Last Chance Qualifier Kristi Eramo O’Connell Proving She’s a Contender
After she failed to qualify to the 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games at the Granite Games Semifinal, it didn’t look like Kristi Eramo-O’Connell would be in Madison, WI this summer at all. But after two days of competition and nine events completed, she sits in seventh place, within striking distance of the podium, heading into Saturday.
Remind me: During the Semifinal competition, five-time Games veteran Eramo-O’Connell looked as though she was ready to hand the reins over to the next generation of Games stars. That weekend, 17 year-olds Emma Cary and Mallory O’Brien beat her on five and seven of the seven events respectively.
- Three weeks later, Eramo O’Connell managed to sneak into the Games via the online Last Chance Qualifier, where she placed second and essentially captured the final spot to the Games.
One big thing: Eramo-O’Connell has long proven her running and swimming prowess, often pushing Tia-Clair Toomey, such as during the swimming and running event in 2017, and the swim, paddle, running event in 2018. However, the same cannot be said of heavy weightlifting tests, which have long been damage control events for her. Until Event 6 and 7 on Friday, that is.
- Event 6: Eramo-O’Connell went toe-to-toe with Toomey, pushing Toomey to pick up her pace on the final 200-meter run and heavy clean, eventually finishing just two seconds behind Toomey, good enough for second overall on the event.
- Eramo O’Connell came back on Event 7 — the same event but with much heavier barbells — and was still able to hold her own in an event that would have crushed her in the past, such as in 2018 when she was 36th in the clean and jerk speed ladder. This year, however, the 230-pound clean at the end of Event 7 caused Eramo O’Connell no trouble at all. She finished fifth overall.
The bottom line: After nine events in Madison, Eramo-O’Connell has proven that Semifinals were but a blip on her radar, not the end to her time at the top of the sport. She currently looks secure in the top ten, leads both teens that easily beat her at the Granite Games, and at the very least is on track to improve upon her best ever eighth place finish in 2016.