrossFit competition

Anikha Greer, a 16-year-old from Argyle Shore, P.E.I., finished first in Canada and eighth in the world among 1,336 girls in her age group in a recent open CrossFit competition.

But after past 'disappointment,' Anikha Greer says she's trying not to get too high or low

Anikha Greer says Crossfit is 'the healthiest competitive atmosphere I've ever seen.' (Trey Vira Vidhamili)

Anikha Greer, a 16-year-old from Argyle Shore, P.E.I., finished first in Canada and eighth in the world among 1,336 girls in her age group at the CrossFit Games Open.

And while she said overall it was "pretty cool," she's not yet box-jumping for joy.

"A little indifferent right now," she said. 

"I've had two pretty tough years of failure, I guess, or disappointment. So I try not to get too high or too low."

But make no mistake, said Mike Ives, co-owner of CrossFit 782 in Charlottetown: "She crushed it."

Anikha Greer said she loves testing her limits in CrossFit. (Crossfit 782)

Ives, who finished second in Canada and 18th in the world among 6,174 men in the 50-55 age group, and Greer had the best two finishes out of the dozens of Islanders who participated in the open competition.

It took place over five weeks at various CrossFit-affiliated gyms around the world, including CrossFit 782. The burpees, box-jumps, squats, weight lifts and other CrossFit challenges were witnessed in person by accredited judges, videotaped and scored.

Cruel twist of fate

Hundreds of thousands of CrossFit athletes participate each year in the CrossFit Games Open. The top 200 in each age category advance to an online competition in March. The top 10 from that competition advance to the pinnacle, the 2020 World CrossFit Games in Wisconsin next summer.

Despite finishing eighth in the open competition, you can't blame Greer for not getting too overconfident heading into the next competition. She's been at this stage twice before, both times missing the cut in a cruel twist of fate.

Greer says the CrossFit community is supportive and encouraging. (Crossfit 782)

When she was 14, she finished 10th in the open competition. She advanced to the second stage, the online qualifier, and during that gruelling competition, it was discovered she released too soon on the rope climb. Exhausted, she had to start the entire circuit all over again.

Halfway through, she said, she "mentally broke a little bit."

I'm really competitive so I want to be the best, more than anything.— Anikha Greer

"I stopped completely and I just sat on the floor and I'm pretty sure I just started crying at that point. Like I don't want to do this anymore."

With encouragement from her coach, Brett Roberts, she got back up and finished the competition. Back then, the top 20 in each category advanced to the World CrossFit Games. She finished 21st.

Last year, she again qualified for the online competition, but they changed the rules to allow only the top 10 in each division to advance to the World CrossFit Games. She finished 15th.

Mike Ives opened the first CrossFit-affiliated gym on P.E.I. in 2008. (Submitted by Crossfit 782)

Greer is hoping for better luck this time. She said she loves testing her limits with CrossFit.

"You have to be good at everything — cardio, lifting, grunt work, swimming, running, gymnastics, mental toughness, you name it, you have to be able to do it."

She said she plans to work on her "weaknesses" in hopes of placing in the top 10 in March and punching her ticket to Wisconsin. 

"I'm really competitive so I want to be the best, more than anything. I love working hard towards a goal but I love improving myself, like being able to go in and physically do things that I know are making me better," she said. 

"I feel proud at the end of the day when I know that I'm doing everything possible to get to my goals."

Support and encouragement

She'll have Ives and the rest of the CrossFit community — her "second family" — pulling for her.

"It's the healthiest competitive atmosphere I've ever seen," she said. "No matter if you're first or last, everyone is yelling and supporting you, it's so amazing to witness."

Ives estimates the CrossFit community has grown to about 1,000 since he opened the first affiliated gym on P.E.I. in 2008. There are now at least three CrossFit-affiliated gyms on P.E.I., and other gyms that offer CrossFit-type workouts.

Ives finished 18th among 6,174 competitors in his age group at the Crossfit Games Open. (CrossFit 782)

Ives will be going for his own top-10 finish in his age group in March, and said he has his work cut out for him to move up from 18th in the open.

"It gets pretty tough so having the support of everybody around you makes a big difference," Ives said. 

"Sometimes some people finish a little bit earlier than others and they'll cheer each other on or just in the middle of the workout kind of thing, it's very supportive," he said. 

"At the end, everybody goes around and gives each other a high five."

If all goes as planned, Greer and Ives will be getting plenty of high fives in the months to come.

More P.E.I. news


Shane Ross is a former newspaper and TV journalist in Halifax, Ottawa and Charlottetown. He joined CBC P.E.I.'s web team in 2016.


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