On Wednesday morning last week, John-Paul Hethcock was teaching class and getting ready to head to Washington, D.C. to coach and watch the Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge (MACC). Hours later, he would find out that he would be competing.
Fast forward to Sunday afternoon and Hethcock would surprise the CrossFit community by beating CrossFit Games veterans to win the MACC and earn an invite to the 2019 CrossFit Games. We caught up with Hethcock following his Sanctional win. Check out our interview with the MACC champ.
The Barbell Spin: Many might not know, but you were a late addition to the MACC field after an athlete withdrew from the competition. Can you share the details of what happened that week? How did you find out you would be competing? What was your initial thought?
John-Paul Hethcock: So, I found out Wednesday, just after coaching the noon class. I had an email which included my invite, and informed me it was due to an athlete medical withdrawal. I pretty much decided I would compete instantly, the plan was to go as coach and spectator anyways, so the preparation for the trip was already done. Initial thought was that I liked the workouts that had been released and thought it would be a fun competition.
TBBS: What was your training like in the week leading up to the competition? Were you prepared for a three-day multi-event Sanctional?
JPH: It was a regular training week for me, usually some kind of activity each day. Once I got the email I decided to start taking it easy leading into the weekend. I guess so, I enjoy working out, doing it on the competition floor is always a blast, even when the workouts aren’t something you like as an athlete(10 min Assault Bike).
TBBS: Your girlfriend, Tammy Wildgoose, was also competing this weekend. Did you practice any of the events with her to prepare for the MACC?
JPH: I did 3 of them with her, the 2k ski/grace, bbjo/rc, and the db clean/ttb/du repeat. We did them the weekend prior, her doing a full run through of competition weekend, where I joined her for a few, and was also doing an online qualifier.
TBBS: Heading into the final event you just had to stay close to Will Moorad, what was your strategy for the event?
JPH: I intended to go unbroken on the muscle ups, and just move smoothly through the barbells. Seemed to be working until that 245# bar, had no plan on pacing off of any of the other athletes though, just to run my own race.
TBBS: When you crossed the finish line in 1st place on the final event, what was going through your head? Had it sunk in that you had qualified for the Games?
JPH: I was mad I missed the first two attempts at that 245# bar, and also no it hasn’t sunk in yet, I’m not sure it will until I’m back on the floor in Madison.
TBBS: How did you celebrate your victory?
JPH: With some pizza, beer, and friends.
TBBS: You have been at Regionals the past two years. What was your background prior to finding CrossFit? How were you introduced to CrossFit?
JPH: I have always been active growing up, but in high school I started to lift weights and run a lot. I joined the Marines out of high school for four years, it was while in the Marine I found CrossFit. First experience was watching the games while the athletes were doing the obstacle course, and Pendleton 1&2. Started to do CrossFit on my first deployment, and have been hooked ever since.
TBBS: Who is your coach? Who do you train with?
JPH: Myself. I currently train mostly with Ryan Reeves, owner of Shockoe Bottom CF, and Sam Kitay, another coach from the gym. I often train with Tammy as well, and in the past while living in San Diego I was fortunate to have some awesome training partners, Mason Flynn, Josh Bridges, and Dom Rios.
TBBS: Your Instagram bio says you love pizza. Where is your favorite go-to spot and what do you get?
JPH: I love most pizza, no go-to spot or same thing every time, depends what I’m in the mood for.
Make sure to follow Hethcock on Instagram.
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