CrossFit Games

Granite Games Final Recap: Epic Finishes and Close Races Across the Board Cap Off an Entertaining Weekend

June 6, 2021 by
Credit: John Newby
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For the individuals, the third and final day of competition featured three 100 point events and therefore a plethora of opportunities for big moves to be made. Several would-be Games rookies had their eyes on those coveted top five spots, while Games veterans were also lurking just outside the top five knowing they too held their fate in their own hands.

Events Five and Six

Starting things off were a pair of events in “Back to Back 1 and 2,” and while some athletes excelled in one and struggled on the other, a few individuals capitalized with impressive event finishes on both workouts. 

  • For the women it was all about Arielle Loewen, winning both parts of a back to back workout is typically not something anyone is capable of doing. This was reminiscent of Katrin Davidsdottir on Ringer 1 and Ringer 2 at the Games in 2019. Loewen’s performance bumped her into the overall lead heading into the last event.
  • On the men’s side Tim Paulson did nearly the same thing; taking third on event five and winning event six vaulted him all the way into second place heading into the final.
  • Caroline Conners held a three point lead over Nicole Mghenyi, and a fifteen point lead over Kristi Eramo O’Connell. Meanwhile, on the men’s side, Rogelio Gamboa entered twelve points clear of Nick Mathew for the final Games position.

Event Seven 

The final event was called “Hang On” for good reason, the final 15-meter lunge with two dumbbells overhead stopped most competitors in their tracks. In both divisions it was close and chaotic and came down to the smallest margins and making the right calculated risks. 

  • Staying cool, calm, and collected was the name of the game, so it should come as no surprise that veterans Alessandra Pichelli and Chandler Smith were able to both capture their first event wins of the weekend when it mattered most. 

When the dust settled here’s what the Games qualifiers (green) and Last Chance Qualifiers (yellow) looked like.

The big picture: Four of the five women who ultimately punched their tickets to the Games will be rookies this year, and the CrossFit community could not be more excited to see youngsters Mallory O’Brien and Emma Cary in the field competing against the best women in the world. Colten Mertens ends up being the lone rookie qualifying for the men, he’ll join a group of four veterans who have collectively now made the Games 18 times. 

The Team Division:

Everyone knew the final day of teams would be close, but heading into the last event it was closer than anyone could have expected. The three teams in fourth through sixth were separated by eleven points and only two spots were available.

1st place, Omnia: They came in hoping for a top five finish, and exceeded those expectations substantially. Two events wins, all finishes of sixth or better, and an 89 points separation between them and second place team, MoveFastLiftHeavy, means this is a team to keep your eye on at the Games this summer too. This will be their first time back at the Games since 2017 (in 2018, they qualified but had to withdraw).

2nd place, MoveFastLiftHeavy: This stacked team was one of the favorites from this weekend and featured former Team Dynamix Games athlete Christian Harris. While the team didn’t take home any event wins all weekend, their consistency to remain in the top five on every event except one proved to be the right strategy landing them a second place finish overall and a trip to the Games. 

3rd place, I1UVIT: This team dug themselves into quite a bit of a hole on the first day, despite entering the competition as the first place seed, with two finishes outside the top ten in the first three events. They then spent the remainder of the weekend fighting their way back into a qualifying position. This will be the first trip to the Games for the team and all individuals on their roster, except Carrie Beamer (2019) and Mitchel Stevenson (2018).

4th place, 8th Day Gym: The underdogs of the weekend, 8th Day Gym came in and surprised everyone on day one with an event win. Sitting in sixth heading into the final, a second event win was exactly what they needed to qualify for their first CrossFit Games. 

5th place, Ocean State CrossFit: This exact team took 14th at the Games in 2017, and have been fighting to get back ever since. They squeaked into the fifth and final spot by being consistent and finishing eighth or better on every event this weekend. 

Final Leaderboard:

  1. Saxon Panchik (580) | Arielle Loewen (608) | Omnia (647)
  2. Chandler Smith (548) | Mallory O’Brien (604) | MoveFastLiftHeavy (558)
  3. Tim Paulson (541) | Emma Cary (560) | I1uvit (548)
  4. Roy Gamboa (513) | Alessandra Pichelli (527) | 8th Day Gym (542)
  5. Colten Mertens (508) | Caroline Conners (465) | Ocean State’s Finest (531)
  6. Nick Mathew (505) | Nicole Mghenyi (435) | 12 Labours Lions (512)
  7. Taylor Self (502) | Kristi Eramo-O’Connell (434) | Timberwolf CrossFit (495)
  8. Austin Spencer (426) | Steph Chung (412) | #TeamDensity (433)
  9. Drew Wayman (425) | Rachel Vonderach (396) | The Grit Haus Black (423)
  10. Anthony Davis (419) | Madison McElhaney (395) | Koda CrossFit (317)

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