CrossFit Games

Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge Day Three Recap: Hopper, Toomey and Mayhem Freedom Crowned Champions at Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge

May 30, 2021 by
PhotoCredit: Athlete’s Eye Photography
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The Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge concluded on Sunday afternoon crowning Semifinals champions and delivering invitations to the 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games. Two of the champions were expected and they dominated in their performance in Knoxville, TN. The third champion however took the sport by storm all weekend as a young upstart punched his ticket to the Games.

The men’s division:

PhotoCredit: Athlete’s Eye Photography

Jayson Hopper continued his dominance of the men’s field as his win in the opening event of the day clinched the 23-year old’s first trip to the Games. It was his third event win of the competition and he added a third place finish in the final event of the day to take home the MACC title and $5,000.

  • Hopper had five finishes in the top-three with his worst finish being eighth in “Grettel” on Saturday.
  • After a year away from individual competition, Scott Panchik was back to his old consistent form throughout the weekend, placing no worse than fifth in any event. He was the only athlete in the division to record that feat.
  • Panchik’s runner-up finish on the podium secured his ninth trip to the Games.
  • 2020 CrossFit Rookie of the Year Justin Medeiros had a great day on Sunday starting off with a runner-up finish in the opener he ended the day with his first event win of the competition, finishing 7:41.54 as the crowd cheered him on.
  • The event win moved Medeiros from fourth place to third on the overall leaderboard, clinching his second-straight Games berth.
  • Travis Mayer followed in fourth place and earned his seventh Games invite.
  • Zach Watts will make his Games debut, finishing fifth overall and securing the final Games automatic invite.
  • Tyler Eggimann (6th place), Angelo Dicicco (7th) and Hunter Holifield (8th) will have one more shot at earning a Games invite as they each qualified for the Last Chance Qualifier which will be an online competition held on June 28-July 4.
  • 2015 “Fittest Man on Earth” Ben Smith made a spirited run on the final day but had dug himself too big a hole and ended up in 10th place, missing out on a 12th Games appearance.
  • Samuel Kwant, last year’s Games runner-up, continued to struggle on the final day and finished 14th in the standings. 

The women’s division:

PhotoCredit: Athlete’s Eye Photography

It was all Tia-Clair Toomey on the final day of competition as the four-time reigning “Fittest Woman on Earth” looked for her unprecedented fifth Games title. Her MACC title on Sunday not only qualified her for the Games but gave her 10-straight CrossFit sanctioned event wins since finishing second at the 2017 Pacific Regional. Sunday’s performance reasserted her dominance as she won both events with little opposition. Right now there’s little indication that anyone will come close to challenging her at the Games.

  • If there is someone that can challenge her, it could eventually be 20-year old Haley Adams, who kept pace with Toomey early on during each workout on Sunday. She would finish 3rd and 2nd respectively in each event as she placed second overall, 60 points behind the champion.
  • Brooke Wells held on to third place and qualified for her seventh-straight Games.
  • The final two automatic Games invites came down to three athletes and was eventually decided by two points.
  • Amanda Barnhart was able to hold on to fourth place on the strength of her solid Day 2 of competition. Due to her win in “Grettel”, Barnhart owned the tiebreaker, giving her added safety.
  • The fifth and final spot came down to two former training partners from the same area code of Southwest Missouri. Jessica Griffith was looking for her first individual trip to the Games since 2017 and Christine Kolenbrander was looking for her very first individual invite.
  • The final spot came down to one-tenth of a second. That was the margin of victory that Griffith had over Feeroozeh Saghafi in the final event. Kolenbrander finished ahead of Griffith but needed another athlete to finish between them to earn the Games invite.
  • Kolenbrander (6th place), Saghafi (7th), Nicole Gibson-Burke (8th) and Danielle Dunlap (9th) will now move on to the Last Chance Qualifier for their final chance to earn a Games invite this year.
  • The MACC received an extra Last Chance Qualifier spot due to the backfill process. 
  • 17-year old Olivia Sulek placed 16th overall. She will now prepare to compete at the Games in the 16-17 Division.

The team division:

PhotoCredit: Athlete’s Eye Photography

If anyone ever doubted Mayhem’s absolute dominance on the competition floor, Day three at the MACC would prove them wrong. Teams headed down the “Rainbow Road” in the first event of the final day at the MACC, with a one mile true form run followed by 75 synchronized wallballs, 50 synchronized toes to bar, as pairs of two and a 40’ Torque Tank Push for each athlete.

  • Once again, Mayhem took first place overall and was the only team to come in just at the cap time.
  • Training Think Tank would tie for second overall in the event with CrossFit Reignited Wilmington, which would give fans a glimmer of hope at their potential to move out outside the qualifying bubble and into a spot to earn their ticket to the Games.
  • Most exciting in Rainbow Road was the introduction of a new piece of equipment, the Torque Tank, which proved to be absolutely brutal for many of the athletes.
  • In the final event, athletes capped out their weekend in classic team CrossFit style with a two part workout. The first part consisted of 15 ring muscle-ups, 15 snatches, and a 30/21 calorie row. Teams then received five minutes to transition after a 20 minute time cap followed by an homage to the worm. Teams closed out their weekend with a ladder of worm deadlifts and synchronized worm burpees.
  • In spite of a few no-reps on the burpees, Mayhem once again took first place overall in the first part of the final event.
  • They then went on to take second overall in the second part, finishing just seconds behind CrossFit Reignited Wilmington who came in to take first place overall in the final event.
  • Despite their first place finish, On Track’s lead was too far on CrossFit Reignited Wilmington and Wilmington remained in sixth place overall for the final standings.
  • The final standings in day three of the MACC looked almost exactly the same as they did at the close of Day 2.
  • Only On Track and Training Think Tank swapped places, with On Track dropping to fifth place overall after going back and forth in event standings with Training Think Tank on the final day.
  • Perhaps most notable about the final standings, are the absolute dominance by the top five teams.
  • At the end of day three, fifth place team CrossFit On Track sat 68 points ahead of the next lowest team CrossFit Reignited Wilmington.
  • Not shockingly, Mayhem also separated themselves from their fellow competitors with a final lead of 71 points over Lone Star CrossFit and more than a 100 point lead from fifth place team On Track.
  • Not only that, but all five teams who earned their tickets to the Games this weekend had no event finishes outside the top ten over the course of the entire weekend, firmly establishing their command over the rest of the field.
PhotoCredit: Athlete’s Eye Photography

For more MACC coverage including analysis and athlete interviews go to the Morning Chalk Up’s MACC Semifinal page.

The Final Overall Top 10 

  1. Tia-Clair Toomey (588) | Jayson Hopper (560) | CrossFit Mayhem Freedom (663)
  2. Haley Adams (528) | Scott Panchik (536) | Lone Star CrossFit (592)
  3. Brooke Wells (512) | Justin Medeiros (528) | CrossFit Westchase (584)
  4. Amanda Barnhart (468) | Travis Mayer (516) | Training Think Tank (554)
  5. Jessica Griffith (468) | Zach Watts (425) | On Track (545)
  6. Christine Kolenbrander (466) | Tyler Eggimann (397) | CrossFit Reignited Wilmington (477)
  7. Feeroozeh Saghafi (440) | Angelo Dicicco (391) | Spicy Lil Mamas (438)
  8. Nicole Gibson-Burke (395) | Hunter Holifield (373) | 3 Bridges CrossFit (407)
  9. Danielle Dunlap (378) | Mark Hutchinson (371) | CrossFit Nashville (406)
  10. Kelly Clark (352) | Ben Smith (368) | Team COI (324)

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