“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. go out and get busy.” — Dale Carnegie
Hometown Favorite David Shorunke Gets Strength in Depth Games Invitation
Earning your first trip to the CrossFit Games as an individual is an accomplishment most athletes in the sport only dream about. Earning your first individual trip in front of thousands of your countrymen and women, in your hometown, was a dream-come-true for the UK’s David Shorunke at Strength in Depth this past weekend.
Seven years in the making: Shorunke burst onto the scene in 2014, qualifying for Regionals in his first year and finishing 10th at a stacked Europe Regional that included 7 different athletes that now have individual Games experience.
Two years later Shorunke would get his first taste of the CrossFit Games, relocating to Sweden and qualifying as part of team Nordic Opex. They would go on to finish 6th overall in what would be the Games’ last year in California.
Once the Games moved to Madison, it would be another 3 years before Shorunke would return to live CrossFit competition.
New system, new hope: After changes to the CrossFit Games system brought Sanctioned competition to his hometown of London, Shorunke nearly earned his first individual trip to Games last season.
A third-place finish and podium at the 2019 Strength in Depth meant Shorunke was just two spots shy of earning an invite.
A knee injury put a damper on the rest of Shorunke’s season last year, and 2019 Strength in Depth would be his only individual competition.
Fast forward to this season, and Shorunke nearly qualified through the 2020 Open — finishing 35th worldwide, just two spots away from a backfill invite for a top 20 spot and the national champion spot for the United Kingdom. Despite the near-miss, it was a career-best finish that put the wheels in motion towards qualifying.
Shorunke would return to the competition floor first on a JST Compete team at the Filthy 150 in Ireland, followed by an Individual appearance at the Dubai CrossFit championship alongside his countrymen Elliot Simmonds and Zack George.
His shining moment would come in London, where he caught fire after day one — winning the on-water rowing event, and never finishing an event lower than 4th the rest of the way, setting up an exciting race with Lukas Hogberg for the invite on the final day.
In the last event, with his invite on the line and only 9 points between him and Hogberg, Shorunke mounted a comeback on the final barbell to pass Hogberg and secure his first-ever individual invitation to the CrossFit Games.
Shorunke on the moment: “I think anyone who’s worked at a goal like this, for as long as I have, like six, seven years, understands there are no words that can describe how wonderful it is, that the work you’ve put in, that the people that have put in work around you and supported you, it’s finally paid off.”
The added treat of getting to share his accomplishment with a hometown crowd was not lost on the London native.
“To do it on home soil, there’s no better place in the world to qualify.”
Teachers Turned Coaches: School’s PE Department Built On CrossFit Methodology
If ever there was a dream job for a CrossFitting high school teacher, we think we’ve found it.
“The office” is a brand new facility — a classroom-turned-box at Glenview South High School — with Rogue equipment, two monster rigs, barbells, dumbbells and 16 pieces of Concept2 equipment including rowers, ski ergs and bike ergs. A set up to make any affiliate green with envy!
What’s more, all 25 staff have just completed their CrossFit Level 1 Certification in an effort to bring Coach Glassman’s methodology to the school’s 3,100 students.
Glenview’s Director of Instructional Innovation Ryan Bretag said: “While still in the early phases, the idea is truly to embrace constantly varied, functional movements at high intensity.”
“The intention is to create an inclusive space that allows students regardless of age, gender, disposition to engage in functional fitness,” he added.
The school’s also partnered with local affiliate Crossfit Rally Point to help with the ‘big picture’ stuff.
Classes will be programmed in a similar structure to a 60 minute CrossFit class. The teachers-turned-CrossFit coaches have a four-year-plan to nurture the students through grades nine to twelve.
The facility opened on January 22 and now the students will train there every other day for 90 minutes.
Each class has capacity for 36 students and the center can facilitate two to three classes at a time (that’s more than 100 students at any one time!)
The center is also in the process of applying for not-for-profit affiliate status.
It’s not just training.
All classes will be based around the CrossFit pyramid and follow the same hierarchy of development. Nutrition will also be a big focus.
“Our PE teachers are so committed to a fitness experience that helps students move better, live better and perform better,” Ryan Bretag added.
Teachers are learning too.
When the staff at Glenview South started exploring new methods of teaching two years ago: “The majority were aware of CrossFit but had not experienced it directly themselves or it had been a few years,” Mr Bretag said.
“The energy emerged after seeing how CrossFit was an inclusive fitness experience that was anchored to helping people move better to live and perform better,” he added.
The faculty worked with CrossFit HQ to have all 23 teachers and two administrators take their L1 together at the new facility.
Glenview is not alone.
Vision Charter School in Caldwell has been running a CrossFit program for four years after science teacher, Jason George, earned his Level 1 Certification.
The school is now building a new gym and also received a $10,000 grant from the CrossFit foundation to purchase additional equipment.
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Adaptive Athletes Woody Belfort and Zach Ruhl blaze through bar muscle-ups and high bar dips.
Buckeye Games Uses Open Leaderboard for State-Level Invitational
One year ago to the day, the Morning Chalk Up ran a story on CrossFit HighGear‘s16,000 square foot remodel completed in only 34 days. Now that the dust has settled, Medina, OH, owners Heidi and Jeff Bogue are on to new ventures, including the Buckeye Games, an innovative competition that uses the CrossFit Open leaderboard as the basis for a state-level competition:
Heidi Bogue: “Really, there is a huge gap in the CrossFit world between participating in the Open and attending a Sanctional event.”
With all the changes to the Games qualification process, “many very talented CrossFit athletes are left looking for more opportunities to compete against higher caliber athletes. We felt the need to do something about this and that’s how The Buckeye Games was born,” Bogue, the director of The Buckeye Games said.
Designed for the top 100 athletes in the state per the Open leaderboard, this past weekend, nearly 60 individuals competed along with another 140 team athletes. Teams were comprised of three athletes of the same gender in teen, masters, beginner, intermediate and advanced divisions. Individuals competed in 8 heats of 8 grouped according to their Open ranking.
Thomas Karos, owner and programmer of The Buckeye Games, was pleased with the outcome, “It was very important to me that the programming for the event be well-balanced. We do have some space limitations being inside on a cold weekend in January, but I was pleased with how the workouts brought the cream to the top.”
CrossFit HighGear donated a portion of the proceeds to Rahab Ministries. “Rahab is doing an amazing work fighting human sex trafficking in our state and we want to partner with them in being part of the solution. Through our events we are able to give to worthy charities like Rahab, to athletes and to our members who very generously volunteer their time to make the weekend happen. It takes an army of volunteers to pull these events off, and we want our volunteers to know that their time is being well invested,” Bogue said.
Winners received cash plus swag from various sponsors and the box that brought the most athletes won a Concept2 Ski erg.
A goal: “I hope the event inspires other states to do the same and together, at a grassroots level, we can continue to inspire those passionate about our sport,” Bogue reflected.
Dates for next year’s event have already been announced: January 23-24, 2021. The Buckeye Games 2021 will also add an Age Group division for qualified teens and masters.
One big takeaway: There has been a growing trend among 2019-2020 Sanctioned events to use the CrossFit Open as a qualifier. The Buckeye Games show how event organizers at the state-level are testing out the same process to field a roster of strong athletes for their competitions.