Three Teenagers Headline Women’s Field at the Granite Games this Weekend

June 1, 2021 by
Courtesy of Emma Cary: https://www.instagram.com/emmacaryy/ Courtesy of Mallory O’Brien: https://www.instagram.com/malobrien_/ Courtesy of Paige Powers: https://www.instagram.com/_paige_powers/
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For the first time in history at a CrossFit Games qualifying event, three of the top six ranked athletes are teenagers.

The details: Leading the way at the Granite Games Semifinals in Eagan, MN this weekend are the clearcut frontrunners, 17 year-olds Emma Cary and Mallory O’Brien. Joining them is 18 year-old Paige Powers.

  • O’Brien placed third overall in the Quarterfinals, Cary was just behind in fourth, while Powers finished 23rd. All three also had impressive performances in the Open, placing 5th, 2nd and 68th respectively.
  • O’Brien, who won the Age Group Online Qualifier, will also have the chance to compete at the Games this summer in the 16-17 year-old division should things not go her way this weekend.
Courtesy of Emma Cary: https://www.instagram.com/emmacaryy/

One big thing: Although all three teenagers have proven themselves to be among the fittest women in the world in two competitions already this season, the obvious question to consider is whether their young age and lack of experience could get the best of them this weekend.

With that in mind, this weekend’s Granite Games roster lacks the big names of the other North American Semifinals, so it’s possible these teenage phenoms can even afford some ordinarily costly rookie mistakes and still punch their tickets to Madison, WI.

  • The two biggest names in the Granite Games field arguably include Kristi Eramo O’Connell, a four-time Games veteran who placed 9th last summer and 10th in this season’s Quarterfinals, and Alessandra Pichelli. Pichelli competed at the Games every single year from 2013 to 2019, and after missing out last season, she placed an impressive 13th in the Quarterfinals.
  • The only two other athletes in the field this weekend with individual Games experience include Kendall Vincelette and Steph Chung. Vincelette competed last year in the online Games, while Chung competed in 2018.
  • In comparison: The stacked roster at Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge last weekend featured a total of seven athletes with individual Games experience, including three who placed in the top five at the Games last year — four-time Games champion Tia-Clair Toomey, and veterans Haley Adams and Brooke Wells. In fact, all five Games qualifiers from the MACC last weekend are Games veterans. 
  • Meanwhile, the upcoming West Coast Classic in Del Mar, CA features nine athletes with individual Games experience, including last year’s bronze medalist Kari Pearce and Quarterfinals second place finisher Dani Speegle. The others include Kristine Best, Bethany Shadburne, Danielle Brandon, Regan Huckaby, Lauren Fisher, Meg Reardon, and Chelsey Hughes.

The bottom line: The stage is perfectly set at Granite Games this weekend to make history. And even if Eramo O’Connell and Pichelli step up like the veterans they are, this still leaves three qualifying positions that could very well have the names of two, possibly even three, teenagers. 

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