Dark Horse Race to the Finish
Heading into the final day of competition at Wodapalooza, the top of the individual leaderboards look pretty familiar. Tia-Clair Toomey and Patrick Vellner – heavy favorites coming into the weekend – are the overall leaders, and look poised to walk away winners on Sunday.
Even though they’ll likely walk away with a Games invite from Wodapalooza, they’ll almost assuredly be passing the invite down once they presumably qualify through the Open. In my Wodapalooza storylines preview I explained how the invite could eventually end up in the hands of the 4th or even 5th place finisher, opening the door for a dark horse.
Three athletes in particular have positioned themselves well to seize that opportunity once things shake out on Sunday.
In the men’s division, Drew Wayman sits in 4th overall, behind three individual Games athletes, and 30 points out from 2nd place Travis Mayer. A podium finish would set him up nicely, but he’ll have to bounce back from a less than stellar day 2. A 12th place finish to start the day, and a 24th place to close it dropped him from 2nd place after day 1.
On the women’s side Colleen Fotsch, and Dani Speegle are separated by just 16 points in 5th and 6th place respectively. The four women in front of them, Toomey, Kristin Holte, Kari Pearce, and Sara Sigmundsdottir, are a safe bet to qualify through the Open.
Fotsch and Speegle finished both day 2 events in the top 10, and both should enjoy the heavy barbells in day 3’s Circus Act and Robin events.
As crazy as it sounds, the determining factor in who ultimately takes the invitation from Wodapalooza for the women could be the race in the final 60ft walking lunge at the end of the final event between the 5th and 6th place women overall.
It’s not the usual circumstance of earning a ticket to the CrossFit Games, but it does add a rooting interest to athletes outside of the usual suspects, and who doesn’t love a good dark horse story.