Four Takeaways From Day 2 of the 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games
Day 2 of the 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games was a hectic full day affair as every division except for the teams competed on a balmy Wednesday at Alliant Energy Center in Madison, WI. Here are four takeaways from the opening day of the Games.
- We have a race: There are many compelling races for a title across the many age group divisions but none closer than that in the highly competitive 35-39 men’s and the 50-54 women’s divisions. For the men, Game’s veterans Kyle Kasperbauer and Adrian Conway are separated by just five points in the standings. Two time division champ Kasperbauer saw his 35 point lead from day 1 all but disappear as division newcomer Conway collected a runner-up finish and two 4th place finishes to make for an interesting final day of competition on Thursday. As close as that race is the women’s race between Laurie Meschishnick and Joanne McCullough is knotted up at 330 points apiece. Meschishnick, the defending champion for the division, holds the tiebreaker currently thanks to her third place finish in the opening event. 56-year-old Games rookie McCullough is looking to take the crown from the seven-time Games athlete.
- Cohen’s dominance: No other athlete throughout any division has dominated in the way that 27-year-old Valerie Cohen has. Through five events, she has a 115 point lead over her next closest competitor in the Women’s Lower Extremity division. The former Ithaca College gymnast suffered torn achilles that not only ended her career but also led to a debilitating injury on that same ankle that would eventually leave it non-functional. After four event wins and a third place finish in two days she’s just one day away from being called a champion.
- The next “Young Gun” from the boys division: Most of the discussion this season has been about the teenage girls division and how they have produced more individual Games athletes. Nate Ackermann could be the athlete who breaks through and brings attention to the boys division. The 17-year-old has been consistent throughout the two days of competition placing no worse than seventh and has four second place finishes including in all three of the events on Wednesday. He holds a 45-point lead heading into the final day of competition.
- American woman making another push to the podium: Last season the United States broke the streak of absent podium finishers thanks to Kari Pearce’s third place finish. With Pearce and Bethany Shadburne both having to withdraw due to COVID-19 positive tests prior to today’s individual competition the chances of the US repeating their podium finish looked bleak. After day 1 that doesn’t seem to be the case as six women occupy the top-ten spots after four events. 20-year-old Haley Adams leads that group, currently sitting in second place. Last Chance Qualifier Kristi Eramo-O’Connell is in 4th followed by Pearce and Shadburne’s Underdogs Athletics teammate Danielle Brandon in 5th. With 11 events still to go there is still plenty of shifting that will happen but as of today the US women’s contingent looks strong to repeat their podium finish.