CrossFit Games Rookie Series: Meet Baylee Rayl
Baylee Rayl has never been on a competition floor as an individual. Not at Regionals or Sanctionals, and not even at a local throwdown.
Although she did qualify as an individual this year through the Atlas Games Semifinal — it was all online. All of this means that her first solo competition will be on the biggest stage in the sport, the CrossFit Games.
- “I have always just competed on a team,” shrugged Rayl, a two-time CrossFit Games team athlete.
Rayl’s 2021 journey: After many years of team competitions, 25 year-old Rayl decided to give it a go as an individual this season. This shift also included starting to follow the Mayhem Athlete programming, and periodically making the eight-hour drive from her hometown of Springfield, MO to CrossFit Mayhem in Cookeville, TN to train alongside some of the best athletes in the world.
- Working with Mayhem Coach Jake Lockert this past season helped Rayl develop, not just physically, but also build her confidence to a level where she believed she could compete with the best in the sport, she explained. Heading into the Semifinals weekend, she felt “as confident as I ever have,” Rayl said.
- That being said, Rayl, who placed 123rd in the Quarterfinals, originally didn’t even qualify to the Semifinals. “I knew I was on the cusp in case there was a backfill chance, but CrossFit didn’t even tell us if they would backfill the spots, but instead of backing off training I ramped up just in case. I trained through the disappointment of not making it to Semifinals and just continued to give my best effort,” she said.
- Then about six weeks before the Atlas Games, Rayl received the email from CrossFit LLC that she had been hoping for: She would be competing at the Semifinals, after all.
One big thing: The women’s race at the online Atlas Games was so tight that Rayl found herself in eighth heading into the final day of competition, three spots away from qualifying to the Games. But after two second place finishes on the last two events, Rayl catapulted into second place overall, easily securing her spot.
- “Honestly, I was surprised I jumped all the way from eighth (to second)…I remember telling my parents that no matter what I gave it my best effort and I was very happy with how things went, so either way I knew I had peace knowing I gave it everything I had,” Rayl said.
- And then when the final scores came in, Rayl didn’t believe it (at the time she was in first place overall, but later dropped to second after she was given a 40 second penalty on Event 5). “I was like, ‘I think we need to refresh it again. I’m not sure all the scores are in yet,” she said.
- So, she refreshed and refreshed, and eventually accepted the fact that she had, in fact, earned a spot to the Games.
10 Questions with Baylee Rayl:
- What is your ultimate CrossFit goal?
Rayl: “Other than just going to the CrossFit Games and doing the best I can is just to shine a light and inspire others that it’s possible, but my concrete, on paper goal, would just be to compete at the Games.”
- What’s your sports background?
Rayl: Competitive gymnast as a kid (up to Level 8), and then played basketball and was a golfer in college.
- How many hours a day do you spend in the gym?
Rayl: Five to six.
- What are three apps on your phone that you can’t live without?
Rayl: Spotify, Instagram and Glorify (a daily worship app).
- What’s your go to breakfast:
Rayl: “A protein shake and toast with just butter.”
- Do you count your macros?
Rayl: “Only leading up to a competition and during a competition to make sure I’m eating enough food because I tend to not eat enough.” During this time, she tries to hit 420 grams of carbohydrates, 165 grams of protein and 69 grams of fat per day.
- Who in your life do you talk to on the phone the most?
Rayl: “My dad. 100%. He’s my sounding board for a lot of things. He literally helps me through almost every detail of my life, and he’s one of my best friends.”
- What’s your favorite podcast?
Rayl: Elevation Church.
- What’s the last book you read?
Rayl: “Other than the Bible,” Discerning the Voice of God: How to Recognize When God is Speaking by Priscilla Shirer.
- How does your faith help you as an athlete?
Rayl: “Honestly, it’s my ‘why.’ I just feel called to glorify God in everything I do, especially with the talent he has given me. It’s no accident I have been led to this place. It’s just very clear that my mission is to glorify God. If he can take a ‘nobody’ and do the impossible, which is how I felt when I saw my name on the leaderboard, then it can happen to anyone.”