Jacob Heppner: 2019 CrossFit Games Athlete

While competing, Heppner has built a solid reputation as an unstoppable dark horse.

His career includes four CrossFit Open workout wins, and as many Regionals appearances.

Those have culminated in four games appearances and two event wins. So far.

As one of the most exciting CrossFit athletes to watch, his return to the top of the rankings in 2019 have been incredible.

CountryUnited States
GymCobra Command
CoachAndrew Kuechler
Height5′ 8″

2019 CrossFit Games Season

CrossFit Games Finish6th
2019 CrossFit SanctionalsDown Under CrossFit Championship – 2nd
2019 CrossFit Open Rank3rd
2019 Qualification MethodCrossFit Open

2019 CrossFit Games Pictures

Heppner’s Early Years

Jacob grew up in an agricultural community in San Joaquin Valley. His parents chose to home school him and his sister until they reached high school.

He moved to Missouri for college, where he attended Central Methodist University. Heppner played for the CMU Eagles as a strong safety and outside linebacker. Over sixteen games, he earned 13 tackles and 11 assists.

Jacob graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics.

School and Profession

In school, Heppner earned an internship as a civilian at Fort Leavenworth. During his tenure, he served as a Mathematics Technician and Operations Research Analyst.

He’s now a remote Project Manager for Asponte Technology. Besides competing, Jacob is co-owner of the Midwest-Made training program.

CrossFit Performances

Heppner found CrossFit while at Fort Leavenworth, and excelled. After first competing in the CrossFit Open in 2013, he qualified for a Regional spot with a 31st-place finish. Heppner took 18th at the North Central CrossFit Regional that year.

Since then, he’s had inspired performances. Starting with the CrossFit Open, he has places first, globally, in four Open workouts: 14.2, 14.3, 15.6, and 16.5. His returns to Regional events from 2014 to 2016 saw three consecutive second-place finishes. Besting that, he placed 18th at the CrossFit Games in 2014, 10th in 2015, and 7th in 2016. Those years, he had two event wins: Midline Madness in 2015 and Handstand Walk in 2016.

Heppner’s Hiatus

As a competitor, both 2017 and 2018 were tough years for Heppner. He chose to withdraw from the CrossFit Open in 2017 due to bursitis in his knee.

Jacob Heppner Height

The next year, CrossFit introduced new requirements for handstand push-ups. Those requirements were to reach body height, plus half the length of your forearm. Heppner, not lacking fitness in any capacity, struggled. He has an unfavorable ratio of forearm length to upper-arm length. Jacob announced via Instagram how and why he would not make it to Regionals that year.

Don’t Call it a Comeback

Heppner has taken to 2019 with a vengeance. On top of agreeing to attend at least three Sanctional events, he placed fourth in the 2019 CrossFit Open. It appears the honey badger of CrossFit still doesn’t give a #@&k.


Parents Mark and Marcy are an inspiration to Jacob. Mark was an All-American Division I collegiate athlete, pole vaulting for Fresno State. He was inducted into their Hall of Fame in 1995. Marcy is a long-time distance runner.

Jacob is one of three siblings. His sister Sarah earned her CrossFit Level 1 certification in 2016. As a competitor, she placed top-2500 in the 2018 CrossFit Open, followed by top-1500 in 2019.

Jacob and Sarah have a much younger sister, Emma Grace. She received a diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2009. The Heppner family has worked to raise money for the St Jude Children Research Hospital, which treated the now-healthy Emma Grace.

You can donate to St Jude here. They provide free care to children in their fight against cancer.

Heppner married his wife Kelli in 2014 before his first trip to the CrossFit Games. Kelli is an Area Director for N2 Publishing, where she runs two publications.


Never afraid to back away from a challenge, Heppner is known for his shenanigans. Here’s a list, just to name a few:

Breaking Wodapalooza

While not even competing in the Wodapalooza qualifier, Heppner did the workouts anyway. The result? The next-closest athlete completed 404 reps. Heppner completed 720.

Sorority Rush Week

Heppner completes all 21 CrossFit ‘girl’ benchmark workouts in 7 days. Three workouts a day.

Paddleboard Talks

Heppner cranks out two miles on a paddleboard while talking to us about the CrossFit Games changes.

Move 219,670 lbs

Jacob takes on a nasty day of training with has him moving 219,670 pounds.

2018 Regionals Workouts

Try fitting all six of the 2018 CrossFit Regional workouts into a seven-hour window.

Brute Showdown

Jacob goes head-to-head with an Olympic lifter, a powerlifter, and a bodybuilder.

Honorable Mentions

Where to Watch

So far, we’ve been able to collect confirmations from other news sources that Heppner will be competing at three Sanctionals:

That being said, you can also watch him at the 2019 Reebok CrossFit Games in Madison, Wisconsin. The Games are July 31 through August 4.

Social Media


A picture of Jacob Heppner and his dog Winston, a corgi.
Heppner and his corgi, Winston.

By Ben Garves

Ben Garves is a digital product expert, author, entertainer, and activist. His portfolio of thought leadership in digital marketing and web experiences has included major clients like Microsoft, Google, Twitter, eBay, and Facebook. He’s also a freelance health and fitness journalist with over 400 stories written since 2018, a podcaster with 200 episodes to his name, and runs a YouTube channel with over 100 fitness and activism-oriented videos and live streams. Ben has founded the Fitness is for Everyone™ initiative to raise awareness about social injustice in both racial inequality and socioeconomic disparity in access to quality fitness and nutrition options around the globe.

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