McCaffrey Takes 3rd In 2012 CrossFit Kids Varsity Teen Invitational
In the world of high intensity functional fitness known to many as the sport of CrossFit, the second weekend of July each year brings an opportunity for the world to witness those who fight for the chance to be named “World’s Fittest Man” or “World’s Fittest Woman”. A sport that in the past 2 years has seen immense growth in popularity, due to the pick up of primary sponsor – Reebok, CrossFit has become a focal point of a new training regimen for many of the world’s top athletes in the NFL, NBA, NHL, etc. In Lakewood, “CrossFitters” can often be seen at the corner of Madison and McKinley flipping giant tires and throwing barbells around the parking lot.
While CrossFit Cleveland is made up of many exceptional athletes, one young athlete stands out from the rest, 17 year-old Mike McCaffrey. A soon-to-be St. Ed’s senior, Mike, along with his father John, have been “CrossFitting” for over 3 years. Despite his age, Mike regularly surpasses the athletic prowess of men and women twice his age and experience level (including this author…sometimes).
After attempting to qualify for The CrossFit Games in 2011, he embarked on a year long strength program to increase all his major Olympic and power lifts. This allowed him to achieve extraordinary success not only as an endurance athlete, but also significantly increased his weightlifting ability. Despite weighing in at only 165lbs himself, Mike currently has a 355lb back squat, a 205lb snatch, a 260lb squat clean, a 275lb jerk, and a 445lb deadlift. At a modest 5’10” he also has a standing box jump of54 inches, over three-quarters of his own height.
His hard work and dedication finally paid off when he became one of only 35 teens from around the country invited to compete in the first ever CrossFit Kids Teen Invitational. Though the Teen Invitational was not an official Reebok CrossFit Games event, it was held concurrently at the same site. These young men and women qualified through their performance in this past spring’s “Gauntlet” teen-only competitions around the country. Mike qualified by tying for second place at the CrossFit Kids Gauntlet competition held in March at The Arnold Classic Expo inColumbus. No other teens from Ohio were invited toCaliforniafor the competition.
The Invitational was made up of four individual workouts. Mike had a very strict judge during his opening workout, who did not count at least 15 repetitions due to lack of depth in his wall ball shots. This landed him in a seventh place finish. He proceeded to win the second workout and came in second and third in the third and fourth workouts, respectively. Ultimately, this combination earned him a spot on the podium, finishing in third place. Mike’s coach and CrossFit Cleveland co-owner Bill Russell was on hand at the competition and explained, “I think it [his seventh place finish in the first workout] caused Mike to work harder to make up ground and he learned that tough and possibly unfair judging happens in competitions and you just need to roll with it.”
The entire McCaffrey family made the trip to California to support him, including his father John, mother Peggy and sister Mary. Lakewood’s CrossFit Cleveland owners Staci and Bill Russell also made the trip to help coach Mike throughout the competition.
Mike will most likely be able to compete at the CrossFit Kids competitions throughout his upcoming senior year, as well as being a viable contender at competitions against athletes of all ages throughout the region, hosted by other gyms in the CrossFit community.
Mike’s journey with CrossFit will not end here. The young scholar-athlete from Lakewood is still determined to qualify and compete in The CrossFit Games as an adult. Considering how far he has come in just a few short years, Mike’s commitment to his growth as an athlete leaves no doubt that he will someday find himself competing against the greats of the sport.