Rookie Alex Gazan and Emily Rolfe Squeak into the Top 5 at Granite Games
While Mal O’Brien, Amanda Barnhart and Dani Speegle sat solidly as the top three athletes pretty much all weekend at the Granite Games in Eagan, MN, such was not the case for 20-year-old Alex Gazan, and two-time Games veteran Emily Rolfe.
Both women needed big performances on the final event of the day—10 legless rope climbs—and ultimately both did just what they needed to do to get into the top five and earn their tickets to the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games.
The details: Rolfe and Gazan both hovered in and around the top five most of the weekend and entered the final event in fifth and sixth respectively.
- Gazan came out hot and stayed hot through her 10 legless rope climbs, finishing in 3:55.94, good enough for an event win and fourth overall.
- “I knew if I executed I could do well, but you can’t control your competitors, so it was just stay in my own lane and see what happens,” said Gazan, who has been training in Las Vegas, NV with Underdogs Athletics coach Justin Cotler this season.
- “It’s kind of surreal…It takes a minute to sink in but I’m so excited,” she added in a post-event interview.
- As for Rolfe, she told the Morning Chalk after Event 5 that she had practiced the legless rope climb event a lot in recent weeks and her mindset was simply to “just put everything into it.”
- She did just that, and ultimately did what Rolfe had been doing all weekend—top five finishes—finishing fourth and doing just enough to bump Kloie Wilson out.
The big picture: The race for fourth and fifth was arguably the most exciting storyline of the women’s competition on Sunday, but the bigger story is most certainly how easily 18-year-old O’Brien dominated the competition from start to finish, a weekend that included four event wins, making it difficult not to pose the question: Can O’Brien, possibly, maybe, if the stars are aligned, take down Tia-Clair Toomey in Madison?
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