CrossFit Games

Would-Be Games Rookies Overwhelm the Granite Games Leaderboards with One Day to Go

June 6, 2021 by
Credit: Athlete's Eye Photography
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Day two of The Granite Games came to a close in Eagan, MN, with the blisteringly fast test “Earn It.” Mallory O’Brien posted the top time (5:18.45) and won her third-straight event. O’Brien has a decisive lead over the competition at only 17 years old, but she is not the only rookie with a berth at the Games on tap. 

The women’s division: With only five spots available, there are precious few opportunities for newcomers to reach the 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games. However, five rookies occupy the top spots on the female side heading into the final day of competition. 

  • O’Brien has an eight-point lead after finishing 12th during the opening “Flashback Snatch” event on Friday and then winning three straight events. She put on a dominant show during “So Close But So Far Away,” pushing and pulling the Torque Tank with ease. Emma Cary posted the second-fastest time but was still 15 seconds slower. 
  • The other 17-year-old in the division, Cary turned in strong performances during the first two days of competition. She finished the “Flashback Snatch” event fourth after lifting 200 pounds and then posted two back-to-back second-place finishes on Saturday. Cary is second in points with a legitimate shot to reach the Games. 
  • 28-year-old Rachel Vonderach flew under the radar during the first two days of competition, especially after finishing the snatch event 14th. However, she reached third place in the points after finishing second in the “Thruster Run 3.0” and “So Close But So Far Away.” 
  • CrossFit Progression’s Nicole Mghenyi kicked off The Granite Games with a strong first event. She snatched 215 pounds, the most in the division, and then finished the “Thruster Run 3.0” ninth overall. The 31-year-old did not win any events on Saturday while O’Brien put on a show, but she posted a 10th and ninth-place finish to keep herself in the top four. 
  • Similar to Vonderach, 27-year-old Arielle Loewen flew under the radar during the first two days of competition. However, she performed at a consistent level in all four events. Loewen snatched 190 pounds, good for sixth, and then finished eighth in the “Thruster Run 3.0.” She continued to perform on Saturday, finishing sixth in “So Close But So Far Away” and fourth in “Earn It.” She sits above the cutoff line entering the final day of competition. 

The men’s division: The male division does not feature a top-five made up entirely of rookies, but there are still five big names within reach of the CrossFit Games. Though they will have a challenge as they try to leapfrog both Saxon Panchik and Chandler Smith. 

  • Colten Mertens is the biggest name after he and his mullet put on a show both days. Mertens won the “Thruster Run 3.0,” as well as “So Close But So Far Away.” He then capped off Saturday with third place in “Earn It,” boosting him to second place in points behind Panchik. 
  • Scott Tetlow, a two-time Regionals competitor, sits in prime position to make the Games for the first time as the final day approaches. He started the weekend with 27th place in the snatch event but posted top-five finishes in the remaining three. Tetlow capped off Saturday by winning “Earn It” with a blistering time of 5:15.07 and moved up to fourth on the leaderboard.
  • A man who can rock a crop-top and lift heavy weights, Nick Mathew is within reach of the Games. He currently sits just under the cutoff line after lifting 290 pounds in the snatch event, good for seventh, and then posting 11th-place finishes on the “Thruster Run 3.0” and “So Close But So Far Away.” Mathew capped off Saturday by finishing fifth in “Earn It.”
  • Taylor Self started the weekend strong with a fifth-place lift (295 pounds) in the snatch event. However, he dropped in the standings after a 19th-place finish in the “Thruster Run 3.0.” Self rebounded on Saturday, finishing top-10 on both events to move back within reach of the top five. He sits in eighth place, 39 points behind the cutoff line. 
  • Anthony Davis made his presence known very early in The Granite Games. He broke the CrossFit live competition record by snatching 340 pounds and then showed off his cardio during the “Thruster Run 3.0” with a fifth-place finish. Davis experienced setbacks during the second day of competition, finishing 20th in “So Close But So Far Away” and 27th in “Earn It.” He is 10th overall in points with limited opportunities to rebound and punch his ticket to the Games. 

On tap for day three of The Granite Games: There are several rookies within reach of the CrossFit Games, but they will have to continue performing at a high level. There are two named events on the final day of competition — though “Back to Back 1 & 2” features two scores. The second event, “Hang On,” will be a fast race to the finish line with only a seven-minute time cap. 

How to watch day three of The Granite Games: 

  • Team workouts start at 10 am CST (11 am EST/7 am PST)
  • Individual workouts start at 12:02 pm CST (1:02 EST/10:02 am PST)

All the details on where to watch can be found here.

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