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Honoring Young Hero Riley Howell

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“The three big lies: I am what I have. I am what I do. I am what other people say about me.” — Henri Nouwen

Honoring Young Hero Riley Howell


Some backstory.

On April 30, there was an attempted mass shooting in a classroom at the University of North Carolina Charlotte in Charlotte, NC.

Twenty-one-year old Riley Howell, a student in the class, quickly charged the gunman to stop him from harming any other students.  Riley suffered several gunshot wounds, and eventually succumbed to those wounds. 

But many students were saved through Riley’s actions. The shooter, a former student who came into the classroom, had a semi-automatic pistol and several loaded clips and was ready for his plan. Had Rily not stopped him by charging him head on, it could have been much worse. 

One student’s brave action.

Published reports from law enforcement indicate Riley not only charged him, but hit and tackled him so hard that the gunman never even attempted to get up. Law enforcement was then able to respond and apprehend the gunman, who had been hit so hard by Riley he had not even moved from his position on the floor. 

Law enforcement called Riley a hero and lauded his selfless actions at the press conference identifying the two students who had lost their lives. 

A Hero’s Farewell.

Denise Fridl, a coach at CrossFit Asheville where Riley trained, told Morning Chalk Up, “Many of our members knew him well, loved him, and were absolutely heartbroken.  He was a great young man and brought a big smile and warm heart to the box.  Riley was a tall guy with a more lanky build, but very strong.  He loved lifting heavy weights. He grew up working around a farm and was an athlete in high school. He was in the ROTC program at UNC Charlotte and, even though not active duty military yet, given his heroic actions he was granted and buried with full military honors — an unusual circumstances for someone not yet even active duty military.”

Honoring Riley Howell.

On July 13, CrossFit Asheville in Asheville, NC is holding a fundraiser WOD to honor Riley.  All proceeds raised will benefit the Riley Howell Foundation.

Games athlete Meredith Root, who is close with CrossFit Asheville, writes, “These tragedies are never easy to comprehend, but they are especially tough when they happen close to your home. It’s a harsh reminder of the reality that any one of us or our loved ones could face at any moment. Even in the abstract, it is difficult to place ourselves in Riley’s shoes and ask if we would do the same. Would we run towards danger to save others knowing the consequences?”

She continues, “In that way Riley represents the best part of humanity. There are others who have done the same, and many first responders, soldiers, and civilians who put themselves in danger every day so that we remain safe. The workout on July 13 not only honors Riley Howell, but every person who has made a decision similar to his.”

Three Things to Pay Attention to on Day 1 of CrossFit French Throwdown


Day one of competition kicks off in less than 12 hours. Five hundred and forty total athletes assembled inside the Vélodrome National this afternoon to get checked in and briefed.

For a full breakdown of who to watch over the next three days, Tommy Marquez has you covered with his scouting report.

Here are three things I’m going to keeping my eye on Friday.

1. The Heat.

Europe is smack in the middle of a heat wave and France is no exception. Temperatures on Thursday reached 90 degrees and 60%+ humidity and tomorrow will be another scorcher, currently forecasted at 92 degrees (33 celsius) and sunny.

Two of tomorrow’s events include a 8.5km/5.9 mile run and 500m paddle board, and GHDs plus double under on a scorching blacktop outside.

Even inside the Vélodrome, the temperature and humidity are very high. Staying hydrated is going to be a serious challenge and this will take a toll on athletes by the end of the weekend.

Continue reading…

Things To…


WATCH: Forging Greatness with Hunter McIntyre
In this episode of Forging Greatness, Hunter McIntyre travels to Cookeville, TN, to train alongside two-time CrossFit Games champion Tia-Clair Toomey and coach Chris Hinshaw, best known for coaching many of the fittest athletes in the world.


HEAR: Julie Starrett and Michele Fumagalli
Michele Fumagalli speaks with Julie Starrett, about her not for profit, Stand Up Kids, and her other two businesses: MobilityWOD and San Francisco CrossFit. A mother to 11 and 14-year-old girls, a two time cancer survivor, lawyer, and national and world champion of white water rafting, Julie is a complete inspiration.


GET: 6-Pack Abs 30 Days From Today
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EAT: Sweet Potato Cheddar BBQ Chicken Burgers
These chicken burgers with shredded sweet potato are seriously so good. Top with tangy sweet BBQ sauce, sharp cheddar cheese, red onion and lettuce for the ultimate healthy grilled chicken burger recipe that’s perfect for summer.


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  • MEMORIAL WOD –– On Saturday, July 13 the Dallas Police Department will host the 3rd Annual Dallas Five Throwdown and Memorial Fundraiser at the Dallas Police Association with a CrossFit competition, live music, kids activities and a silent auction. All funds raised will be donated to the Helping And Loving Our Survivors (Halos) Fund.
  • ULTIMATE HAWAIIAN TRAIL RUN — Registration for the Ultimate Hawaiian Trail Run 2019 is now open. The race will take place in Kauai in September. All proceeds will go to the Keala Foundation.
  • SPECIAL FORCES FUNDRAISER –– On Saturday, June 29 CrossFit Muehlheim-Main in Muehlheim, Germany is hosting a Hero WOD for Mark Klement, Jr. a Special Operation Commander who was killed while pursuing a burglary suspect.

CHALK UP IN 2 MINUTES (a highlight reel around social media of CrossFit pros and average joes)

Matt Chan hiked the Pacific Crest Trail from White Pass to Snowgrass • Saxon Panchik gets a 370 pound clean PR • Brooke Wells signed a limited amount of Callus Performance units and you can get one with code “BROOKE100”EZ Muhammad posted a throwback to his 405 pound overhead squat • Chase Knight deadlifts 405 pounds for 10 reps • Amanada deadlifts 290 pounds for a PR • Morgan Adams cleans 305 pounds for a PR.

..and if you don’t have a wieght vest, just grab the nearest toddler like Jamie Hagiya did for her last WOD.

CrossFit Filthy 150 Answers FAQ — The CrossFit Filthy 150 took to Instagram to answer a few questions about the International Online Qualifier. 


“Saxon Panchik Deserves a Wild Card,” by Tommy Marquez, Morning Chalk Up

Reaching the elite ranks of any sport is incredibly difficult. Perhaps even more difficult is managing to stay amongst the elite in a sport that’s in a state of flux. In the last five years, only 33% of male rookies at the CrossFit Games make it back the following year. It’s a lesson Saxon Panchik is learning first hand as he attempted to qualify and fallen short on his sophomore campaign to the CrossFit Games.

A year after making an epic comeback to snag the fifth and final spot to Games at the 2018 Central Regional, Panchik now finds himself on the opposite side of the fence after coming up just short of qualifying on multiple occasions this season.

“It’s frustrating for sure, but it’s also something I need to be proud of too,” Panchik reflects. “Half of it is enjoying the little victories, such as I didn’t place where I wanted to in the Open but I did better than I did in any previous year.”

Though Panchik has qualified for a spot to compete in France, we won’t be making the trip to due to financial reasons. As the final sanctioned event of the season, his road to the Games ends here. However, given the fact that the CrossFit Games team has already awarded a wild card spot to Hunter McIntyre, a case could be made that Saxon Panchik should be a frontrunner for another wild card spot.

Panchik has had a busy 2019, competing in the Open along with three Sanctionals that started with Wodapalooza in January and ended earlier this month at the Granite Games. Each time he was just inches away from qualifying.


6/28: Boomtown Summer Throwdown (Burkburnett, TX)
6/28: OUTWOD World Pride Weekend Kickoff (New York, NY)
6/28: OUTWOD Pride Ride Dallas (Oaklawn, TX)
6/28 – 6/29: The NorCal Classic (West Sacramento, CA)
6/28 – 6/30: CrossFit French Throwdown (Yvelines, France)
6/29: Master’s Of The Midway: Team Edition (Lake In the Hills, IL)
6/29: Girls Just Want to Have Fun (Raeford, NC)
6/29: 2019 Chattanooga Classic (Chattanooga, TN)
6/29: Partner Throwdown Part Deux (Apple Valley, MN)
6/29: Unicus Athletics Summer Slam 2019 (Denton, TX)
6/29: 2019 Soul Games (Miami, FL)
6/29: The Freedom Games (Greenwood, SC)
6/29: OUTWOD (Collingwood, ON)
6/29: The Mountain Meltdown Twin Cities (Afton Alps, MN)
6/29: OUTWOD Houston Row Studios (Houston, TX)
6/29: OUTWOD Pride Ride Chicago (Old Town, IL)
7/5 – 7/6: The UG Games (Collingwood, ON)
7/6: The Guardian Games (Lebanon, OH)
7/6: 2019 Rex Rumble 8 (Ocala, FL)
7/12: OUTWOD San Diego Crossfit Invictus (San Diego, CA)
7/13: Warrior Affiliate League Barbellas (Anaheim, CA)
7/13: Wods For A Cause Nova Scotia (Bedford, Nova Scotia)
7/13: The Mountain Meltdown Wilmot (Wilmot Mountain, WI)
7/13: Battle of the Beasts (Hudson, NY)
7/13: The Freedom Fitness Festival (Gainesville, FL)
7/13: River’s End Rampage 2019 (Sharpsburg, KY)
7/13: OUTWOD Westport CrossFit Westport (Norwalk, CT)
7/13: OUTWOD Lubbock Capstone CrossFit (Lubbock, TX)
7/13 – 7/14: Fresh Coast Games (Muskegon, MI)
7/19: OUTWOD Las Vegas CrossFit Social City (Las Vegas, NV)
7/20: OUTWOD Twin Falls The Pack CrossFit (Twin Falls, ID)
7/20: OUTWOD Chicago PXM CrossFit (Chicago, IL)
7/20: The CFB Gymkhana (Burlington, VT)
7/20: Masters Mayhem (Kilgore, TX)
7/20: Belmar Beatdown (Belmar, NJ)
7/20: Battle at the Falls (Granite Falls, NC)
7/20: Old Timers Classic (Williamsburg, VA)
7/20: Hero Games 2019 (Bedford, VA)
7/20: 2019 McCall Throwdown (McCall, ID)
7/20: RX’Mas in July 2019 (Urbana, OH)
7/20: 7/20: Sacred Pine Invitational (Ladson, SC)
7/20 – 7/21: Battle of the Barbells (Nashville,TN)
7/21: The Buckeye Games (Medina, OH)
7/26 – 7/28: CanWest Games (Coquitlam, BC)
7/27: The Mountain Meltdown (Arapahoe Basin, CO)
7/27: 7th annual Dog Days of Summer Competition (Roswell, GA)
7/27: The CF Summer Circus (Des Moines, IA)
7/27: 2019 Summer Meltdown (Birmingham, AL)
7/27: Masters Tour (Travelers Rest, SC)
7/27: Rock The Ages CrossFit Team Comp (Carollton, TX)
7/27: The WoDer Games (Ontario, Canada)
7/27: Girls Gone RX Waco (Waco, TX)
7/27: Rock the Ages at CrossFit Templum (Carrollton, TX)
7/27: The Meshugge Melee (Overland Park, KS)
7/27: All Gave Some, Some Gave All (Whitesboro, NY)

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