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At Riverhead CrossFit gym, he’s training to become ‘fittest on earth’

06/20/2016 9:00 AM |

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Scott DeTore is considered one of the “fittest [people] on earth.”

It makes sense. The 50-year-old can deadlift 435 pounds, squat with 390 pounds on his back and run a 5K in 20 minutes 45 seconds — a 6:40 mile pace. 

He spends an average of 90 minutes every weekday morning at his training grounds in Riverhead — CrossFit Impervious — lifting weights and working on technique in preparation for Reebok’s CrossFit Games in July.

The Games, as they’re more commonly referred to, bring together the nation’s top 360 CrossFit athletes to determine who is actually the “fittest on earth.” It’s a title Mr. DeTore won once before, in 2011.

He placed second in 2012, came in 16th in 2014 and finished fifth last year. Each year, 20 people compete in each age division. In all previous years, Mr. DeTore competed in the 45- to 49-year-old division; this year, he’ll compete in the 50- to 54- year-old category.

“The atmosphere is so incredible,” said Mr. DeTore, a physical education teacher who lives in East Moriches. “The way they run [the Games], it’s so professionally run … everyone’s into it, it’s all hyped up.”

To compete at The Games, which will be televised on ESPN 3, participants must score among the top contenders in two events.

The first is the Open, a five-week series in which required workouts are released on Thursday nights. Competitors have from that Friday until Monday to complete the workout to the best of their ability and enter their scores online. Mr. DeTore said that more than 5,000 male athletes in his age category competed in this year’s Open, which concluded March 28.

After their scores were ranked, the top 200 athletes worldwide in each category were invited to complete the Masters Qualifier workouts in April. Mr. DeTore was the only member from CrossFit Impervious to qualify for masters.

Similar to the Open, the Masters is a four-week event in which competitors are tasked with completing more difficult workouts to the best of their ability. These included burpees, muscle-ups, rowing, deadlifts, weighted squats, jump rope and more.

Based on their scores for each workout, the top 20 were invited to The Games, held at the StubHub Center, home field of California’s L.A. Galaxy professional soccer team. Overall, Mr. DeTore ranked seventh.

“In 2011 and 2012 we were in a parking lot, and the last two years we were in a soccer stadium,” he said. “The stadium’s huge and the cameras are everywhere. It’s just an electrifying atmosphere.”

During this year’s competition, which runs July 19-21, Mr. DeTore will compete five times — twice on each of the first two days and three times on the last day. Given that he’s now the youngest in his age group, he has high expectations for his performance this year.

So does his coach.

“His ability is far superior and his stamina is so intense,” said Terri Davis-Sweeney, a coach and co-owner of CrossFit Impervious. “He can’t be beat; it comes down to that.”

A physical education teacher in the Middle Country School District, athletics have always been part of Mr. DeTore’s life. He was a two-time county champion wrestler for Hauppauge High School in 1982-83. In college at SUNY/Brockport, he won the 1985 Division III NCAA wrestling title at 134 pounds and coached the sport in years following.

He started CrossFit in 2010 after a colleague introduced him to the sport. He’d become bored with his current workout routine, the fast-paced and differentiated workout piqued his interest. The following year, he won the Games for his age division.

“On long [workouts] it’s just amazing to watch him,” Ms. Davis-Sweeney said. “He just stays this pace and it’s interesting to watch … During his rest he takes two big deeps breaths and he keeps going. It’s like a machine.”

Mr. DeTore said to prepare for the Games he works out five days a week to prepare for The Games, reads training templates online and focuses on improving his weaknesses.

“People like to work on what they’re good at,” he said, “But it’s going to be what you’re weak at that gets you.”

Photo Caption: Scott DeTore warms up to a workout at CrossFit Impervious in Riverhead. (Credit: Nicole Smith)

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