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Why Mayhem Independence Gets the Wodapalooza Team Invite

Morning Chalk Up

February 25


Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up. Five years into her CrossFit journey, Haley Morrone has lost almost 100 pounds and owns an affiliate. Emily Beers shares her inspirational story. And, many of our readers have asked why Team Mayhem Independence will get the Wodapalooza CrossFit Games invitation, Tommy Marquez explains it below. Today:

  • Haley Morrone’s slow and steady transformation.
  • Mayhem Independence earns a ticket to Madison.

What did we miss? Hit us up at [email protected].



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“It ever was, and is, and shall be, ever-living Fire, in measure being kindled and in measures going out.” – Heraclitus


Haley Morrone: Embracing the Slower, but Meaningful, Path to Change

 Haley Morrone: Embracing the Slower, but Meaningful, Path to Change 

When Haley Morrone was 10 years old, her mother noticed something was off.

She was right: Morrone had been sexually abused by someone close to the family for as long as she could remember.

“I don’t even know how long, but some of my earliest memories are of the abuse,” said Morrone, now 38.

“I never really asked her what changes she saw in me, but I think I was just going inward a bit more. I had been a dancer and a gymnast and I didn’t want to do those things anymore. I think because of the trauma, it was hard for me to trust anybody,” she said.

When Morrone’s mother confronted her 10-year-old daughter, Morrone sensed it was an opportunity to end the abuse.

“At 10, I honestly didn’t really understand it, but I think I was kind of waiting for someone to reach out to me,” she said.

Trying to Cope

While telling her mother stopped the abuse, it didn’t stop the emotional toll that would continue to plague Morrone. And by the time she became a teenager, she started to pursue some unhealthy habits in order to deal with her emotions.

“I was always home on time and didn’t let my grades suffer too much, but I definitely coped with drinking and drugs and smoking at a very young age, and fell into the wrong crowd,” she said.

At the same time, she had quit dance and gymnastics and didn’t follow a very healthy diet.

“I ate a lot of fast food, and other junk food and soda. I would stuff myself full and eat for every emotion I was having,” she said. By the time she graduated from high school, the 5-foot-5 Morrone was 215 pounds and continued to be overweight through her 20s, eventually hitting 250 pounds at 32.

Over the years, she tried going to the gym and boot camp fitness programs, and she tried diet pills and Slim Fast — and various other diets that promised quick results — but nothing ever stuck.

From Hesitant CrossFitter…

Then seven years ago, while living in Germany, Morrone’s husband Joe Morrone got into CrossFit. For two years, he tried to convince his wife to try, but to no avail.  

Finally, five-and-a-half years ago, when Morrone reached her highest weight, she agreed to sign up with a few friends.

“It’s kind of funny, because there was a bet going on about who would quit first and everyone bet on me. I don’t blame them, though, because I always said I quit everything that I started,” she said.

She was even kind of relieved when nobody believed in her, as it took the pressure off.

“It kind of gave me a way out if I wanted it. And to be honest, I didn’t even think I would last,” she said.

On the day of the initial consultation at CrossFit Ansbach in Germany, the friends Morrone was starting with happened to be out of town. So Morrone had a choice to make: Suck it up and go alone, even though she was terrified, or chicken out like she normally did.

Something told her to go, she explained.

“And it was terrifying, and the hardest workout of my life,” said Morrone, who could run just 60 feet without stopping at that time.

But then something happened that surprised her. People were so friendly and encouraging and all of them started giving her high fives. She could tell this was a welcoming community she wanted to become a part of.

“And then, I just never really stopped going,” Morrone said.


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Why Mayhem Independence Gets the Wodapalooza Team Invite

 Why Mayhem Independence Gets the Wodapalooza Team Invite 

Four scintillating days of team competition at the 2020 Wodapalooza CrossFit Festival came down to the ninth and final workout on Sunday to determine the fate of two CrossFit Mayhem teams. CrossFit Mayhem Freedom was locked in a heated battle with Team GoWOD for the top spot overall and CrossFit Mayhem Independence was desperately trying to fend off Team Victory Grips for the CrossFit Games invite.

When Mahyem Independence managed to cross the finish line and smack the Throwdowns timing buzzer one last time, they secured a 4th place finish and the invite to the 2020 CrossFit Games and here’s why.

  • CrossFit Mayhem Freedom already has their ticket after they thoroughly manhandled the competition en route to winning Strength in Depth a month ago, meaning the invite would get passed down to Team GoWOD
  • Team GoWOD cannot accept the invite because both of the team’s females, Andrea Nisler and Taylor Williamson, are already on a Games team roster with MisFit P10 performance.
  • CrossFit Games rulebook section 4.05: “Once an athlete is listed on a Games team roster, if the athlete competes on a different team prior to the Games, the athlete’s new team will not be eligible to receive an invitation to the Games.”
  • Team WIT technically receives the invite next but will eventually decline due to both Sam Briggs and Harriet Roberts having individual invitations to the Games already. WIT would be required to list both athletes on their Games roster, but would only have one female alternate to replace two athletes, making them ineligible.

Once Team WIT officially declines, the Games invite will pass down to Mayhem Independence who will ultimately take the invite as the Sanctional invitee from Wodapalooza. Mayhem Independence missed out on the Games last season after nearly making the podium and finishing 4th at the Games in 2018.

  • Mayhem Independence’s Wodapalooza competition roster: Chase Hill, Royce Dunne, Kristin Miller, and Feeroozah Saghafi.
  • Kristin Miller is the only returning member from the 2018 Mayhem Independence Games roster, however, Chase Hill is the only athlete on the team without any Games experience.
  • Fee Saghafi earned her individual invitation to the Games from the Mayhem Classic and will be replaced on the team for the Games by 2019 individual Games athlete Taylor Streid, who coincidentally earned her invitation last year as an individual from Wodapalooza.
  • Saghafi will still be required to be listed on the official team roster for the Games (rulebook section 4.05), but will be listed as an alternate, leaving Mayhem Independence without a true alternate in case of injury or illness to Miller or Streid.



The newest Dottir!

Rory McKernan caught up with Annie Thorisdottir at Wodapaloza in Miami this weekend to talk about the big life changes coming her way. And, she made a big announcement — she’s having a girl!

 Morning Chalk Up 



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Everything Else

Here’s a quick roundup of some things happening around the CrossFit community right now:

  • Ross Middle School in El Paso, TX is hosting an American Ninja Warrior-like competition called the FlipFit Ninja Warrior Summit on February 27. The competition is part of “Raise Up The Bar,” the El Paso Independent School District’s innovative CrossFit program for middle schoolers.
  • A new CrossFit box opened in a very old building in Beach, ND on February 1. The Refinery – Home of CrossFit Accede welcomed new members into a 100-year-old building after the owners spent a little over a year bringing it up to code. Owners Val Craigo and Sami Aldinger are offering a variety of programs and options for new members.
  • On September 23, 2019, Pierre Gibbons ran into a massive house fire to save his elderly neighbor. He suffered burns over 80 percent of his body and doctors gave him a 10 percent chance of survival. After months in the hospital though, he is recovering and CrossFit Catonsville, near Baltimore, MD, where Gibbons’ son Jeremiah is a member, is holding a hero WOD in his honor and to raise money for medical treatments.
  • Earlier this month, Parade Magazine online published a story entitled “Is CrossFit as Dangerous as You Think? Here’s What You Probably Don’t Know.” In it, the writer, Ashley Lauretta, a CrossFitter herself, worked to dispel some misinformation about injuries and CrossFit.
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2/28 – 3/1: True Strength Camp (Vancouver, WA)
2/28 – 2/29: CrossFit West Richland’s One Ton Challenge (West Richland, WA)
2/28: Community WOD for Trevor (Fuquay-Varina, NC)
2/29: On Track Team Challenge II (Olathe, KS)
2/29 – 3/1: Gi’s and Janes (Jackson, MS)
2/29: 151 Marion Mad Hatter (Marion, IA)
2/29: 2nd Annual Heartbreakers Competition (Fort Sill, OK)
2/29 – 3/1: War of the WODs Team Event (Greensboro, NC)
2/29: No Millennials Mash- Up (King of Prussia, PA)
2/29: True Paw Throwdown (Annapolis, MD)
2/29: Steel Rail Shootout 2020 (McComb, MS)
2/29: Operation O’Dowd (Lakewood, NJ)
2/29: On In The Gong 3 (Wollongong, Australia)
2/29: Raven’s Pursuit Twisted 5k, Row-for-a-purpose (Greensboro, NC)
2/29: Leap Year Competition (Stilwell, KS)
2/29: Red River Riot (Moorhead, MN)
3/7: NO BOYS ALLOWED (Plymouth, MI)
3/7: No Boys Allowed (Wyoming, MI)
3/7: The Burpee Mile (San Diego, CA)
3/7: Victory Games (Columbia, MO)
3/7: Granite Games Spring Throwdown (Paramus, NJ)
3/7: Swolemate Showdown at Outlier Crossfit (San Diego, CA)
3/7: Spring Granite Games Throwdown (Hollister, CA)
3/7: No Boys Allowed (Grand Rapids, MI)
3/7: Showdown in the Valley (Clemson, SC)
3/7: Indy Iron Games (Indianapolis, IN)
3/7: Granite Games Spring Throwdown (Klamath Falls, OR)
3/7: sheSTRONG (Collingwood, Canada)
3/7: Kids Buddy Brawl (Valdosta, GA)
3/7 – 3/8: Fittest of the Coast (Charleston, SC)
3/7: Spring Cleaning (Beverly, MA)
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)
3/28: 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)

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