Moving Day Delivers as Granite Games Rookies and Veterans Jostle for Spots

Photo Credit: Athlete’s Eye Photography

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We thought it might happen, and sure enough it did. Competition favorite Mallory O’Brien swept both events on “moving day”, winning each by nearly a minute and asserting herself as the dominant force in the women’s field.

Despite the stellar performance from O’Brien, Dani Speegle is only eight points behind her. No one was surprised by her performance on day one, but to back it up a fifth and second on a much more diverse slate of tests on day two. With some long running looming Sunday, this is exactly the position she wants to be in.

Bubble Race: The real focus tomorrow is going to be on the bubble, where there are currently only 24 points between fourth and seventh:

  • Kloie Wilson: 320 points
  • Alex Gazan: 312 points
  • Emily Rolfe: 297 points
  • Kelly Stone: 296 points

Rolfe was the big mover on day two of that group, and she did it on the back of second and third place finishes coming out of the second heat. Event five is probably her best workout of the weekend, which means there’s a great chance she’ll be in a qualifying spot heading into the final. Gazan struggled on event four relative to those women taking tenth, but she legless rope climbs are one of her best movements, so if she close heading into the final she’ll be tough to unseat.

Men:

The leaders entering the day, Phil Toon and Colten Mertens, each took an event win on day two. Toon was up first with an event execution that is well beyond his years on the MInnesota Mash-Up. To beat Brent FIkowski on a workout like that is the type of performance that will cause the best in the world to take notice.

In the meantime, Mertens managed event three brilliantly taking a fifth, and then capitalized on his ability to go unbroken on both sets of 36 chest to bar pull ups to separate from the pack and pick up his first event win of the weekend.

While Mertens and Toon were exchanging blows at the top of the leaderboard, several other athletes had critical performances on moving day that set up an exciting bubble race that rivals what’s going on with the women:

  • Anthony Davis is a different athlete this year, with sixth and third place finishes today, he’s currently in sixth and only 13 points out
  • Everyone expected fikowski to assert himself into the top five today, and he did just that with a second and a sixth to jump into the three spot with 336 points.
  • Tim Paulson claimed a fourth and an eleventh to put himself back in the mix, he’s the gatekeeper heading into the final day in fifth with 304 points
  • And 20 points ahead of Paulson is Travis Mayer who bounced back from a 13th with a second in event four to retain a spot in the top five.
  • Both Nick Mathew (seventh with 288 points) and Sam Kwant (eighth with 282 points) are certainly also within striking distance of fifth as well.

Big Picture: The margin for error for both the men and women who want to make it to Madison is razor thin tomorrow. All five men in fourth through eighth have had an event finish outside the top ten, so for them especially the depth of the field means another poor finish could knock them out of it all together. And don’t forget, the sprint style legless rope climb workout, in which an inch or a second can change anything is looming as the finale.

Teams:

Not too much movement overall in the top five on the team side today. With a long workout that featured male-female pairs in event three, the top five teams beginning the day all finished seventh or better. Overall leaders after day one, CrossFit Invictustook the event win, their second of the weekend. CrossFit Move Fast Lift Heavy took second behind them and earned their best finish up to that point.

Team event 4 is the only event of the weekend with the worm in it, and additionally featured synchro chest to bar pull-ups by all four athletes simultaneously. It wasn’t the longest event, but perhaps the most demanding from a teamwork perspective. This time it was Crossfit OBA’s turn to take the event win edging Invictus on a froot race at the end. With Invictus, Greater Heights, and Move Fast Lift Heavy finishing second, third, and fourth behind them, those four teams have set themselves apart from the rest.

It’s the five spot that’s up for grabs, and through four events it appears that CrossFit Rhapsody, who are eager to make a return trip to the Games after qualifying via the online Atlas Games last season. They began the day tied with Breaking Boundaries, but after taking a fifth and a seventh today they’ve built a 50 point lead that will be tough for any team to close.

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