CrossFit Games

Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge Day One Recap

May 28, 2021 by
PhotoCredit: Athlete’s Eye
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It was a full day of non-stop action during Day 1 of the Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge on Friday. The NOBULL CrossFit Games Semifinal delivered the excitement one would expect from the star-studded line-up but it was the names that few had tapped that had the Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, TN buzzing.

The women’s division:

Reigning, defending four-time “Fittest Woman on Earth” Tia-Clair Toomey stands atop the leaderboard after Day 1, but her excitement nearly cost her in the opening event of the competition. After Christine Kolenbrander hit her final lift of 210 lbs in “8-Mile,” a one-rep max snatch event, Toomey tried to match her to secure a tie for the event win. Toomey missed on both of her attempts and her last completed lift of 200 lbs would drop her to third. However she redeemed herself in the next event “Need For Speed II” winning the chipper in 9:04, nearly :34 seconds better than the runner-up Haley Adams. Toomey has a 16 point lead over Kolenbrander heading into Day 2. 

  • Kolenbrander’s second-ever individual CrossFit competition saw her match her PR with the 210 pound snatch. The three-time team division Games athlete for CrossFit 417 placed seventh in “Need For Speed II”. 
  • Brooke Wells sits in third place just four points behind Kolenbrander. She finished tied for sixth place with a snatch of 195 lbs and third in event 2.
  • Haley Adams silenced doubters of her strength as the normally reserved 20-year old hit a PR with a snatch of 185 pounds, tying her for ninth. She sits in fourth place.
  • Amanda Barnhart currently sits in the fifth and final Games qualifying spot.
  • Jessica Griffith is tied for with Barnhart in points but is in sixth due to the tie-breaker.
  • Newcomers Emily DeFeo (136 points) and Kat Grillo (132 points) are within striking distance of the top-five finish; they are currently sitting in the Last Chance Qualifier invitation spots.
  • Winter Nicolette Rodriguez was 2nd in the snatch with a lift of 205 pounds.
PhotoCredit: Athlete’s Eye

The men’s division:

Ladies and gentlemen get used to hearing the name Jayson Hopper. The 23-year old former Clemson University football player made his presence known in his first official sanctioned CrossFit competition. He was one of seven athletes who hit 300 pounds in the snatch, tying for second place with his big lift. He then weathered the storm of event 2, getting stronger every round, eventually catching then passing Justin Medeiros for an empathic event win. That win puts him atop the leaderboard.

  • Two-time Regionals athlete Zach Watts sits just eight points behind Hopper thanks to his win in the snatch event, lifting 310 pounds with relative ease. Watts then won the second heat of event 2 with a time of 8:09.58, which was good for fourth overall and moving him into the third heat tomorrow. 
  • Scott Panchik sits in third with a second place finish in event 1 and third place in event 2.
  • Medeiros hit a competition PR in the snatch with a lift of 285 pounds, good enough for ninth place. He then took second behind Hopper in event 2 to put him in fourth place.
  • In the final Games qualifying spot is North America Quarterfinals champion Travis Mayer.
  • 2015 “Fittest Man on Earth” Ben Smith is in sixth place thanks to his “dad-strength”, hitting 300 lbs on the snatch.
  • Four-time Regional athlete Mark Hutchinson (139 points) and last year’s Games runner-up Samuel Kwant (136 points) sit in seventh and eighth place respectively.

The team division:

PhotoCredit: Athlete’s Eye

Teams got the chance to showcase their best athletes in two separate lifts in Event 1. A callback to the strength event at the MACC in 2019, teams were required to put forth one male and one female to hit a max snatch and one male and one female to hit a max clean and jerk. In event 2 teams finished out their first day on the floor with a classic CrossFit team event, featuring all three C2 machines and the worm. Teams performed 30 calories on the C2 rower, bike, and ski erg followed by nine worm clean and jerks. Teams once again would perform 30 calories on each machine, followed by 15 clean and jerks, and then closed out the workout with 30 more calories on each machine and 21 worm clean and jerks.

  • During the event, Aaron Hanna of CrossFit Westchase, who won the clean and jerk event at the Games in 2015, went toe to toe with Rich Froning and Mike McGoldrick of Training Think Tank, ultimately tying McGoldrick at 370 lbs to bring his team to an event win.
  • “We were just loading the bar and seeing what happens,” said Hanna when asked how it felt to go head to head in a liftoff with one of the greatest CrossFitters of all time.
  • Similar to teammate Froning, Andrea Nisler of Mayhem Freedom was also edged out in her final lift of the clean and jerk by Adison Balderston of Team On Track with a clean and jerk of 235 pounds.
  • In the end, Westchase’s men took first place overall with a combined score of 645 pounds and tied the top score from 2019 set by Team Misfit 
  • The ladies of Team On Track took first overall, with a combined lift of 425 pounds, 10 pounds lighter than 2019’s event winner Invictus Boston.
  • All eyes were on Mayhem Freedom going into this event, as team captain Rich Froning has long been notorious for keeping his team together during workouts that rely heavily on teamwork like this one and they had some serious ground to make up after finishing 6th in the strength event.
  • That 6th place finish lit a fire beneath them, as Mayhem set a blazing pace, crushing the time to beat set in heat 1 by CrossFit Omaha of 11:26, finishing with a final time of 8:59.11, 45 seconds faster than the second place team, Lone Star CrossFit.
  • The first place finish would pull Mayhem into a fourth place position heading into day two, trailing just one point behind third place team Training Think Tank.
  • CrossFit Westchase took a fourth place finish in event two, which was good enough for them to remain in first place overall heading into day two, just 1 point ahead of second place team Lone Star CrossFit.

On tap for day 2: Saturday’s action starts at 9am EST as both the teams and individual divisions each set to take on two events.

The Top Overall Top 10 After Day 1

  1. Tia-Clair Toomey (192) | Jayson Hopper (196) | CrossFit Westchase (179)
  2. Christine Kolenbrander (176) | Zach Watts (188) | Lone Star CrossFit (177)
  3. Brooke Wells (172) | Scott Panchik (188) | Training Think Tank (169)
  4. Haley Adams (164) | Justin Medeiros (164) | CrossFit Mayhem Freedom (168)
  5. Amanda Barnhart (140) | Travis Mayer (160) | On Track (135)
  6. Jessica Griffith (140) | Ben Smith (142) | 3 Bridges CrossFit (122)
  7. Emily DeFeo (136) | Matt Hutchinson(139) | CrossFit Omaha (119)
  8. Kat Grillo (132) | Samuel Kwant (136) | Team COI (114)
  9. Winter Nicolette Rodriguez (127) | Travis Wiliams (130) | Fulcrum Fitness (109)
  10. Kelly Clark (124) | Hal Fisher (130) | Spicy Lil Mamas (108)

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