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How a High School Program Changed Their Lives

Morning Chalk Up

November 4   |   POWERED BY


Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up.

In today’s edition:

  • How a high school CrossFit program changed the lives of three students.
  • Brian Friend breaks down the strength bias at the Rogue Invitational.
  • Black Rifle Coffee Company is going public.
  • BKG says he’s staying off the competition floor until the 2022 season.
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“Remember, teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.” - Patrick Lencioni

  How a High School CrossFit Program in Las Vegas Impacted Three Former Members 

How a High School CrossFit Program in Las Vegas Impacted Three Former Members

Last month, Morning Chalk Up talked to Michelle Morrison, the CrossFitter and PE teacher behind 10-year-old Rancho CrossFit, a non-profit affiliate inside Rancho High School offering CrossFit classes to its 250 students. This CrossFit program, which has since spread across the entire Clark County School District, impacted every student that was a part of it.

  • “I have kids who go off to college and four years later they reach out and thank me for everything I brought to their life from fitness,” Morrison told Morning Chalk Up.

From high school to now:  Shane Hutchins, a 2015 graduate of Morrison’s program, calls Rancho CrossFit “a good gateway” to fitness.

  • “I think like a lot of kids out of the school system, all I was ever taught was structure. I floundered without the structure, without the guidelines, without the boundaries. I found CrossFit – and I still do – a very valuable tool to provide that structure,” he explained.

Though an active participant in high school sports, Hutchins says he “never really enjoyed them.” CrossFit, on the other hand, is something he’s stuck with into adulthood. The community has become an outlet for him.

Dimitri Kaganovitch, a former student-turned-CrossFit-coach who brought his siblings and mother to the sport, said one of the biggest things he took from Morrison’s classes was the understanding that you “need to get [yourself] into a gym and workout for longevity.”

Learning this early on, Kaganovitch said he’s “been able to carry [fitness] on, rather than learning later in life and having to reverse those years of bad exercise and dieting.”

  • “Kids at that age don’t have an intro to learning about themselves and their body and what’s important and what’s not,” said Kaganovitch, “[CrossFit] is super beneficial. High school is a good age when you can grasp information… and you can take it and use it for the rest of your life.”

Using CrossFit as a “stepping stool” for his other athletic endeavors, Abel Gomez, a former student, and current strength and conditioning coach, says he saw the benefits from Morrison’s program training as a collegiate wrestler.

  • “I was lucky early on to meet someone like Michelle, who initially just set it up in all the right ways for us. She held us to certain standards, held us to certain ideologies when training and when competing, and what the sport of CrossFit was. She never really let us do anything until we were ready,” he explained.
  • “I was more technically sound coming into college,” he continued. I knew my threshold earlier than most.”

One big thing: For both Gomez and Hutchins, mindset was one of the most impactful pieces to come from Rancho CrossFit. “There’s no other way to say it: [we got] into the pain cave early,” Gomez said. “And just found a way to get comfortable being uncomfortable.”

  • “I’m not averse to getting uncomfortable, but I’m not that kind of person. As a kid, I struggled, not with hard work, but with mental fortitude. I wasn’t as equipped to just grin and bear it,” Hutchins said.
  • “Just being able to practice that in high school, going to the gym when you don’t want to go, looking at the board and knowing it’s going to suck but doing it anyway and finding a way to laugh through it or do it with others… I found that valuable later in life, doing the things I don’t want to do,” he continued.

In pilot training, Hutchins said, this was particularly valuable:

  • “Pilot training was the kind of thing I always dreamt about doing; it was a goal for my whole life. But I got up every day and actively hated it. It’s awful.”
  • “But I felt much better equipped to just grin and bear it and put in the work with a [CrossFit] background. I’m not saying that’s the only thing, but I think it was a good way to practice [mindset] growing up.”

The bottom line: It’s been 10 years since Morrison started the Rancho High School CrossFit program, and in that time, 52 schools in the Clark County School District have added CrossFit classes to their curriculum. Every day, as Shannon La Neve, an administrator in the district said, they are “supporting [their] students and building a life-long love for physical activity and nutrition.”

  • “I think Michelle did the right thing for Rancho,” said Gomez. “For the students, she gave them an outlet that they all really wanted to be a part of. You can feel that, and that’s why it’s created what it has in the state of Nevada, with other schools diving into the affiliate, making it a varsity sport, and making it something that anyone can participate in at any level.”
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Yerbae is looking for Extraordinary CrossFitters

Yerbae is looking for Extraordinary CrossFitters

Know someone at your gym who goes that extra mile and makes everyone feel better just by being in class?

Now’s your chance to say thank you (in a big way).

Yerbae is offering some major prizes for CrossFitters who impact their community both inside and outside of the box.

  • Be Anything Extraordinary: 250 winners will get one-month free membership to their CrossFit box, and the top stories will receive a trip to Wodapalooza.

Ready to nominate someone extraordinary?

Head over to Yerbae and tell them their story.


In case you missed it…Dani Speegle sits down with Morning Chalk Up and opens up about her nagging ankle injury as well as her thoughts on the new Games structure.

  • “Three years in a row it was the same ankle. It took me a while to let that go.”
  • “I don’t like the restructure. I think it takes away a lot of opportunities for people who want to be professional in the sport. I understand why we want to make this a community sport but at the same time there has to be a separation between the community aspect and athlete aspect.”

Wodapalooza Teams of 3 qualifier workouts six and seven are out, and athletes have until November 10 to complete all workouts. There’s still time to register.

Black Rifle Coffee Company is going public in a merger deal that values both companies at a combined $1.7 billion.

  • “This will be an important step toward reaching our goal of employing 10,000 veterans, and sharing in the success of the company by creating an opportunity for our supporters to invest in BRCC.”

Bjorgvin Karl Gudmundsson announced that he will not be doing any more off-season competitions until the 2022 CrossFit Games season, meaning won’t be doing either the Dubai CrossFit Championship in December or Wodapalooza in January.

  • Why it matters: Top athletes actually need an off-season to rebuild and shore up weaknesses. It’s possible we’re going to see more Rogue competitors opt to stay home and recover rather than travel.

CORRECTION: In a story yesterday, we misidentified Saxon Panchik as a Mayhem athlete. While he is coached by Facundo Etchecolatz, one of Mayhem’s coaches, he does not have any association with CrossFit Mayhem.

  Strength Bias Shines Through in Rogue Programming: Moreso For Men than Women 


Strength Bias Shines Through in Rogue Programming: Moreso For Men than Women

With three iterations of the Rogue Invitational under our belts now, it’s appropriate to really assess whether there are programming tendencies or biases that we can come to expect at this particular competition. And, perhaps to no one’s surprise, the programming seems to pretty noticeably be favorable for the stronger athletes in the field. Let’s take a deeper look.

Monostructural, Weightlifting, Gymnastics Breakdown by Year

One of the easiest and most common ways to analyze programming at any event is the MWG breakdown, and while it’s a good starting point, there’s often more to the story. Nevertheless, here’s how it stood for the three years we’ve had thus far:

Continue Reading...


The Transition in Ring Muscle Ups

If you can perform a pull-up, and a dip, then you have the strength to crush a ring muscle-up. It's time to work on the technique. Use this drill to start working on the transition between the pull and the dip and you'll have your first muscle-up in no time.




Justin Medeiros' Win at The Rogue Invitational

Congrats to Podium athlete Justin Medeiros on his win at the Rogue Invitational last Sunday. Start your journey to the podium with Fuse--a pre-workout designed especially for weightlifting and high intensity interval training. Use code "MORNING" at the link below for a 20% discount on Fuse in all flavors.



A Very Buttery Photo Shoot

Ever wondered how top CrossFitters look so jacked in photo shoots. Well, partly because they are, but there are also some tricks of the trade. Go behind the scenes of an athlete photoshoot in the Buttery Bros latest episode.



A Free Turkey For Thanksgiving

You have to find the sweet potato pie elsewhere, but we've got you covered for the main event. Sign up to ButcherBox today, and you'll receive a humanely raised, free-range, 10-14 pound turkey free in your first box.



Really...Really Old

What were you doing in 2009? Annie Thorisdottir was competing in the CrossFit Games, and Mal O'Brian and Emma Carey were turning five years old. Check out this CrossFit competitors timeline to see what the next generation was up to during major milestones.


Celebrating a PR, hosting a fundraiser, this, that, or otherwise. Send us a tip.

  • 🎂 Happy birthday Katie Amirian.
  • 🎂 Happy 11th anniversary Push511 from Baltimore, MD.
  • Congratulations Megan Marschke from EHP Performance on the 255 pound/115.5kg power clean PR.
  • Coach Ben Newland from CrossFit Underway in Berwick, Australia hits a 309 pound/140kg snatch, 396 pound/180kg clean and 396 pound/180 kg jerk.
  • Tiffany Beaupré from Aspire Athletic Performance In Westford, MA hits five back squats at 251 pounds/114kg.
  • Congratulations Seamus Dolan from Salt Lake City, UT on the 505 pound/229kg deadlift PR.
  • 🎉🎉🎉 Tara Philion qualified for her 10th Wodapalooza competition. She’s competed in every WZA since it was first introduced 10 years ago.
2/4: Valentine’s Day Massacre (Tucson, AZ)
2/4: The 2023 Winter Classic (Danbury, CT)
2/4: GOAT Youth/Teen Fitness Competition: Individual, Age Groups 10-17 (Olyphant, PA)
2/4 - 2/5: Modena Challenge: Intermediate and Rx (Modena, Italy)
2/10 - 2/12: Fittest if the Coast Championship (Charleston, SC)
2/11: Valentine’s Day Crush (North Hollywood, CA)
2/11: The Big Chill (Chillicothe, OH)
2/11: Cupid’s Clash at THRIVE CrossFit 103 (Staten Island, NY)
2/11: The Big Chill (Chillicothe, OH)
2/11: Cupid’s Clash (co-ed pairs) (Staten Island, NY)
2/12: The 2023 RCF Winter War (Londonderry, NH)
2/18: Moultrie South Georgia Classic (Norman Park, GA)
3/1 - 3/31: Barbells For Bullies: Sit Ups For Pups (Online Event, United States)
3/18 - 3/19: Okanagan Valley Throwdown (Penticton, Canada)
3/25 - 3/26: Costa Dorada Fitness Challenge (Tamarit, Tarragona, Spain)
3/25: No Weak Links (Marcy, NY)
3/30 - 4/8: Nine27 Athletics Spring Showdown (Online, Virtual)

See all upcoming events

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