CrossFit Games

Seven Takeaways From Open Workout 22.3

March 17, 2022 by
Photo Credit: Athlete's Eye Photography
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And just like that the 2022 CrossFit Open is done. Three weeks, three workouts, all came to a conclusion this past Monday with workout 22.3. Here are seven takeaways as we move on to Quarterfinals, the next stage of the 2022 season.

1. Saxon Panchik’s do-over leads to Open title

When Panchik finished 22.2 in 8:26 during the Open live announcement most would have thought that would be his final score. That seemed to be the general consensus among the top athletes in the sport. One-and-done almost became a rallying cry for the elites as the importance of the Open for them has waned. Little did Panchik know that when he arrived at CrossFit East Nashville to redo the workout with his PRVN teammates the next day that his decision would help him win his first Open title. 

He improved his time significantly, finishing in 7:47 which was good enough for 13th worldwide, an improvement of 65 spots from where he would have finished if he didn’t retest. 

His 9th place in 22.3 helped him secure a three point win over Matt Poulin in one of the closest races in Open history. His average placement was 8.3 which is the sixth best for a men’s Open winner.

2. Close race in men’s division

Speaking of Poulin, he was one of six athletes who had a chance to win the Open heading into the final workout. He joined defending “Fittest Man on Earth” Justin Medeiros, Colten Mertens, Phil Toon and Victor Ljungdal as athletes who all had the chance to win the $15,000 prize purse.

Poulin gave it his all and finished just one second behind Panchik in 22.3 where he ultimately finished 11th and three points behind Panchik. Three points behind him was Medeiros who had his best ever Open finish in third. Mertens was 10 points back of Panchik thanks to a strong finish in the final two workouts including a fourth pace in 22.3. Toon, who was the leader after the first two workouts fell to fifth place, 13 points behind Panchik.

3. Brooke Wells excels in first test of elbow

We brought up Wells in our first set of takeaways but her performance has been nothing less than incredible considering where she was eight months ago that we had to mention her again. She has passed every test in her road to recovery from her gruesome elbow injury at the 2021 Games and finished the Open fifth overall, her best Open finish ever.

Her elbow held up and then some in the wall walks of 22.1, the 100 deadlifts of 22.2 and then again in the pulling and pushing motion of the gymnastics and thrusters of 22.3. Her comeback story is far from over and every indication so far is that we could be seeing the best and fittest version of Wells ever. No doubt the tests will be harder in the next stage of the season but it appears she’s ready for it.

4. Noah comes on strong

Noah Ohlsen started off the 2022 season competing against Patrick Vellner in Open Announcement 22.1, finishing that test with 322 reps, placing him 688th after the opening workout. Like many other athletes he chose not to retest but after seeing his last two Open results one has to think what would have happened if he did.

After just missing out on his first career Open workout victory in 22.2 due to a penalty, finishing second, he recorded yet another top-10 finish in 22.3. He was one of the first athletes to share his results from 22.3, doing the workout after the Open announcement and throwing down a time of 4:27. That mark was the benchmark that all other athletes were chasing throughout the five days before final scores were due. That time ended up being the sixth best in the world, as Ohlsen was just one of six men’s athletes to record two top-10 workout finishes and only one that didn’t finish in the top-10 of the final leaderboard. Ohlsen finished 108th, his worst Open finish since 2012.

5. Saunders’ quiet storm

Kara Saunders might have not had her best Open finish (finishing 43rd overall, the first time she failed to finish in the top-15 since 2014) but she didn’t need to as she is still considered a podium favorite at the Games and an athlete hat will challenge Tia-Clair Toomey in the Oceania Quarterfinals and Semifinals.

What we did see from Saunders in her 22.3 is the toughness we have all grown accustomed to. Finally feeling better from an illness that hampered her in the first two Open workouts she put in the third best time for the women in 22.3 with a time of 4:26. What made that performance even more incredible is that she did it outside in the rain.

Here’s hoping she stays healthy and that clearer skies are ahead for the Aussie.

6. Tetlow making gains

Scott Tetlow has the distinction of being the oldest man in the men’s final top-10 leaderboard at 29 years old but he definitely showed he could hang with this batch of rising stars (average age of the men’s top-10 is 24.6 years old). After placing 15th in 22.2 he took home the Open win and $2,022 with a :08 second win over Argentinian Agustin Richelme with a time of 4:07.

That win moved Tetlow into eighth place on the final leaderboard and could help build his confidence as he seeks out his second Games appearance and first trip to Madison, Wisc. after competing in the 2020 online stage of the Games.

7. Haley Adams’ consistency

Mallory O’Brien and Toomey dominated the women’s division this year but what got lost is how well Haley Adams did. She recorded her best Open finish with her third place, but more impressive was how consistent she was across all three workouts. 

For an athlete known for her aerobic capacity and engine the three Open workouts played in her favor. She recorded her best finish in the Open in 22.3, finishing the workout 4:44 ahead of her workout partner Rich Froning who finished in 4:50. That finish gave her top-20 finishes in all three workouts, one of just four female athletes to accomplish that feat.

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