Good Morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up. The Wodapalooza Miami Fitness Festival kicked off yesterday with two events each for the individuals and teams, we have a full recap below. And, the Miami Sanctional has become an annual destination event for CrossFit fans from around the globe, we got some insight into why. Today:
Recap: Wodapalooza Day One.
Fun and Fitness in the Miami Heat.
Hit a big lift or PR as we roll toward the weekend? Let us know at [email protected].
“It’s hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.”– Theodore Roosevelt
Wodapalooza Day 1 Recap
If the opening day of Wodapalooza is a gauge of what the next three days of competition will be like then we are in for some excitement. The day featured the next chapter of a much-anticipated match-up in the women’s division, not one but two Mayhem teams putting on a show and a men’s leaderboard that is volatile as the South Florida weather.
The men’s division:
You can’t help but wonder what Travis William’s intentions were when he decided to compete as an individual at Wodapalooza. His team Misfit Pro10 Performance accepted their invitation to the 2020 CrossFit Games after winning at the Dubai CrossFit Championship but now he finds himself atop the leaderboard after a wild evening at Miami’s Bayfront Park.
Event two promised excitement and it delivered, the appropriately named event, “Miami Heat,” was a version of the elimination-style event that was first seen at the Brazil CrossFit Championship last season. Featuring a 2:00 minute time cap, each athlete would complete 30 calories on an Assault Bike then complete a 30-foot overhead barbell lunge to the finish line. The weight on the barbell would increase each round as the field was cut down to 20 athletes in round two to 10 in the final round.
However the Miami weather would have something to say about that. The evening rain picked up right before the final round, causing a small delay, as event organizers and the athletes decided how to proceed. For safety reasons, the overhead lunges were changed to front rack lunges.
In true William’s fashion, he went “full-send” in each round in a workout that fit his aggressive style. Williams finished second in the event behind Josh Gervais, and coupled with his fourth-place finish in event one, gave him a six-point lead over Cole Sager at the end of day one.
Defending Wodapalooza champion Patrick Vellner sits in third place, fourteen points behind Williams. He opened the competition with an event win before faltering in the final round of event two, finishing ninth.
Saxon Panchik, who finished ninth at last year’s Games, sits in fourth. After day one, Panchik appears to be the front-runner for the Games invitation, if you factor William’s team invitation.
Gervais (sixth), Adrian Mundwiler and Saxon’s twin brother Spencer Panchik (tied for seventh with Mundwiler) are all in the hunt for the Games invitation.
Hometown favorite Noah Ohlsen sits in fifth place after seventh and 13th place finishes in event one and two respectively.
2015 Games champion Ben Smith and a trio of national champions in Fabian Beneito Selles (Spain), Willy Georges (France) and Zack George (United Kingdom) all withdrew from competition prior to the first event. Reasons are unknown but all four athletes have a Games invitation.
The women’s division:
Much has been said and discussed of the match-up between Tia-Clair Toomey and Sara Sigmundsdottir in a stacked women’s division. It has been compared to a heavyweight fight and day one did not disappoint.
Toomey dominated the opening event “Luce” finishing nearly a minute ahead of second-place Kari Pearce with a time of 21:49. Sigmundsdottir was third in the event not far behind Pearce.
Sigmundsdottir had the look of determination on her face and fire in her eyes as she awaited for event two to start. She won all three rounds including a dominating final round where she beat her closest competitor Amanda Barnhart off the bike by ten seconds. She wasted no movement in getting the 150 lb barbell overhead and lunged all the way to finish without breaking or misstepping.
Barnhart finished second followed by Toomey in third. The finishes put Toomey and Sigmundsdottir in a tie with 188 points apiece heading into day two.
Sigmundsdottir’s event two win snapped Toomey’s five-event win streak. Toomey won the final four events at the Mayhem Classic before winning event one at Wodapalooza.
Pearce sits in third place with 162 points. Last year she placed second at Wodapalooza behind Toomey and ahead of Sigmundsdottir.
Jessica Griffith currently sits in the Games invitation spot, in fourth place. She placed tenth in event one before finishing sixth in event two.
Griffith is being chased by a number of athletes, all within 24 points. Lauren Suever is just six points behind Griffith in sixth place. She is followed by Kendall Vincelette (seventh), Thuri Helgadottir (eighth), Emily Rolfe (ninth) and Paige Semenza (tied for tenth). All are seeking their Games invitation.
Podium favorites Brooke Wells and Haley Adams struggled on the opening day. Wells failed to complete event one under the time cap but bounced back with a fourth place in event two to put her in 15th place. Adams came out strong in event one but struggled in the final round and finished 11th. In event two she placed 16th putting her in 14th overall.
Dani Speegle, Danielle Brandon and Meg Reardon all withdrew prior to the competition. Speegle and Reardon have injuries they are recovering from.
2019 Games rookie Erin Vandendriessche was a late entry into the Wodapalooza field. Vandendriessche placed 50th at the Games last season but has yet earned her invite this season. She currently sits in 18th place.
The team division:
Mayhem Freedom sits in a familiar position atop the leaderboard but have a number of teams looking to unseat them. The “other” Mayhem team is the early favorite. Mayhem Independence sits in second just 18 points behind the four-time Fittest Team on Earth.
Independence was Freedom’s equal in event two as they tied Rich Froning’s team for the event win. Independence, looking for the Games invitation, placed sixth in event one.
Team GOWOD and Team Wit are tied for third place just four points behind Independence and 22 points behind Freedom. GOWOD won the opening event finishing just ahead of Freedom.
Team Victory Grips is in fifth place, eight points behind Independence.
In their first Sanctional appearance, the US Army Warrior Fitness Team sits in sixth place with 148 points after finishing eighth in event one and fifth in event two.
On tap for day two: Three events are scheduled for both individuals and teams in the first day of full competition.
Paige Semenza (112) | Bryan Wong (114) | Training Think Tank (116)
Fun and Fitness in the Sun, Wodapalooza Draws Big Crowds
Wodapalooza Miami started in 2012, as a 1-day competition with 145 athletes, and has now become the world’s premier functional fitness festival. Spectators and competitors now travel from around the world for the four-day event every February. It’s the most highly-attended Sanctional of the CrossFit season and offers elite athletes a rich prize purse.
Being on the ground in Bayfront Park, the site of the event, it feels like more than that though. Here’s how a few of the spectators described the draw of Wodapalooza on Thursday:
Katie Hanger, Affiliate Owner, CrossFit Parable: “WZA feels more like a destination, where, just like with training, there is a sense of arriving at the goal. With the scenery being beach, sun, friends, and barbells, it adds to the pure joy of making it to the exhale. All these elements become a sweet combination of pleasure and pain.
Amanda Agostinelli, CrossFit Falls Church: “Everyone loves Miami — near the beach, night life, shopping…Most of us are suffering through winter during this time of year, so it’s a nice break.”
Allie Updike, CrossFit Parable: “It is such a well-known event in the CrossFit community which gives everyone competing those butterflies of being on the big stage. We get to compete in the same arena as our favorite CrossFit athletes. It doesn’t get much better than competing, sunshine, and the ocean all in one.”
Fan favorites, the Buttery Bros. premiered their newest documentary “The Fittest” on Wednesday evening before the start of the competition at a Miami theatre packed with CrossFit enthusiasts. They have a big presence at the event and here’s how they described it:
Heber Cannon: “WZA has gotten so popular, first because their elite, top-level competition, but then their attention to detail for the average person, scaled and adaptive athletes, as well as even the general spectator who can come and participate in the Gauntlet [a series of 4 workouts that spectators can sign up to complete on the competition floor]. It’s incredible during the day with the sun and when it drops, the bass drops and it turns into a nightclub where people are doing thrusters.”
Marston Sawyers: “It’s the best environment [for a competition] because you’re in Miami Beach and you’re poppin’ the top, gettin’ hot, havin’ fun in the sun. It’s like a vacation.”
By the numbers: There’s no doubt that Wodapalooza has grown in popularity and participation. It’s the flagship event for Loud And Live, who will host five Sanctionals in total this season. According to Loud And Live media director, Kristin Chandler Toth, there are 2700 athletes competing in the event this year across all divisions, an increase of 750 from 2019. And Matthew O’Keefe, President of Loud And Live Sports, estimates that there will be approximately 40-45,000 spectators across all four days, an increase of as many as 10,000 from last year.
Matthew O’Keefe: “The success and growth of WZA really has nothing to do with us, we’ve just provided a platform for the community to express themselves and they’re the real drivers. Whether it’s a judge, athlete, volunteer, or fan, this has become an event that they want to come to because of the energy and atmosphere they’ve cultivated over the years.”
The words of CrossFit Lorton affiliate owner, Hanna Hawkins, who is making her second trip the event, but first as a competitor, encapsulate O’Keefe’s sentiments perfectly:
Hawkins: “When you step into the WZA park, you are in the presence of something so much greater than just strength. You are in the presence of thousands of others who have put in blood, sweat and tears to prove they are worthy of being on this stage. And when they are up there, it doesn’t matter if they are elite, intermediate or scaled. Everyone is out there showing there best, their dedication and their hard work. And although there are hundreds of gyms represented, suddenly we all stand as one community. The community of fitness.”
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Invites for the 2020 CrossFit Games Age Group Online Qualifier have been emailed out. The qualifiers will be posted on the CrossFit Games website on Thursday, March 12, at 5:00 PM PT. Athletes have until Monday, March 16, at 5:00 PM PT to submit their scores.
Stop by the FITAID booth at WODAPALOOZA this weekend for Meet & Greets with your favorite FITAID athletes! Snag your FREE can of FITAID or LIFEAID HEMP, the perfect refreshment to help balance your mind & body after a hard WOD. See you in Miami!
In this episode of the Fresh Cup of Fitness podcast, sponsored by Ice Age Meals, hosts Brittany Marsh and Jessica Danger sit down with Dr. Sean Pastuch of Active Life RX to discuss what happens if your athletes have unmet goals and how Active Life supports gyms.
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The Weekly Fight and VETWOD Team Up to Host Strength Through Struggle
From March 16-29, The Weekly Fight and VETWOD are hosting an online competition called Strength Through Struggle. With divisions of RX or Scaled for M/M, F/F, and M/F, teams will submit scores and videos for one workout per week for each of the weeks. The top podium teams will take home prizes from sponsors including MadFittter, Born Primitive, Ascent Protein, GoWOD, Element 26, Vigorous Apparel and more.
A 501-c3 nonprofit organization, the Weekly Fight uses CrossFit and fitness communities to help turn Post Traumatic Stress into Post Traumatic Growth. Weekly workouts are offered at partner gyms, free to veterans, first responders and law enforcement officials and their family members. The workouts are scalable to all abilities and are meant to build community rather than PRs.
The Weekly Fight uses the donated funds to fuel 3 funds: A Crisis Management Fund to help veteran families in needs, a Scholarship Fund which awards continuing education scholarships to applicants affected by PTS in the household, and Educational Outreach for the general public on PTS.
VETWOD is also a nonprofit dedicated to helping veterans and first responders battle PTSD, suicide and other mental health issues, through physical activity and community. Their mission is to provide an avenue for our warriors and allies to cope with the unseen (invisible) scars from their previous and continued service, through exercise and a strong support system. We recognize that these mental and physical scars are valid, wherever the wounds occurred — whether in-service on foreign soil or during daily service at home.
VETWOD provides gym memberships, gym equipment, competitions and challenges, as well as financial assistance to those in need.