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The WZA Strong Experience

By News, WZA Miami

The WZA Strong Experience:
Friends, Competitors, and Business Partners Dominick Maurici and Rafael Paredes

Last year, Wodapalooza introduced WZA Strong, a brand new competition. It was inspired, petitioned for, and run by a CrossFit legend, Rob Orlando. He has been wanting to do something like this for a long time and was absolutely ecstatic about being able to do so this year in Miami. Rob programmed the events and tested them all himself. We asked him if he would have won the competition and he smiled saying he wouldn’t have won, but maybe top five or ten.

As the competition got underway,a variety of shapes and sizes of athletes came in. There were big guys who looked like they could handle heavy farmer’s walks and stones all day, but when it came to large sets of double unders or an AMRAP of muscle ups, might struggle. Then there were smaller guys, no doubt strong, but you still had to wonder how they would cope with a 250 lb atlas stone or an 800 lb yoke.

We picked out an athlete early on who was recognizable from the CrossFit scene, and he was gracious enough to talk with us between events and tell us a bit of his story.

Dominick Maurici was a 6 times regional athlete in the southeast, he finished as high as 5th in 2012. His last Regional competition was in 2016. He has three kids now and primarily does the one hour class workouts at his gym these days. He also works with Rob Orlando for Crossfit.com, coordinating strongman seminars in the southeastern United States. When he heard about WZA Strong coming to Miami he called up his business partner and friend, Rafael Paredes,and suggested they sign up.

Maurici owns Caution CrossFit in Hialeah,FL just outside of Miami. Paredes, is the owner and head coach at GMA Crossfit in Pembroke Pines, FL. They co-own Caution Strong which is an online programming platform, which offers programming for athletes in CrossFit, Strongman, or a combination of both.

In events 1-3 Dominick looked like the regional athlete we used to know him as. He repped out 54 reps on a Tabata style, increasing weight, deadlift event, including 9 reps at the final bar which weighed 405 lbs. Then he turned around and ripped out 16 muscle ups in a two minute window to put himself in first place overall after the first round of events. Paredes also did great in the morning events, accumulating 53, 9, and 7 reps respectively on that triplet of workouts.

Watching these two men on the deadlift portion of the event was awe-inspiring, because they both fall into the category of athletes whom you would have thought could crush the muscle ups, but might struggle with the heaviest deadlift bar. Maurici is 5’7” and told us he only weighs 175 lbs these days. Paredes is one inch taller and weighs 5 lbs more. When we asked Dominick about the event mid-way through the day he couldn’t stress enough how great it was to be back on the competition floor, especially here at Wodapalooza, and even more so to be competing alongside his good friend.

As the event went on Dom and Raf continued to do really well even when the weights were heavy. In the double under portion of the event 5 and 6 combo Maurici placed second. In the same combination of events Paredes was incredibly impressive with the atlas stone, which as previously mentioned got as heavy as 250 lbs; he took a 3rd place in that portion of the event.

Heading into the final event, which was an ascending weight yoke carry race, both men were solidly in the top ten, and Maurici had an outside chance to podium. The weights started off light, but eventually got very heavy, building from 260 up to 800 lbs. Both Maurici and Paredes held their own against some much larger men, they finished tied for 6th on that event.

Minutes later the podium was announced and it turned out Maurici had done enough to stand on the podium in 3rd place. Paredes finish 6th overall in the competition. Both men punched well above their weight classes if you ask me.

Maurici said being able to get out there and compete again in this less stressful setting was more than just fun, but also reinvigorating for him. He said he’s going to try and find a way to get more competitions in going forward seeming to have rediscovered his passion for them.

Dominick and Rafael are an example, of which there are countless at Wodapalooza. Thousands of athletes competed in either the Gauntlet, Weightlifting Faceoff, or WZA Strong last year; or in one of the 34 divisions that competed over the subsequent three days of competition. Every athlete has a story, every athlete has a life outside of competition. But the joy, thrill, and the fulfillment that comes with being up there on that stage, that’s the celebration of the hard work we’ve put in, and a validation of that fact that we are all Strong.

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Written By Brian Friend

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WZA Miami

WZA Update: What’s New with the Sanction?

By News, Online Challenge

What’s New with the Sanction?

WZA Miami Qualification

CrossFit Inc., & WZA jointly announced their sanctioning partnership for the 2019 Wodapalooza & CrossFit Games Season! This is definitely a very exciting time for the entire WZA Community, but you may be wondering, “how does this affect me and my chances for qualifying for WZA and additionally, the CrossFit Games?” Let’s take a look!

 

 

But first, what’s new?

  • Individual Qualifying Spots to the Games: One male & one female will earn a spot to the CrossFit Games, crowned to the winner of the WZA Individual Elite Division
  • Co-Ed Elite Team of 4 Division & One Team Spot to the CFG: To be eligible for a spot in this new division at WZA 2019, teams must apply online. Each applicant will be considered based on their athletes’ recent accolades. The top ten applying teams, selected at WZA’s discretion, will earn a spot to compete in Miami this January!
  • Master’s 50-54 & 55+ Division: Unrelated to the CF sanction, in an effort to be even more inclusive, has split the individual Master’s divisions up, and the top 5 in the 55+ divisions will qualify.

 

Besides the application for Elite Co-Ed Teams of 4, who gets invited?
Here it is, nice and simple per division:

Individual Elite Division –

  • All 2018 Individual Male & Female CrossFit Games Qualifiers
  • 2018 WZA Miami Indy Champs

*Please note, 20 spots will be awarded via the Online Challenge & Qualifier

If all 40 Individual CrossFit Games athletes have been invited and spots are still available, they will be awarded to the next finishers in line via the Online Challenge & Qualifier leaderboard.

Please note that all invited individual athletes have the option to compete as an Individual or Team of 3.

Elite Team of 3 (Same Gender) Division –

  • All 2018 Individual Male & Female CrossFit Games Qualifiers
  • 2018 WZA Miami Team Champs (1st place only)

Please note that 20 spots in this division are up for grabs via the Team Online Challenge & Qualifier

Important Notes on Elite Divisions:

  • All invited individual athletes seeking to compete as a team of 3, can invite any other two athletes of the same gender.
  • 2018 WZA Miami Team Champs earn a spot to defend their title, but all three athletes must be returning.

Master’s Divisions –

  • 1st place in their respective division at the CFG 2018
  • 1st place at WZA Miami 2018 in their respective division

Please note: If an invited master’s athlete is moving up, based on WZA’s age criteria and dates, they will be awarded a spot in their respective new division.

 

When is the deadline to accept my invite? How do I accept?

All athletes have until Friday, October 26th at 11:59PM to accept their invites. Athletes can accept their invitation by emailing [email protected].

 

What isn’t changing?

Team of 3 format
As referenced above, WZA will continue to lay host to its traditional divisions featuring teams of three of the same gender (MMM or FFF) including: Elite, Rx, Intermediate & Scaled Teams of 3.

 

How does it work if you’re not an invited athlete?

Anyone that is not receiving an invite in the elite team division for the reasons above MUST participate in the Team Online Challenge & Qualifier in order to be eligible to earn a spot, starting November 2nd through November 12th.

If looking to qualify for Elite or Rx, register for the Elite/Rx division. The top 20 teams will qualify for Elite, while 21st to 80th qualify for Rx.

If looking to compete in Intermediate or Scaled, register for the Intermediate/Scaled division. If your team finishes in the top 60, you qualify for Intermediate Teams at WZA Miami. If you fall below that, but complete all the workouts and submit the necessary videos, you’re eligible to earn a spot in scaled via Open Registration.

 

The rest of the competition

Team WZA is keeping WZA Miami the same way that you have come to know and love, with the same divisions, the same three days of competition, and more! While change is inevitable, the goal of WZA is to stay true to its roots of celebrating fitness, community, and life, and they intend to do so in Miami, this January.

Why You Should Take on the WZA Transformation Challenge!

By News, Transformation Challenge

Why You Should Take on the WZA Transformation Challenge!

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It’s the time of year when many people may have given up on their New Year’s resolution to transform themselves in 2018. For others, physical transformation isn’t always about weight loss but about adding muscle and strength. Working with Renaissance Periodization, the 2018 WZA Transformation Challenge gives participants options on how they want to transform their bodies. They can work towards a weight loss goal or a bulking goal.

Registration is now open and continues through June 8th. The 10-week Transformation Challenge includes information on nutrition in the form of an ebook from Renaissance Periodization and WZA, weekly programming from experts in the field and exclusive access to a members-only Facebook group, PLUS epic weekly prizes from various sponsors.

At the close of the Transformation Challenge on July 29th, there will be four winners: one male and one female Overall Winners and one male and female “People’s Choice” Winners which will be determined in an online vote. The two Overall Winners will receive $5,000 each plus a slew of other prizes and the “People’s Choice” winners will receive a VIP trip to WZA Miami which includes flight, hotel & VIP tickets.

Don’t wait! Compete by yourself or grab your WOD buddy. Get a group together at your local gym or affiliate and make this a challenge you all conquer together. Let Wodapalooza and Renaissance Periodization help to transform you into the best version of yourself in 2018.

WZA RX Teams Qualify For Regionals

By News, WZA Miami

WZA RX Teams Qualify For Regionals

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Competing as an individual athlete can be a daunting challenge whether it’s in Miami at Wodapalooza, or at Regionals for the CrossFit Games.

Having skill is one thing, but working with others for the benefit of a team takes a lot of heart, communication, and practice. Some of the best Rx Team finishers at the Wodapalooza in 2018 went on to do well both individually and as members of teams during the CrossFit Open. Here are some athletes looking to compete in May for a chance to make it to the Games in August.

Sarah Viets – SinCity CrossFit

Sarah’s WZA Rx team Vegasstrong made their way to the podium finishing 3rd at Wodapalooza this January. Not surprisingly Viets is no stranger to team competition at the CrossFit Regional level. In 2016, Viets was part of the Regional team, SinCity CrossFit ,who finished 26th. This year, Viets has done quite well for herself during the CrossFit Open.  Viets finished as the fittest woman in Nevada and is sitting in 16th place in the South West Region. With an invite to land in her inbox soon, Viets will have the luxury of competing by herself or going back for a shot at the CrossFit Games with her team SInCity CrossFit who finished the year 11th in the South West.

Dillon Betancourt – CrossFit Soul Miami

Betancourt was part of an Rx team who took home a silver medal as Team Soul Incommunicado. This wasn’t the first time Betancourt stood on a podium for a fitness competition. In 2015, Dillon competed on Team FYF and in 2016 he was part of Team Soul who won the Atlantic Regional and went on to place 11th at the 2016 Reebok CrossFIt Games. As an individual, Betancourt had his best year ever in the Open finishing 87th in the South East and 38th in the state of Florida. Neither of these positions put him in a spot to compete in West Palm Beach at the Atlantic Regional this year, but his team, CrossFit Soul Miami sits in 11th place (the top 15 teams advance). There is a great chance Soul Miami will be in and then we’ll have to wait and see if Betancourt makes the cut as one of the two male athletes who will compete for a shot at a return trip to Madison in August.

Elise Fugowski & Nicole Ninomiya -Coliseum Strength

Fugowski & Ninomiya both were crowned as champions in Miami at Wodapalooza in 2018.  Each of them held their own in a tough North East Region which is loaded with a past champion and tons of former Games’ athletes. While neither will have a shot to compete as individuals (Fugowski was 37th and Ninomiya landed in 32nd – her best finish ever) their team Coliseum Strength finished comfortably in 6th place in the North East and 38th in the Worldwide which easily qualified them for the East Regional in Albany, NY this May. With only two spots for the ladies on this Regional team, if their Open scores are any indication (Fugowski’s score was used 3 times and Ninomiya’s scores were used 4 times) of their importance to this team, we’d expect to see them take the floor to compete at the Times Union Center.

WZA Rx Make a Splash in CFG Open

By News

WZA Rx Make a Splash in CFG Open

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Although they lack the festival feel, sunshine and excitement of the south Florida fitness community, there are plenty of other fitness competitions outside of WZA. Because of that, most of the athletes who participate each year continue to compete all year long, including in the worldwide CrossFit Games Open.

While the Elite athletes at WZA continue to dominate this Open, the second highest division at WZA, the Rx, are staking their claim within their respective regions. Each year, the top performers in the Rx division paint a pretty accurate picture as to who will content for a spot in the next stage of the CrossFit Games, Regionals.

Check out how a few of the notable Wodapalooza Rx athletes are doing so far:

Amanda Hardeman

Amanda Hardeman took home a 100 point Rx Women’s Division victory at Wodapalooza in January. Now this Central East athlete (part of the Central Region) is holding her own in the 2018 Open. Through 3 events (technically 4 if you could 18.2 and 18.2a as two events) Amanda is currently in 13th place in her Region. She got off to a blazing start with a second place finish in 18.1 hammering through 398 reps. This score put herself in a good position to land one of the top 20 spots and a chance to compete at the Central Regional competition in Nashville. Hardeman last qualified for Regionals in 2016 where she took 30th place.

Tim Mustion

Tim Mustion finished 2nd for the Rx Men, but despite not winning his division at Wodapalooza, he’s in a great spot in the South East Region. Mustion leaped to the lead on 18.1 with a staggering 458 reps completed.  This scored put him past fellow Wodapalooza Elite competitors, and CrossFit Games athletes, Travis Mayer and Noah Ohlsen. He has slipped a bit in the standings after his results in 18.2, 18.2a and 18.3, but with just two events remaining, Tim still has a 7 spot cushion from the cut line (which is at 20th place). He’ll need two solid scores on 18.4 and 18.5  if he wants a guaranteed ticket to the Atlantic Regional in West Palm Beach, Florida this May. If he slips out of the top 20, he’ll have to wait to see if he can qualify for his first ever trip to Regionals at only 25 years old.

Hayley Murillo

Hayley Murillo, 2nd at WZA in the Rx Women’s division, is making a huge name for herself so far in the Open. She’s currently the 21st ranked woman in the US, 1st ranked in California (home a slew of Games athletes and past champions) and 3rd in her region (the newly formed West Coast). If you’ve followed Hayley at all, this shouldn’t be a big surprise. She is a four-time Regional athlete (two as an individual, and twice as a team member for CrossFit High Voltage). She last competed at Regionals in 2016 and got 34th place.  Her best finish was 2014 when she got 25th in what was then the Southern California Regional. With two workouts left and 35 total spots open for women in the West Coast Region, a healthy Murillo should punch her ticket to Regionals again in 2018 and look to compete for a spot in Madison this August.