Justin Medeiros and Laura Horvath Take 2022 Rogue Invitational
Considering their 2022 CrossFit Games finishes, the reigning Fittest Man on Earth Justin Medeiros and bronze medalist Laura Horvath had to be considered the favorites heading into the 2022 Rogue Invitational. And after seven events, both athletes sat in a great position to live up to the hype.
Horvath started Sunday as the leader, with a 75-point lead over Gabriela Migala, while Medeiros sat in second place, but was only 10 points out of first behind Roman Khrennikov.
When all was said and done, both Horvath and Medeiros came out on top, but the road to the title was far from easy for either of them, and ultimately came down to the final event.
Here’s how it went down:
Event 8: Snatch and Press: The final day began with a repeat of a 2019 workout. The athletes completed three rounds of 20 dumbbell snatches (100/70) and nine strict parallette handstand push-ups (4”/2” deficit).
The Men: The first heat’s outcome was in question until the final second. Jack Farlow jumped out to a big lead during the first two rounds, but he slowed significantly on the final set of dumbbell snatches.
- Farlow losing pace opened up the door for Scott Tetlow, who took the lead and headed to his final set of handstand push-ups first. However, a costly no-rep at the very end opened up the door for Noah Ohlsen. The two men sprinted to the finish line, but Ohlsen (8:16.79) secured the heat win by a mere three-tenths of a second with his longer legs.
- The second heat was all about two men – Jonne Koski and Jayson Hopper. They were the first through each set of movements through all three rounds, and they both topped Ohlsen’s time.
- Koski was on his way to another event win, but Hopper used his pace to take the lead on the final set of snatches. He headed back to the wall and breezed through his final set of handstand push-ups to set a time of 6:56.23.
- Hopper was the only man to finish inside of seven minutes. He was nearly one minute ahead of both Koski (7:46.01) and third-place finisher Chandler Smith (7:55.27).
- “You just gotta manage it and breathe through the entire thing, control your heart rate and walk between movements if you have to,” Hopper told MCU’s Lauren Kalil after his win.
- While Hopper celebrated his win, Medeiros continued to fight for his second Rogue Invitational championship. He finished eighth in the event and ahead of the two men he needed to beat: Vellner and Khrennikov.
The Women: With three hundred points on the line on Sunday and a congested women’s leaderboard, Event 7 did not disappoint in jostling the point spread to make things even closer heading into the last two events.
- Entering the day, Laura Horvath had a commanding 75 point lead over Migala, and 85 points on Annie Thorisdottir. But when Migala and Horvath started struggling hard on the deficit handstand push-ups, the door suddenly opened for Thorisdottir to overtake Migala and close the gap on Horvath, and also for other athletes, such as Emma Lawson—who entered the event in fifth, 45 points out of a podium position—to close the point spread between herself and the podium.
- To make things even more interesting, athletes in the previous heats—Emma McQuaid (6:17.96), Manon Angonese (7:35.28) and Dani Speegle (7:40.13) had already put up some pretty quick times, so when the event was over, it was hard to tell where anyone would end up.
- In the end, Horvath, who spent the first five minutes of the event struggling to get just one handstand push-up rep, finished 19th out of 20 total athletes, while Migala, who was also time capped on the event, placed 14th, her lowest placing of the competition.
- McQuaid’s time held up for the event win, and Angonese and Speegle managed to hold on to second and third.
- Thorisdottir was good enough for fifth on the event, meaning she overtook Migala in second, and closed the gap on Horvath to just 15 points, keeping Thorisdottir well within striking distance of the title. Further, Lawson’s seventh place finish helped her jump into fourth and close the points spread to the podium to just 20 points, giving the teenager a realistic podium shot with two events to go.
Event 9: The Goblet: While Snatch and Press was a faster event, The Goblet tested the athletes’ ability to pace themselves. This workout featured seven rounds of seven muscle-ups, a hill sprint, and 11 goblet squats (88/62).
The Men: Cole Sager and Scott Tetlow were the two men to watch during Heat 1’s first six rounds, but Ohlsen changed the situation during the final set of muscle-ups by putting himself in a position to fight for the win.
- The three went head-to-head for the top spot, but Sager ultimately took the heat win with a time of 13:16.29. Tetlow was second at 13:45.42 while Ohlsen was third at 13:48.70.
- The grittiest performance of the event belonged to Lazar Djukic. He entered the event with an ankle injury, but he turned in the fourth-quickest time at 14:17.98. Djukic was clearly in pain, but he just continued to fight all the way to the finish line.
- The final heat was a fascinating battle between CrossFit Games veterans. Ricky Garard appeared to be the man to beat early, but he couldn’t quite shake Jeffrey Adler and Patrick Vellner.
- The two Canadians continued to keep within reach of Garard before Vellner jumped to the lead. He closed out the final round first and beat Sager’s time by one second. Adler finished second in the heat while Garard finished third. Justin Medeiros finished fourth in the heat.
- One stunning development featured Roman Khrennikov. He maintained a strong pace early in the event, but he began to fade in the later rounds. He particularly struggled on the hill sprint before hitting the time cap. These struggles led to him falling out of a podium position while Chandler Smith jumped into third.
- Medeiros used a solid performance and Khrennikov’s struggles to retake the lead. He finished seventh, which put him ahead of his fellow contenders heading toward the final event.
The Women: Event 9 made things even tighter on the women’s side heading into the final event of the day.
- The big story was Emma Lawson, who was 20 points out of the top three going into the event. The 17-year-old cycled her muscle-ups with ease, catching them high in the dip even on the final round. She became the only woman to finish all of the reps, however, she was unable to cross the finish line before the time cap. Still, the event win was huge for Lawson, who jumped back into a podium position for the first time since Friday.
- “The hardest part was the ring muscle-ups, but I was just trying to run at a pace that would allow me to kind of recover my grip. Just kind of started out hot and just kind of went for it again,” said Lawson, who entered the final event with a 50-point buffer over Ellie Turner in fourth.
- Horvath, too, did what she needed to do to retain her lead ahead of Thorisdottir after a disastrous Event 8. Horvath placed seventh overall, while Thorisdottir was 10th, meaning Horvath now had a 35-point cushion protecting the top spot.
- Another notable shift in Event 9 was Migala, who led the competition after Friday and went into Sunday in second. She struggled on the muscle-up portion of the event, breaking them into small sets, costing her valuable time. Migala finished 15th in the event, which dropped her out of the top three for the first time all weekend. She entered the final event in fifth overall, 50 points back of third.
Event 10: Heavy Grace: Rogue’s programming duo of Josh Bridges and Chris Spealler brought out a classic for the final event, albeit with a twist. They programmed Heavy Grace, which featured 30 clean and jerks at 225 and 165 pounds.
The Men: Farlow capped off his very impressive weekend during the final event. He completed all 30 clean and jerks in 3:51.80, which was enough to win his heat. Farlow was also the only male athlete in the first heat to finish under four minutes.
- The second heat was all about the battle for the podium. Medeiros, Vellner, Smith, and Adler were the top names fighting for the win and the Rogue Invitational title, and they all had to go head-to-head.
- There was no denying that Adler had the advantage. He used his technique and strength to jump to the lead during the opening set of clean and jerks, and he did not look back.
- Adler cruised through all three sets of clean and jerks, which helped him beat Farlow’s time. Khrennikov finished second in the event while Smith took third overall. Medeiros finished fifth while Vellner was 10th, which only further shook up the leaderboard.
- The fifth-place finish was good enough for Medeiros to capture his second straight Rogue Invitational title. He only won one event in Texas, but he once again proved that consistency is key.
- Smith, for comparison, jumped into second place with his fifth top-three finish. Vellner fell to fourth overall while Adler’s event win Heavy Grace secured his spot on the podium.
The Women: It was Horvath’s to lose, and she wasted no time to answer the call.
- Horvath, Kara Saunders and Thorisdottir were neck-and-neck during the early reps, but then Horvath and Saunders began pulling away and didn’t slow down. Saunders went on to snag her first event win of the competition, followed closely behind by Horvath, who clinched the title in the process.
- Thorisdottir, too, put forth a gutsy performance—seventh—allowing her to hang on to second place overall, making a statement that even after a year away from individual competition, she should never be counted out.
- The battle for third was even tighter, as it became a numbers game between Ellie Turner and Lawson. Going into the event, Turner was 45 points behind Lawson, but the heavy barbell proved heavier for the 17-year-old Lawson than for Turner, who hung near the front of the pack the whole event, eventually finishing fourth.
Then it became a game of figuring out how many people could squeeze between Turner and Lawson in order for Lawson to hang on to third. Lawson’s time of 4:58.10 was good for 13th place, her lowest finish of the competition. In the end, the two women tied with 670 points, but Lawson won the tie break because of her two event wins and took the final podium spot.