Day 2: Usual Suspects Dominate Women’s Field at the MACC
After Day 2 at the Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge in Knoxville, TN, the four 2021 CrossFit Games athletes in the field—Danielle Brandon, Brooke Wells, Sydney Michalyshen and Baylee Rayl—are sitting exactly where we expect them to be: In qualification positions.
The details: Michalyshen, who was 25th at the Games last year as a rookie, is leading the way, eight points ahead of three-time Games veteran Brandon.
- Rayl, another 2021 rookie, sits in third, and veteran Wells, who led the field after Day 1, fell to fifth on Saturday after a 23rd place finish on the legless rope climb event. Still, she has a 20-point buffer over Rebecca Fuselier in sixth.
- Arguably the only real surprise on the leaderboard at the moment is Kelly Clark. The 35-year-old who was 10th at the MACC last year, has had three top 10 performances this weekend and is sitting in fourth overall heading into the final two events.
Worth noting: No other female athlete in the field at the MACC has individual Games experience; however, a host of former teen competitors are fighting for that final position to Madison, WI, including Fuselier (currently sixth), Shelby Neal (currently seventh) and Claire Truax (currently ninth).
What team Brandon is saying: Watching from the sidelines as his athlete dominated Event 4, Brandon’s coach Justin Cotler said he’s confident she will stay in second “or move up throughout the rest of the weekend.”
- Brandon reiterated her confidence in a post-event interview on Saturday, saying, “I just knew I was prepared coming in, where as in past years, I didn’t feel quite as prepared, or as fit, but this year I knew my training was hard enough and I can do hard things on the comp floor.”
The big picture: Considering their talent, experience and how they have competed so far, it’s hard to imagine Brandon, Wells, Michalyshen and Rayl won’t earn their tickets to Madison this weekend, but that fifth and final position is still wide open for a rookie like Clark, Fuselier or Neal to break through.