What Did We Learn from Syndicate Crown, CrossFit’s Centerpiece Semifinal?
Anyone wanting to get the best look at how the big names and stars will perform at the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games had to be watching the Syndicate Crown this past weekend. Two returning champs were on the floor (Justin Medeiros and Mayhem Freedom) and a number of high profile podium contenders were littered throughout the competition.
With that in mind, we now have our first peak at what the Games might look like this August in Madison, and here’s four takeaways you need to know with quotes from the athletes you need to watch moving forward into CrossFit’s showpiece finale:
Mayhem Freedom First Ever to Sweep Team Competition
Besides Tia-Clair Toomey this weekend in Brisbane, Mayhem Freedom became the first North American team to sweep every event at a semifinal, a historically dominant performance (importantly, CrossFit Reykjavik had done the same six hours earlier at the CrossFit Lowlands Throwdown).
In addition to the successes of Rich Froning, Sam Cournoyer, Andrea Nisler and Taylor Williamson, CrossFit Mayhem will also send a second team to Madison for the first time – Mayhem Justice, who placed 5th at the end of the weekend. And, the gym also has a chance to send a third team later on in the qualifying season.
- Seth Stovall, Mayhem Justice team member on being part of the Mayhem crew: “Being able to compete alongside Rich, it’s awesome. I watched him compete as an individual growing up, so being able to compete literally in the lane next to him, I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
- “I’ve only touched the worm 15, 20 times, so I knew when we got to that part, I told my teammates ‘I’m gonna be draggin’ so I need you guys to pick me up, and that’s exactly what they did,” Stovall continued, “We have a great bond. I love this team, I wouldn’t ask for anyone else.”
Medeiros, Adams Take the Crown
Reigning Fittest Man on Earth Justin Medieros kept a safe lead over competitor and friend Jayson Hopper all weekend, bringing home first place by 72 points.
Medeiros was, as usual, incredibly consistent, with every event finish in 7th place or under, and one event win. Last year, Medeiros placed third at his qualifying event behind Hopper and Scott Panchik, which proved to Medeiros that he could do well in the sport, he said.
This year, however, he was confident enough in his abilities to make big moves. In regards to his motivation during an event, Medeiros said,
- “You put in so much work going into (a competition), and all that work comes out this weekend, and you can do all these months of training but all that matters is what happens on the competition floor,” Medeiros said in an interview with the Morning Chalk Up. “Also, you’re gonna have to finish the workout anyway, you might as well do it fast.”
“You’re gonna have to finish the workout anyway, you might as well do it fast.”Justin Medeiros
Unlike Medeiros, who was firmly in a qualifying position throughout the entire competition, Haley Adams had to dig herself out of a huge hole after a 23rd place finish in Event 1.
However, with only firsts, seconds, and thirds from there on out, Adams was able to regain her spot on top by the end of Day 3.
McClellen, Sprague Just Miss Games Ticket
Crowd-favorite James Sprague and breakout star Gabby McClellend both took unfortunate losses on Day 3, bringing them out of qualification range by the end of the competition. Sprague, a cardio-focused athlete, had a first and a second place finish earlier in the weekend, but two 24th place events bookending the competition put him one point off from 5th place.
McClellend, a Semifinals rookie, met her match on Day 3 with heavy gymnastics volume, and took a 14th and 12th place to end her in seventh, 40 points out of fifth place.
Both athletes, still in the early years of their career, will have the chance to compete in the Last Chance Qualifier next month along with Arielle Loewen, Kristine Best, Griffin Roelle, and Jacob Pfaff.
Teens Takeover the Podium
The future of fitness is now, and the athletes heading to Madison from the Syndicate Crown show that. While Haley Adams is established enough as an individual, Alexis Raptis, Tudor Magda, and Cole Greashaber, three teen division alums, will make their first Games appearance in the Individual division this summer. While not a particularly flashy athlete, 22-year-old Greashaber held up to veterans Medeiros and Jayson Hopper all weekend with only one finish all weekend outside the top seven.
Magda had to use his three years of previous Games experience, in 2017, 2018, and 2019, to his advantage going into Event 6, in fifth place with a close race around him. With an Event win in the clean and jerk complex, Magda was consistent all weekend and did what he needed to do to stay in Games qualification territory with a 12th place finish in the last event.
Magda made big sacrifices to get to this point–he recently moved to Iowa to train with coach James Townsend and put his education (he was studying Chemical Engineering at the University of Washington) on hold to get back to Madison.
- Magda: “this is my dream, this is my passion. I put all my eggs in one basket to make it to the Games, and I’m so happy it paid off.”
2015 and 2016 teen Games athlete Raptis will finally make her reappearance as an adult at the Games this summer, coming in second place only six points behind Adams. Having grown up with the sport and competed the last six years to make it to the Games as an individual, the 23-year-old says throwing down among other legends in the sport was surreal.
- “It’s so fun, and it’s so crazy too, because I remember learning to do muscle ups by watching Kristi (Eramo O’Connell) so now competing with her, it’s so crazy,” Raptis said. “I’m over the moon happy right now.”