Four Years Later, Ocean State’s Finest Earns Return Trip to the Games
On Sunday afternoon two weeks ago, in Eagan, MN, Ray Fleser and his team, Ocean State’s Finest, huddled up and waited in anticipation hoping to hear their name called as the fifth and final team to earn a spot to the 2021 NoBull CrossFit Games; this is a position they had been in before. In fact, it seems Ocean State’s Finest is the only team this season bringing back the exact same lineup from a pre-Sanctionals (meaning before 2019) run at the Games.
Flashback: At the 2017 East Regional there were six very good teams vying for five spots to the Games. In the final, Fleser’s team took third place, beating East Woodbridge by one spot in that event to hold them off, and knew it had been enough to secure the fifth and final position that year. This year, the final workout did not go as well for them. They took seventh on the workout called “Worm and Stuff”, and all Fleser and company could do was hope they’d banked enough points earlier in the weekend to fend off another experienced team — 12 Labours Lions — who was challenging them for the final Games spot.
Remind me: Back in 2017, team rosters featured six athletes (as opposed to the teams of four we are familiar with now). However, the four athletes we saw compete at the Granite Games were part of their larger team four years ago.
Ray Fleser is the co-owner and director of fitness operations of Ocean State CrossFit (also known as Ironclad Fitness Center) in Cranston, Rhode Island. He’s had extensive competition experience as an athlete, but also has done the hard work to obtain his CrossFit Level 3 credentials among several other certifications.
Mayhem in Madison: Royce Dunn and Scott Panchik Take Parallel Paths to CrossFit Games
The first week of the CrossFit Semifinals came to a close with several athletes punching their tickets to the CrossFit Games. Australia’s Royce Dunne and North America’s Scott Panchik were among this group, continuing their parallel journeys to Madison. Both men competed as individuals, went team as members of CrossFit Mayhem, and then returned to individual competition once again while following similar programming.
Remind me: The head coach at CrossFit Torian in Brisbane, Dunne has three appearances at the CrossFit Games with the most recent as the member of Invictus Boston. His lone trip as an individual was in 2018 when he placed 34th. Dunne returned to individual competition for the 2021 season and won the Torian Pro Semifinal event with a standout performance.
How Barbells for Boobs Gave Breast Cancer Survivor Emma Morrett Her Confidence Back
Emma Morrett was 43 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018.
“At first, I actually had a false negative biopsy,” explained Morrett, who had been doing CrossFit since 2014 and was in the best shape of her life when she found a lump in her breast.
When doctors removed the five centimeter lump and tested it, it came back positive for cancer. This led to a mastectomy of her right breast in 2019, and reconstruction surgery last November.
Today, Morrett is cancer-free and competed in her first multi-day CrossFit competition earlier this month, the Legends West Regional competition hosted by Outcast CrossFit in Las Vegas, NV.
A Weekend to Remember
The weekend was an emotional one for Morrett, and not because she hit a 145-pound clean and jerk PR, but because of the support she received from her friends at Barbells for Boobs, a charity founded by long-time CrossFit athlete Zionna Hanson that provides support and education to incorporate physical activity for breast cancer risk reduction, treatment and survivorship.
The 2018 Crossfit Games season was a high watermark, both in terms of Open participation and network media coverage, so it came as a surprise to many when CrossFit HQ decided to take a step back from social media in May of 2019.
Without warning, the sport’s official accounts on Instagram and Facebook were deleted, leaving millions of followers unable to tag, share, or refer to the vast amount of content that was available before.
For the followers it was inconvenient but for several athletes making waves, it was heart-breaking. These athletes devoted months of work to overcome a new qualification process, without being able to enjoy any of the wide-reaching exposure or recognition that HQ imparts on its up-and-comers via its own media outlets.
One of these overlooked athletes was Spain-based Norwegian Jacqueline Dahlstrøm. This weekend at the German Throwdown, Dahlstrøm carded a stellar performance, finishing all six events in the top four, winning workout one and taking second in workout four along the way. She took second place overall, behind veteran Kristin Holte, and punched her ticket to Madison.
But, her road to the 2021 Games has been paved with adversity.
We're not knocking mobility work, but when you perform, it could have a huge impact on your performance. Check out this overview from WOD Science to discover the relationship between stretching and performance.
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