Two athletes at competing ends of the spectrum of their careers cast definitive victories this past weekend at the Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge in Knoxville, Tennessee.
One was none other than four-time defending champion Tia-Clair Toomey, who has added an Orr onto the end of her name since marrying coach Shane Orr, and the other was a relative unknown, who is now on everyone's radar.
Toomey blew the competition away in typical Toomey fashion, finishing some events well before the other competitors, essentially leaving them in their dust to fight for second place. It shows that even though training partner Mat Fraser, who retired in February after his fifth straight title, is out of the picture in terms of competing alongside her in the men's division, she is not going to miss a step.
Toomey is gunning for her fifth title, and dispatched with two of her projected 2021 CrossFit Games finalists, Haley Adams and Brooke Wells, with a resounding win in Tennessee. What does this mean? Unless someone pulls a miraculous upset for the ages this July in Madison, Wisconsin, expect Toomey to equal Fraser in the trophy case contest.
And then there was Jayson Hopper, an unknown 23-year-old former collegiate football player for Clemson, who burst onto the scene at the Mid-Atlantic. How impressive was the young gun's win? Not only did he beat the field of 30, he bested some serious heavy hitters in the process.
Justin Medeiros, Scott Panchik and Travis Mayer, all battle tested CrossFit Games athletes, could not find an answer for Hopper. The kid had the secret sauce, and in one of the deepest semifinals of the 10, he showed he can not only hang with the big boys, but beat them.