BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
Fifteen-year-old Claire Doty had her eye on her dream to compete in the 2019 Reebok CrossFit Games and received an invitation to participate in the event in Madison, Wisconsin, Aug. 1-4.
It was Doty’s goal to compete in the CrossFit Games, which are the Olympics of CrossFit. Over 1,500 female athletes in the 14- and 15-year-old age bracket competed and only the top 10 qualified.
Doty, a sophomore at Clarkston High School, is honored to represent Clarkston and Dignified Crossfit.
“It will be cool,” she smiled.
The journey to her goal of being in the games was not easy as she faced roadblocks but continued towards her dream.
The first roadblock came six months after she started CrossFit when a previous gymnastics injury sidelined her. She had two surgeries on her elbow and she was shelved for a year and a half.
“It’s a type of injury you just need to rest,” added her mom, Amy. “It required time to heal so she was sidelined from using that arm. She never gave up her dream.”
Her dream was to compete in the CrossFit Open, which is a worldwide competition consisting of five workouts in five weeks for a chance to make it to the CrossFit Games.
The elbow healed and she was back in full force in December 2017.
Claire went into 2018 continuing with focus on her dream to compete in the CrossFit Open. After the first week of the Open, she was ranked 13th in the world.
During the second workout, another challenge came up as she broke her wrist attempting to beat her own personal record in the Clean, a movement where the athlete lifts the barbell from the floor to the shoulders. She was unable to continue to compete in 2018 CrossFit Open.
“I still had the goal of the games,” Claire said. “It helped push me through. I knew this setback would only help me come back stronger and better prepared both mentally and physically.”
The support from everyone at her gym, Dignified CrossFit, off Dixie Highway, also helped.
“Everyone cheers each other on,” said Amy. “Everyone is so encouraging and motivating for each other. I love that community feeling. She still went to the gym every single day, and she did what she could with one arm.”
Then, her gym closed their doors.
“It was devastation,” said Amy.
Claire joined a gym in Waterford where she earned a spot to compete in the Kill Cliff Granite Games, which is a national competition for individuals, teams, teens and master athletes. She placed in the top ten in her age division after three weeks of six qualifying workouts. She qualified for the Granite Games in September 2018 and placed third overall.
During the time, Dignified Crossfit reopened with new owners Nikki and Jeffrey Rodgers.
“We stopped in and she fell in love with Nikki instantly,” Amy said. “She said ‘I am going back.’ She returned home. Nikki has been awesome.”
During the 2019 CrossFit Open, she qualified for the AGOQ (Age Group Online Qualifier) by placing in the top 200.
“I poured my heart and soul into every AGOQ workout. I was sitting in eighth place worldwide out of 1,460 girls,” she said.
She was excited – the top ten move on to the CrossFit Games.
“She was ecstatic to be in eighth place,” Amy said. “Being parents, seeing your kid’s dream come true we were just so happy for her. Then, two weeks later, she had submitted videos to headquarters to be reviewed.”
Then, Claire received an email.
“I was getting ready for bed and Claire came in with just this look on her face of devastation,” Amy said. “I didn’t know what was coming.”
Her score was modified due to her elbows not coming all the way through on the Cleans – she dropped from eighth place to 11th place.
“My heart sunk because for a couple weeks we thought she was there – her dream came true after all these obstacles,” Amy said. “We felt sick for her. But her attitude was amazing. She picked herself up the next day and was back in the gym.”
“It’s only onward and upward from here,” Claire shared on her Instagram account. “It’s time to hop off this mountain and start climbing another one. I know I can do it because I have the best people I could ever ask for supporting me.”
Amy paused during the interview at The Clarkston News office last Friday and looked at Claire.
“Claire, that’s what impressed me the most about you, you picked yourself right back up and moved on,” Amy said. “If more people could have that attitude the world would be a happy place. Things happen, you move on. he didn’t dwell on it. She didn’t blame anybody. She didn’t blame herself. She just dwelt with it.”
Claire received an email a week ago from the CrossFit games letting her know there might be an open spot and asked if she would like to fill it.
“I wasn’t home so I didn’t get to see the excitement of reaction,” Amy said. “She called me and I heard my phone running and dinging. She was so excited. We don’t know what happened or why the position opened. She was excited and so grateful. It’s been quite a journey but worth every minute of it. It’s been fun to watch.”
Within an hour, she received the official invite to compete.
“I am excited,” Claire smiled. “I am grateful for the opportunity.”
“There were tears of joy from the both of us,” said Amy. “The other day you said you have your work cut out for you, and what you have to work on the next three weeks. I think you are going to represent Clarkston really well. She is a great kid.”
Claire discovered CrossFit while she was watching a gymnastics YouTube video.
“It was on the side so I clicked on it,” she said, adding she wanted to try CrossFit because the athletes in the videos she watched were strong and confident.
After she left gymnastics, she went to Dignified CrossFit, off Dixie Highway, and met with a coach when she was 12 years old. The next day, she began.
“We walked in and said this is it,” said Amy. “She tried it and fell in love fast.”
“I liked how it was challenging and varied,” Claire said.
“What I love about this sport is it emphasizes that strength is beauty,” Amy added. “I have told Claire since she was very little – strong is beautiful. I think that’s what drew you to it – you saw their strength and their confidence.”
Claire walks dogs and pet sits to earn money to help offset gym expenses and her upcoming trip to the CrossFit Games.
She participared in cross country while she was in middle school and was on the track team in eighth grade with Clarkston Junior High School.
Claire focused the last year on CrossFit and Olympic weight training.