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Mia Hesketh, Jay Crouch and Starr Strength Black Earn Games Invitations at Australian CrossFit Championship

Mar 8, 2020 by

Four long days of competition have wrapped up on the Gold Coast, with athletes being tested in a Games-like simulation that saw Kara Saunders, Jay Crouch and Mayhem Independence reign supreme.

With several athletes already having punched their tickets, Mia Hesketh (2nd) and team Starr Strength Black (2nd) earned invitations to the 2020 CrossFit Games.

Women

  1. Kara Saunders (1074)
  2. Mia Hesketh (948)
  3. Laura Clifton (906)

How it all played out:  

  • The final day of the competition saw the Clean and Jerk “Speed Ladder.” The ascending weight increments, from 75kg/165 pounds to 90kg/200 pounds, would prove no issue for Kara Saunders, but it would be heavy hitter Mia Hesketh who secured the event win to ensure the race between her and Laura Clifton remained tight with an unknown number of events remaining.
  • Just 14 points separated the pair going into the final two events. An elimination-style workout – 70 double unders into an unbroken handstand walk – would see the slowest athletes cut, heat by heat. While both girls made it to the final, Laura Clifton tripped on her double unders when it mattered.
  • The final event of the weekend — three rope climbs, 60 pull-ups and 9 overhead squats at 65kgs — was Kara Saunders‘ event but a second-place finish was enough to secure the Games invite for Mia Hesketh.

For the record:

  • This was Kara Saunders’ first sanctional appearance since the new format and her first win since the 2017 Pacific Regional.
  • Mia Hesketh has never competed as an individual at the Games before. She earned a ticket at the Fittest in Cape Town in 2019 but declined that invite to go team with CrossFit Alioth. She also competed on a team in 2015.
  • Mia told the Morning Chalk Up she may still decide to decline the invitation, which would see rookie Laura Clifton making her debut in Madison.

Men 

  1. Jay Crouch (968)
  2. James Newbury (962)
  3. Bayden Brown (938)

How it all played out:

  • Who doesn’t love watching the big boys lift big weights and the speed clean ladder provided the shakeup the leaderboard needed. Jay Crouch would cross the finish before James Newbury, but it was Evan Morris who took the event win and several other men finished between them to keep things interesting.
  • Just 8 points separated James Newbury and Jay Crouch heading into the final two events. The absence of chip timers this weekend would cause delays through elimination rounds, with the men almost inseparable. Similar to the female competition, both men fighting it out for the Games spot would make it to the final, however, a costly stumble allowed Jay Crouch to edge out Newbury by several positions.
  • The final rope climb, pullup, overhead squat workout would lock up the final placings for the weekend with Jay Crouch and James Newbury taking first and second, just six points separated the two men as Crouch secured the invite to Madison.

For the record:

  • Jay Crouch was hungry for it after missing out on qualifying for the Games by one spot placing second at SouthFit earlier this season.  
  • Crouch also placed second to Mayhem pair Royce Dunne and Rich Froning at last year’s Torian Pro, with coach and mentor Rob Forte.

Team

  1. Mayhem Independence (955)
  2. Starr Strength Black (900)
  3. Not Behd (660)

How it all played out:

  • The final day of team events started with a costly workout for both Starr Strength Black (5th) and Mayhem Independence (8th) who suffered their worst finishes of the weekend. Teams would complete a 500m row before attempting a clean ladder. The catch? Each athlete could choose where to start on the ladder and heavy hitters — like Mayhem’s Royce Dunne — could even attempt all three lifts at the final 130kg bar. Lower ranked teams like CrossFit Adelaide and Gorilla Health had no slip-ups and were rewarded with the top two spots in Event 9.
  • Team event number 10 — a HSPU, HS Walk, Worm Clean combo — allowed Mayhem Independence and Star Strength Black to return to their battle for the top of the leaderboard. Their first and second place podium spots were all but secured before the final event, as Starr Strength Black was 210 points clear of the third position.
  • An identical result, first and second place finishes in the final event for the day — a combo of shoulder to overhead, squats and burpees over the worm — allowed Mayhem Independence to cement the ACC title and gave Starr Strength Black their ticket to Madison.

For the record:

  • This is Mayhem Independence’s first sanctional win and their ACC roster is what they’ll take to the Games. Their WZA roster – where they earned the invite – had Feeroozeh Saghafi fill in for Taylor Streid who was watching her brother swim in the College Conference Championship swim meet.
  • Alethea Boon will make her 6th trip to the CrossFit Games after competing in the 35-39 Women’s division in 2019.

The event itself was not only physically but mentally demanding on athletes with each of the workouts revealed on an event by event basis.

  • Organizers continued to push the “unknown and unknowable” theme, even choosing not to update the leaderboard regularly, keeping athletes (and fans) guessing.
  • Teams completed 11 workouts, the individuals did 12: a similar workload to the 2019 CrossFit Games.
  • Podium finishers earned approximately $4,623 USD,  $1,981 USD and $660 USD respectively.


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Australian CrossFit Championship

Kara Saunders | Mia Hesketh | Laura Clifton | Jay Crouch | James Newbury | Bayden Brown



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