April 28, 2021
2021 Quarterfinal: Pearce, Shadburne, Brandon, and Morakinyo

Training teammates Kari Pearce​, Bethany Shadburne, Danielle Brandon, and Tola Morakinyo give us a behind-the-scenes look at their Quarterfinal weekend at CrossFit Culmination South in Las Vegas.

Over the weekend, the athletes took on five separate tests, surpassing their goal of qualifying for Semifinals while surrounded by their supportive community.

Third-Fittest Woman on Earth (2020) Pearce started the weekend off with a test win, finishing Test 1 in 6:32​ on the North America leaderboard. Two-time Games athlete Brandon was close behind with a time of 6:37​, good for third place.

“There’s always something positive to come out of everything,” says four-time Games athlete Shadburne about her Test 4 performance. At the 2020 Games, Shadburne hit a 231-lb. 1-rep-max front squat in Stage 1. Although Test 4 was Shadburne’s worst test finish, her 4-rep-max front squat at 239 lb. was a big improvement over last year.

Shadburne had her best test finish in Test 3, taking seventh place on the North American leaderboard.

“Savage, right here. Makes no sense,” says coach Justin Cotler. “With her height, to be able to row like that — it’s absolutely unbelievable.”

With Test 5 left to complete, the pressure was on for three-time Games team athlete Morakinyo, who was close to the qualifying cut line. Morakinyo rose to the challenge. He had the fastest time worldwide in Test 5, coming in at 1:48​.

Teammate and two-time Games athlete Brandon didn’t want to be left behind. She also posted the fastest time worldwide on the women’s leaderboard, finishing Test 5 in 2:23​.

At the end of the weekend, the athletes hit the jackpot, earning three first-place finishes between them and qualifying for the next stage of competition. On the women’s North America leaderboard, Brandon finished in eighth place, Shadburne finished in 11th, and Pearce took 28th. On the men’s side, Morakinyo finished in 37th.

“Overall, I think it was a good weekend, and it was fun. It’s always nice doing it with other people, too,” Shadburne says. “I think doing something like this alone is always a little tough … . To be able to do it at the same time with other strong, amazing women is really cool.”

Video created by Lillian Fuentes

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