Laura Horvath and Roman Khrennikov Take Over 2022 Rogue Invitational Leaderboard

Credit: Enrique Villasenor (@enriquevmedia)
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The 2022 Rogue Invitational continued on Saturday with three more events for the individual athletes. Following the tradition set by the PGA Tour, “moving day” featured nonstop action as several athletes moved up the leaderboard. Laura Horvath and Roman Khrennikov made the biggest moves as they each took over the top spots in their respective divisions. 

Event 5: The Turtle: Saturday’s schedule kicked off with a fast event which tasked the athletes with an Axle Bar lunge (155/105), a monkey bar traverse, a hill run followed by a bag rope pull up the hill (155/105), another a monkey bar traverse, and a final Axle Bar lunge (155/105). 

The Women: Dani Speegle set the pace in the first heat, moving through smoothly, finishing in 3:12.98, a time Alexis Raptis took down shortly after in Heat 2.  

  • Danielle Brandon easily won Heat 3, a much needed performance for Brandon, who entered the day in seventh overall. Her time held up for third place overall.
  • But the top two times belonged to Heat 4, with Laura Horvath taking her third consecutive event win, and Annie Thorisdottir placing second, helping bump her from fourth to third overall heading into Event 6.

The Men: The top athletes during the early heats were Henrik Haapalainen and Samuel Kwant. They won their respective heats with consistent performances, and they set themselves up for a strong start to the afternoon. 

  • Kwant methodically chased down Noah Ohlsen during Heat 3, winning the event with a time of 2:34.53. Patrick Vellner won the final heat with his frantic pace, but he finished second overall with a time of 2:35.57. Haapalainen took third overall with his time of 2:36.74. 
  • “You can’t let up at all,” Kwant told the Morning Chalk Up’s Laurel Kalil after his heat. “That’s pretty much what I did. It all came down to the second lunge, for the most part. Except, I was doing hand over hand and I don’t think anyone else has done that. So I gained a little bit of a lead on that and tried to hold on.”
  • But the biggest story of Event 5 was arguably an ill-timed issue for Justin Medeiros. The overall leader received a no-rep during the opening round of lunges, marking the second straight event where he received a no-rep. This knocked him well back in the pack and led to a 12th place finish.
  • Roman Khrennikov took advantage of Medeiros’ no-rep. He entered the day second in the standings and only 15 points behind Medeiros. He went on to finish seventh overall on The Turtle, which helped him capture the overall lead by 10 points. 
  • Vellner, too, gained some ground on both Medeiros and Khrennikov. His second place finish helped him jump to third place overall heading into Event 6, keeping him well in contention to win his second Rogue Invitational title. 

Event 6: The Duel II: A mystery until the morning of October 29, The Duel II was an elimination bracket-style event where athletes sprinted through 1 Legless Rope Climb, 10 overhead squats (135/95), and a sandbag carry to the finish (200/150), with the top times advancing to the next round. The first four rounds had five athletes in each heat, but the final round was head-to-head duel between the top two athletes vying for 100 points.

The Women: As the top five women got a bye during the first round, the three heat winners in the first round were Anikha Greer, Carolyne Prevost and Danielle Brandon.

  • The big drama, which delayed the competition, in the second round was Alexis Raptis, who appealed her score, which was accepted. As a result, she had to redo the course alone to acquire a new score. In the end, her time was good enough to sneak her into the third round, where she went on to win her heat and advance to the fourth round. 
  • Throughout the rounds, Laura Horvath and Brandon posted top times, going head-to-head in the final three rounds. And after a photo finish in the fourth round, Brandon and Horvath were the final women standing. 
  • Brandon led Horvath in the first part of the course in the final round, but Horvath picked up her sandbag faster than Brandon, taking the lead during the sprint to the finish and winning by a little more than half-a-second. The win was Horvath’s fourth consecutive event win of the competition. Kara Saunders, Ellie Turner and Raptis rounded out the top five.

The Men: Like the women’s division, the athletes in the men’s division dealt with considerable delays between rounds due to judging issues. However, they headed onto the field at the start of each round and proceeded to put on a show. 

  • Two men, in particular, used every opportunity to turn heads: Jonne Koski and Jorge Fernandez put themselves into the semifinal round after starting in early heats and setting extremely fast times. Fernandez, a dark horse competitor, went on to punch his ticket to the final round against Medeiros. 
  • The battle did not disappoint. Both men sprinted between stations as Medeiros took the lead, while Fernandez stumbled after climbing off of the rope. They were still neck-and-neck on the overhead squats, but Medeiros gave it all on the sandbag carry, dove across the finish line, and scored his first event win of the weekend. 

Event 7: Texas Oak: The final event of the day was a test of strength and technique. The athletes had to complete a one-rep max log lift, which included a jerk. Simple, straightforward, and an opportunity to gain some crucial points before the final day. 

The Women: The final two women made it to 205 pounds and it was none other than Speegle and Horvath showing their strength in one of the most uniquely Rogue-esque events that has heavy strongman roots.  

  • Heavy lifting phenom Speegle, giving fans a throwback memory to her sandbag-to-shoulder win at the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games, as she blew through the first few rounds with ease as her competitors started to drop off.
  • Speegle ended up winning, as the only woman to lift 205, holding off Horvath and denying her a fifth straight event win. Horvath was the only athlete other than her to make it through 200lbs to join Speegle, as Thorisdottir got close but not close enough. 
  • Speegle then made the fans happy and took on 215 lbs even though she’d already secured the 100 points, bringing the crowd to their feet in a cool closing moment for the women. 

The Men: Two men made it to the final round. Chandler Smith and Roman Khrennikov both hit 290 pounds after hugging and hyping each other up. They then moved on to the massive, 300-pound Texas Oak. 

  • Smith, who had finished outside of the top 10 in Events 4 and 5, put on a show. He easily worked his way through the various weights until he and Khrennikov were the only two athletes remaining. 
  • Smith attempted the 300-pound lift first, and he nailed it. He celebrated by tapping his watch while longtime friend Noah Ohlsen celebrated in the background. He then hyped up the crowd and showed support as Khrennikov attempted his lift.
  • The Russian athlete did not complete the 300-pound lift, but he still walked away with a second-place finish. This was enough to help him retake the lead.
  • Much earlier in the event, there was some drama. Justin Medeiros completed a lift while Patrick Vellner’s attempt was shut down by the judges. He was told that he had run out of time.
  • Vellner argued based on Medeiros starting his lift after him. The judges went back and reviewed the tape, ultimately determining that both athletes had run out of time. Medeiros finished 16th with his 260-pound lift while Vellner was 17th. 

Looking ahead: Heading into the final day, there has been another shakeup on the leaderboard. Khrennikov has the lead with 530 points. Medeiros is second with 520 points while Vellner is third with 495 points. Smith, who locked up his first event win during Texas Oak, is only five points out of a podium spot. 

The women’s division is less in question heading into the final day. Horvath has 590 points after winning four straight events and finishing second in Texas Oak. She is now 75 points ahead of Gabriela Migala, who sits at 515 points. Annie Thorisdottir is third with 505 points after another consistent Saturday.

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