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6 New CrossFit Games Qualifiers

Morning Chalk Up

March 9

Element 26

Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up. It was a busy weekend with Sanctionals in Australia and Brazil. We’ve got final recaps of both. And, Alec Zirkenbach offers some guidelines for how to make your gym more accessible to adaptive athletes. Today:

  • Sanctionals recaps from the Gold Coast in Australia and Sao Paulo, Brazil.
  • How to make your gym accessible to adaptive athletes.
  • A community fundraiser roundup.

Start the week off right with a PR, big lift or story tip. Hit us up at [email protected].



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“In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.” – Eleanor Roosevelt


Mia Hesketh, Jay Crouch and Starr Strength Black Earn Games Invitations at Australian CrossFit Championship

  Mia Hesketh, Jay Crouch and Starr Strength Black Earn Games Invitations at Australian CrossFit Championship  

Four long days of competition have wrapped up on the Gold Coast, with athletes being tested in a Games-like simulation that saw Kara Saunders, Jay Crouch and Mayhem Independence reign supreme.

With several athletes already having punched their tickets, Mia Hesketh (2nd) and team Starr Strength Black (2nd) earned invitations to the 2020 CrossFit Games.


  1. Kara Saunders (1074)
  2. Mia Hesketh (948)
  3. Laura Clifton (906)

How it all played out:  

  • The final day of the competition saw the Clean and Jerk “Speed Ladder.” The ascending weight increments, from 75kg/165 pounds to 90kg/200 pounds, would prove no issue for Kara Saunders, but it would be heavy hitter Mia Hesketh who secured the event win to ensure the race between her and Laura Clifton remained tight with an unknown number of events remaining.
  • Just 14 points separated the pair going into the final two events. An elimination-style workout – 70 double unders into an unbroken handstand walk – would see the slowest athletes cut, heat by heat. While both girls made it to the final, Laura Clifton tripped on her double unders when it mattered.
  • The final event of the weekend — three rope climbs, 60 pull-ups and 9 overhead squats at 65kgs — was Kara Saunders‘ event but a second-place finish was enough to secure the Games invite for Mia Hesketh.

For the record:

  • This was Kara Saunders’ first sanctional appearance since the new format and her first win since the 2017 Pacific Regional.
  • Mia Hesketh has never competed as an individual at the Games before. She earned a ticket at the Fittest in Cape Town in 2019 but declined that invite to go team with CrossFit Alioth. She also competed on a team in 2015.
  • Mia told the Morning Chalk Up she may still decide to decline the invitation, which would see rookie Laura Clifton making her debut in Madison.

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Element 26
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Brazil CrossFit Championship Crowns Davidson, Rodriguez and Taranis Lifetree as Champions

  Brazil CrossFit Championship Crowns Davidson, Rodriguez and Taranis Lifetree as Champions  

The final day of competition at the Brazil CrossFit Championship was full of action and drama as the lively Brazilian crowd packed inside of Ibirapuera Gymnasium in São Paulo witnessed two individuals and a team punch their tickets to Madison, Wisconsin for the 2020 CrossFit Games.

The women’s division:

Melina Rodriguez made history on Sunday afternoon, becoming the first individual athlete to win a Sanctional from Latin America. It wasn’t easy for the two-time Argentine national champion as she had to rally from third place heading into the final day. She was trailing Mexico’s Cecilia Ramirez Villamil by 46 points with just two events to make a run to the title.

Undeterred, she started her run by winning “Amanda on Hands” with a time of 4:48, while Villamil struggled, finishing sixth and seeing her once-comfortable point lead fall to 22 points heading into the final event.

For the final event, the Brazil CrossFit Championship decided not to mess with a successful thing, bringing back the popular “Last Man Standing” event from last year’s final. The elimination-style event was something that both Rodriguez and Villamil each were familiar with after experiencing it last year. Rodriguez finished fifth in last year’s iteration, while Villamil placed sixth.

Villamil just needed to outlast Rodrigiuez to take home the championship trophy. Instead, she was eliminated in the third cut, meaning she needed Rodriguez to also be eliminated in any of the four remaining rounds. Instead, Rodriguez went out and won her second-straight event and with it the competition by two points.

But with Rodriguez already having her Games invitation as the national champion of Argentina, her invite then was passed down to Villamil, who finished second.

  • Rodriguez won three events during the competition, giving her five for her career which leads all Latin American athletes.
  • After a number of “just-misses”, Villamil will finally receive her first career Games invitation. She just missed earning the invite through the Open this year, finishing second in Mexico for the national champion invite. In 2018, she finished third at the Latin America Regional. In 2019, she placed fourth at the Brazil CrossFit Championship, just one spot away from getting the Sanctional invite.
  • Villamil was the only female athlete to record all top-ten finishes. Her worst finish of the weekend was in the opening event where she placed eighth.
  • Brazilian Andreia Pinheiro placed third in her first career Sanctional to round out the podium. She started the day in seventh place and used a seventh in “Amanda on Hands” and a runner-up finish to Rodriguez in the final event to make the hometown crowd proud.
  • Fellow Brazilians Anita Pravatti and Thais Nunes finished fourth and fifth respectively.
  • Mia Edgar was the top American finisher in the field, placing eighth.

Three Ways to Make your Gym more Accessible for Adaptive Athletes

  Three Ways to Make your Gym more Accessible for Adaptive Athletes  

When most people think about accessibility compliance they think about mobility-based laws, like ramps, which are governed by the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) or Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). But, there are many other ways you can easily make your gym more inviting and inclusive for all athletes that are often overlooked.

Here are three things you can do today to re-organize your equipment and make your gym more accessible for athletes with disabilities.

Place Equipment at Varying Heights

Try this: Grab a chair and take it on a tour of your gym to see if you can reach all of the equipment from a seated position…and not just the 5lb weights on the bottom shelf!

Can you Reach the Top Row of Medicine Balls?

Affiliates often organize equipment by weight — lighter on top and heaviest on the bottom.  This makes sense as far as ease of lifting the weight, but it may make it so that not everyone can reach the weight they need. This is very common with medicine balls but could happen with just about any piece of equipment, including dumbbells, kettlebells and slam balls.

How to fix it: Re-organize the equipment so that there’s a variety of weights at all heights.  Think vertical organization rather than horizontal. The typical guidance is to have a 48-inch accessible reach range, with the bottom no lower than 15 inches. Not only will your athletes in wheelchairs appreciate the change, but your shorter athletes will also love you as well.

Clear a 3-Foot Path to All Equipment

Can you Reach the Bands Hanging on the Wall?

Even the most organized gym can inadvertently set equipment in front of and below other hanging equipment. Don’t know where to put your GHD or gymnastics mats? How about in front of the rack of weight belts and bands? Nope!

One of the most common accessibility mistakes is to hang equipment, like jump ropes or bands, but unintentionally block the path or the ability to reach the equipment with other stuff.  This could be a semi-permanent design flaw or gym members haphazardly leaving equipment out (that never happens, right?!).


Sanctional News and Notes




All the Action from the 2020 Australian CrossFit Championship

As the official partner of the Australian CrossFit Championship, the Morning Chalk Up had Brittney Kleyn and her team on the ground covering all the events, interviewing athletes and recapping each day’s action. Check out all the videos and highlights on the ACC playlist on our YouTube channel.

  Morning Chalk Up  



Become a WAG Certified Nutrition Coach

Registration for the WAG Coach Certification Program opens May 5th. Learn the fundamentals of nutrition science including how to set and change macronutrient profiles as well as the art of mindset and coaching. By the end of this course, you’ll have the confidence and ability to make a massive impact in people’s lives.

  Morning Chalk Up  


Cultivating Happiness with Cole Sager

In this short video, Games Athlete Cole Sager talks about a storytime segment he filmed for The Professor Project recently. He discusses how cultivating happiness is an intentional practice and a choice, it’s something he works on daily.

  Morning Chalk Up  


30% Off NIKE Gear

Use the code “POWERUP” today and tomorrow to get 30% off NIKE gear including the Metcon 5. Upgrade your gear with this two-day event, and take your training to the next level.

  Morning Chalk Up  


Sheet-Pan Potato Hash

These sheet-pan potatoes are somewhere between french fries and potato chips. The key to achieving the “crispy-meets-creamy” texture is to use russets. Their natural starch and low moisture content make them ideal for roasting at high temperatures. Coat them in oil and serve with smoked fish, roe, dill and red onion.





Affiliate Community Fundraiser Roundup

We love getting the opportunity to learn about and support all of the great fundraisers and charity events happening around the affiliate community. Here’s a quick list of a few that are on our radar currently:

  • Hugo WOD for World Downs Syndrome Day: On March 21, CrossFit Le Cheile in Cork, Ireland will host the Hugo WOD to raise awareness about Downs Syndrome and raise money for the Downs Syndrome Cork and Downs Syndrome Centre Cork organizations, both of which provide vital services for individuals with Downs Syndrome. The fundraiser is being organized by Jennifer and Paul Meagher to honor their 2-year-old son, Hugo, who has Downs Syndrome and is a big part of the CrossFit Le Cheile community.  
  • Team Dumbbells 4 Donna: On May 9, DeltaTrain Liberty Village in Toronto, ON will host the Dumbbells 4 Donna fundraiser to support the Canadian Cancer Society in memory of Jill Haringa‘s mother. She was hearing impaired and developed a brain tumor that ultimately inhibited her ability to communicate with sign language. CrossFit and the DeltaTrain community became Jill’s outlet. Team registration and donations will support brain and CNS cancer research.
  • Michael Cannon Memorial WOD: On March 7, the CrossFit Luminary community in Grand Rapids, MI hosted a memorial WOD for Michael Cannon, one of their members who passed away on March 1 from injuries sustained in a car accident. He was an Eagle Scout and coach at Luminary. Together they raised over $10,000 to help cover medical bills and funeral expenses for his family and the donation page is still open for those who want to contribute.
  • Gauntlet to Fight against Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy: On March 28, Hard 2 Kill CrossFit in Arden, NC will host a Gauntlet competition to raise money of the Jett Foundation. The proceeds will go toward the purchase of an accessible van for Javon Clark and other children and young people affected with Duchenne.
  • Tyler’s Voice: On April 18, Mossy Creek Fitness will host a 5k and team competition to support and encourage individuals with special needs and developmental disabilities. All proceeds will be donated to The Special Olympics, East Tennessee Division. The fundraiser honors Tyler Swanson, a young member of the Mossy Creek community with a rare genetic condition known as SATB2.
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3/14 – 3/15: Sector Games 6 (Manati, Puerto Rico)
3/14: Going HAM TxFit Games 2020 (Southlake, TX)
3/14 – 3/15: The Tactical Games (Burnet, TX)
3/14: Granite Games Spring Throwdown (Lancaster, OH)
3/14 – 3/15: WOD GODZ III (Shreveport, LA)
3/14: CFL St Patrick’s Day Competition (Longmont, CO)
3/20 – 3/22: Okanagan Valley Throwdown (Penticton, Canada)
3/21: Pot O’Gold Throwdown (San Antonio, TX)
3/21: GRID 6 SCII (Columbia, SC)
3/21: Slingin Iron “Spring Fling” (Walker, LA)
3/21: WOD FOR OOCH (Toronto, Canada)
3/21: The Cheru Challenge (Denver, CO)
3/21: Battle of the Beast “Shamrock Showdown” a Strongman Event (Hudson, NY)
3/21 – 3/22: Rumble by the River (Columbus, GA)
3/21: All Valley CrossFit Championship (Wildomar, CA)
3/21: All Valley CrossFit Championships (Wildomar, CA)
3/28: HYROX Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)
3/28: Fit for Freedom (Saint Charles, MO)
3/28: The 615 Theowdown (Nashville, TN)
3/28 – 3/29: Dork-A-Thon at CrossFit Florian (Norwood, MA)
3/28 – 3/29: Freaking Crossfit Throwdown (Miami, FL)
3/28: HYROX Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)
3/28: Rookie Rumble at CrossFit Off the Grid (Williamstown, NJ)
3/28: Muscle Madness (Coppell, TX)
3/28: GOAT – A Youth Fitness Competition (Olyphant, PA)
3/28: CFQ SPRING FLING (Quispamsis, Canada)
3/28: CrossFit Katy Team Classic VI (Katy, TX)
3/28: Thunderdome Throwdown (Northfield, MN)
3/28: H2K’s Gauntlet fight against Duchenne muscular dystrophy (Arden, NC)
4/2 – 4/4: Anarchy In The OK (Edmond, OK)
4/3 – 2/4: CFE’s Two Peas in a Pod – Same Gender Partner Competition (Burlington, MA)
4/4: Battle of the Sexes (Northville, MI)
4/4: AC2 Individual Competition (Flagstaff, AZ)
4/4: Kilo Crushfest (Hampton, VA)
4/4 – 4/5: The Tactical Games (San Jon, NM)
4/4: Battle of the Ages – Winnersville (Valdosta, GA)
4/4: Rookie Rumble at (Mountainside, NJ)
4/4: Remember a Lift (Southbury, CT)
4/4: Warrior Affiliate League Deuces Wild (Fontana, CA)
4/5: Freehold Spring Lift Off 2020 (Freehold, NJ)
4/5: Cap City Ope (Alexandria, VA)
4/11: Rookie Rumble at River Valley CrossFit (Van Buren, AR)

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