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.
San Joaquin Valley, CA
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.
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.
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.
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 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:
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.
- Nicole, Chelsea, Isabel
- Kelly, Annie, Fran
- Helen, Karen, Grace
- Angie, Diane, Jackie
- Cindy, Linda, Amanda
- Eva, Barbara, Elizabeth
- Nancy, Lynne, Mary
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.
Jacob goes head-to-head with an Olympic lifter, a powerlifter, and a bodybuilder.
- Meet the Competitors Episode 1
- Max Clean and Grace Episode 2
- Deadlift and Physique Episode 3
- All the Balls Episode 4
Where to Watch
So far, we’ve been able to collect confirmations from other news sources that Heppner will be competing at three Sanctionals:
- Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge: April 12 – April 14
- Asia CrossFit Championship: April 27 – April 29
- Brazil CrossFit Championship: May 17 – May 19
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.