2019 DUC – Competition Wrap Up!

Three Invites for the 2019 CrossFit Games were up for grabs on the final day of competition at the Down Under CrossFit Championship.

Individual athletes and Teams had two more Events to make their move up the leaderboard.

In the Men’s division, Matt McLeod led the way, hoping to compete for the first time at the Games as an individual, while Jacob Heppner and Jay Crouch rounded out the top three.

In the women’s competition, Internationals Jamie Greene and Amanda Barnhart occupied the top two spots, holding a decent advantage over Australian Courtney Haley. While in the Teams division, it was a two horse race with just a few points separating Project X and X-Terminators.

TEAMS

While Project X and X-Terminators were the clear leaders in the division, New Zealand teams 64 Army Black and Renegade Z were both still a chance to cause an upset on the final day of competition.

That possibility seemed more likely after Event 7 with Renegade Z taking out the win in the squat clean thruster/burpee workout, and 64 Army Black finishing 5th overall.

Team member Marnie Sykes says they couldn’t’ be happier with how they’ve performed over the three days.

“We won two events yesterday so I guess our confidence is a lot higher than it was,” she said. “We’re being called the dark horses because no one really knows much about the 64 Army, they’re always looking at a piece of paper, (to see who we are) So it’s quite cool to be competitive the likes of Project X.”

Heading into the final Event, X-Terminators and Project X were still the clear leaders, and barring catastrophic performances, one of them was going to claim the inaugural Teams title at the DUC.

In what can only be described as one of the closest finishes in CrossFit competition, the winner of the final heat was determined by a photo finish.

After going rep for rep in the weighted pistols, members from Project X and X-Terminators sprinted to the finish mat at identical times. A desperate slide from Khan Porter appeared to be enough to secure the win for Project X, but a closer look showed Maddie Sturt narrowly edging out Harriet Roberts to claim a thrilling Heat and Title win for X-Terminators.

The win means the X-Terminators now get an invite to compete at the CrossFit Games later this year. Joining Project X who had already qualified having taken out the 2019 Australian CrossFit Championship.

Project X’s Brandon Swan says, while they would have liked to have won, the team is happy with their performance this weekend:

“You couldn’t really ask for a better finish than what I think. The two teams at the top produced so it was exciting for everybody,” he said. “This whole weekend for us was a training exercise, obviously, we want to win, we’re competitive, all of us are, and you always want to be standing at the top of the podium, but this was additional practice for us.”

“We’re very fortunate to qualify early in the Sanctional season. And for us it’s all about getting as much practice and learning what we need to work on going into the Games.”

Final Team Standings

    1. X-Terminators (728)
    2. Project X (716)
    3. 64 Army Black (656)
    4. Renegade Z (650)
    5. Starr Strength Black (520)

INDIVIDUAL MEN

All eyes were on Matt McLeod on the final day of competition, with the Australian on top of the leaderboard, hoping to break his streak of unlucky finishes in Games qualifiers.

Holding a lead of nearly 80 points on top, McLeod was in the hot seat to claim the title and secure an invite to the Games. However, after a poor showing in Event 7 (40th), his lead was reduced dramatically leading into the final heat of competition.

Having not won an Event all weekend, Heppner started the rope climbs, toes-to-bar and weighted pistols workout strong, and went unbroken on all t2b’s to finish the workout nearly 30 seconds faster than his nearest rival.

“I had to win one Event before I left otherwise my wife would have made me sleep with my dog,” he said. “And that probably wouldn’t be a bad thing (laughs).”

Despite Heppner’s first place finish, Mcleod did enough (6th place) to hold onto first place overall and claim his first invite to the CrossFit Games.

“Yeah it’s definitely a little overwhelming and the emotions and stuff, yeah I’ve been fighting for it for a while now, it’s pretty good that it’s happened finally,” he said. “I had a bit of a hiccup in the workout before so my game plan was, I know who I have to beat, I know what I have to do, but I didn’t want to go out there and try to have to beat someone and stuff up my game plan, so I just went out there and didn’t focus on him (Heppner) or Jay. Matt Reilly was the only one I was concerned about, so just went out, stayed cool calm and collected and do what I had to do.”

But despite the breakthrough victory he said he won’t be celebrating too hard.

“Not much happening tonight, I gotta catch the early train tomorrow morning and be at work by midday…”

Australian Jay Crouch rounded out the podium, while local teen Luke De Jonge claimed his first top five finish at a Games qualifier. 

Final Mens Standings

    1. Matt McLeod (570)
    2. Jacob Heppner (554)
    3. Jay Crouch (521)
    4. Matt Reilly (490)
    5. Luke De Jonge (483)

INDIVIDUAL WOMEN

The internationals led the way after the first two days of competition, with Jamie Green and Amanda Barnhart set to battle it out for the female crown. Barnhart held a slender 19 point lead over Greene, and was 94 points clear of Courtney Haley in third spot. With all three athletes already securing invites to the Games, there was also separate battle between Lindsay Vaughan (4th place) and Alethea Boon (5th place) to claim the qualifying spot for the Games.

Boon dominated the opening Event of the day powering through the sandbag cleans and handstand walk unbroken. The New Zealander finished 9 seconds ahead of Barnhart to move up to fourth on the leaderboard, meaning she only had to beat Vaughan in the final Event to secure another Games invite (she has already qualified as a Master).

In the final women’s heat Jamie Greene had to make up 32 to Barnhart to claim the title. And while she did win the Event, Barnhart claimed second place to ensure she leaves Australia with the women’s crown.

Greene finished the competition second overall and admits her American counterpart was just that little bit too good over the three days:

“Yeah I competed with her (Bahnhart) at the Games last year, and there are some Events that we’re really close in and the funny other ones where we are very different athletes,” she said. “But yeah always trying to get up there with her.”

Courtney Haley rounded out the podium, and with a 4th place finish in Event 4, Boon did enough to cling onto 4th place and secure her invite to the Games as an individual. Lindsay Vaughan was awarded The Spirit of the DUC Award.

But the weekend belonged to Amanda Barnhart, with 3 Event wins, 3 second place finishes and a 5th, and will head to Madison, Wisconsin as a major contender to claim the title of the “Fittest on Earth”.

Final Female Standings

    1. Amanda Barnhart (570)
    2. Jamie Greene (544)
    3. Courtney Haley (474)
    4. Alethea Boon (444)
    5. Lindsay Vaughan (421)

Written by Hayley Jensen, Kate McCosker, John Michael Bric and Stephanie McNamara