Locals qualify for next round of CrossFit Games

By Stephen Baldwin, RealWV

Several West Virginians recently qualified for the quarterfinals of The CrossFit Games including Elise McClintic, Cory Mann, Christian Brackenrich, Matt Rowan, and Austin Hatfield. 

CrossFit is a workout program that combines cardiovascular activity, weightlifting, and bodyweight exercises in a high-intensity workout. In competition, the goal is to successfully complete the workout quickly. Each workout is assigned a point value for time and workout quality. 

While most CrossFitters complete the workouts as a form of individual exercise, some also compete against other athletes. The pinnacle of CrossFit competition is the CrossFit Games, which began this spring. 

Elise McClintic

“To get to the games,” explains Elise McClintic of Lewisburg, “it starts with the online open. You do the workout, video it, and submit your score. They take the top 25% in the quarterfinals.” 

Competitors can participate as teams or individuals. The individuals can choose to compete by age group or in the overall open category, which is where the top athletes battle it out. Some competitors, like Brackenrich, also compete in the adaptive category, which is for people with a disability. 

McClintic, Mann, Brackenrich, Rowan, and Hatfield all met the Top 25% threshold to move forward. Mann will not continue further in the competition, though, as he coaches the Greenbrier East baseball team and they are in-season. But the others will continue competing in hopes of making it to the semifinals. 

“Making it to the semis is my goal,” McClintic shares. “CrossFit is something I do for fun, not for my livelihood.” 

The Top 200 make it to the semifinals, and McClintic currently sits at 253rd in the standings after the first round. 

“CrossFit is about making yourself better,” she says, “There’s always a new skill you’re shooting for. I’ve used it to focus more on my strength this year.” 

Christian Brackenrich

Brackenrich, who was born with a club foot, currently sits at 4th overall, unofficially, in the adaptive division. He is awaiting official results in the next week. “FIngers cross everything was good with the video,” he says. 

Last year, his video was blurry, which resulted in a penalty that knocked him out of contention. This year, he is excited to be back in contention.

“I do it for the mental and physical health, but the competition is a fun secondary goal,” he shares. “The community aspect of CrossFit is the best part for me. We do fundraisers for breast cancer, the Murph, Humane Society. It shows there are people to help, whether it’s life or a workout.”

Austin Hatfield

Whereas McClintic and Brackenrich compete in particular divisions, Beckley’s Austin Hatfield competes in the open division among the world’s best CrossFitters. He won the prestigious CrossFit Crucible recently after competing for the first time at The CrossFit Games last year. He currently sits at 14th in the rankings and is expected to compete for the open title this year. 

*If CrossFitters from other parts of West Virginia have qualified for the games, we invite them to reach out to us for inclusion in future articles. 

Stay tuned to RealWV for updates on this story. 

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