Top 7 Highlights of the 2019 DUC

Published by John-Micheal Bric on

The 2019 Down Under CrossFit Championship provided a stack of highlights for CrossFit fans across the world.

The three days of competition in Wollongong, Australia saw individual athletes and teams tackle workouts inside the WIN Entertainment Centre as well as outside. In no particular order, here is a list of the seven top highlights from the 2019 DUC:

1 Jake Douglas’ Record Lift!

Jake Douglas came into the 2019 DUC as a bit of an unknown, having never competed at the Games or previous Regional events in Australia. However, his performance in the opening Individual Event gave him worldwide recognition.

The weightlifter from Tamworth completed a 387lbs lift in the max Clean and Jerk Event, tying the world record for the heaviest C&J lift in CrossFit Games Season Competition History!

“I was pretty comfortable but It was a little risky,” he said shortly after claiming the Event win. “I knew there were some strong guys behind me so I knew if I had to give them something hard to beat. I’m lucky it paid off!”

Wile Douglas didn’t go on to win another Event for the rest of the weekend, he did finish in 18th place overall, and will also go down in CrossFit history for his monster lift on Day 1.

 2 Epic Finish in Team Division

Heading into the 2019 DUC much of the talk around the Team division was focused on the Australian ‘super-teams’ of Project X (Khan Porter, Harriet Roberts, Brandon Swan and Jess Coughlan) and the X-Terminators (Rob Forte, Maddie Sturt, James Newbury and Kate Gordon).

Both teams occupied first and second on the leaderboard for the majority of the weekend, and leading into the final Event the equation was simple: the first team to complete workout, wins 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.

3 Emergence of Matt Mcleod

After competing at the past six Regional Events in Australia, and four Sanctional Events this season, Matt Mcleod finally secured a CrossFit Games invite at this year’s DUC.

On Day 2 the 26 year-old showed every one his worth winning two Events and claiming second place in another. It gave him a considerable lead on top of the leaderboard heading into the final day of competition. But having narrowly missing out on Games qualification at the past two Regional Events in Australia, McLeod wasn’t get ahead of himself.

“I have had (bad luck) here at Regionals before and I don’t want that to happen again,” he said. “I just want to prove myself a little more”.

And prove himself he did, claiming another top 10 finish in the final Event of the competition to claim first place and secure his first appearance at the CrossFit Games this year in Madison Wisconsin.

“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 just went out, stayed cool calm and collected and did what I had to do.”

4 Beach Event

For the first time ever in Wollongong, we saw CrossFit competition head to the beach. Individuals and Teams were put through a run, swim, run on Day 2 of competition.

It really was an iconic setting with big waves and sunny conditions at Wollongong beach with hundreds of spectators lining the sand to catch all the action.

It’s not every day you get to see some of the world’s fittest athletes compete outside the competition floor without a barbell or equipment. It certainly was one of the more memorable moments of the 2019 DUC.

5 Barnhart vs. Green

Games veterans Amanda Barnhart and Jamie Green headlined the action in the Female’s Division in the inaugural DUC.

The internationals showcased their class from the beginning and on the final day of competition both had clear lead over their nearest rivals on top of the leaderboard.

In the end Barnhart proved just too good, and claimed the women’s DUC title at Wollongong. The American finished the weekend with 3 Event wins and 3 second place finishes, with her worst a result a 5th place finish.

Barnhart will now head to Madison, Wisconsin as a major contender to claim the title of the “Fittest on Earth”.

6 Heppner Finally Gets a Win

Jacob Heppner was one of the biggest names competing in the Men’s individual competition at the 2019 DUC. The 7th place finisher at the 2016 CrossFit Games only competed at one sanctional event this season, and that was the Down Under CrossFit Championship. While he had already secured an invite to the Games, many had expected him to be on top of the leaderboard by the end of the weekend.

However, heading in the final heat of competition, Heppner was yet to secure an Event win.

Keen to change that, the American started the rope climbs, toes-to-bar and weighted pistols workout strong, and went unbroken on all t2b’s to finish the nearly 30 seconds faster than his nearest rival, and claim his first event win of the weekend.

“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).”

7 Alethea who?

With a star-studded field of athletes in the women’s competition, including Jamie Greene, Amanda Barnhart and Courtney Haley, many could have been forgiven for overlooking Alethea Boon as a title contender.

Not only has the New Zealander endured a horror run of injuries over the past few years, but at the age of 35, there were questions marks over weather age may have caught up with her.

However, Boon was quick to dispel all of those doubts at this year’s DUC, securing four top-five finishes and an Event win on the final day of competition to finish fourth overall, and secure an invite to compete at her fourth CrossFit Games as an individual.

Since the DUC, Boon has decided to compete at the 2019 CrossFit Games in the Masters Division, having already secured an invite earlier in the year in her age category. Her invite has now been offered and accepted by Lindsay Vaughan who also received the “Spirit of the Games” award from the Down Under CrossFit Championship team.

Either way, Boon’s performance at the 2019 DUC certainly proved to everyone that at 35 years of age, she is still very capable of beating the world’s best, and will certainly be an athlete to keep an eye on at the 2019 CrossFit Games.