Ricky Garard, Patrick Vellner and Roman Khrennikov Bring the Heat to Open TYR Wodapalooza

January 12, 2023 by
Photo Credit: Ava Kitzi
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The 2023 TYR Wodapalooza kicked off on Thursday, January 12, with three events (four scored) for the individual athletes. The men’s side was stacked with talent, but three standout competitors from the NOBULL CrossFit Games – Ricky Garard, Patrick Vellner, and Roman Khrennikov – stole the show.

Event 1: Rings and Squats – The start of TYR Wodapalooza was a test of strength and gymnastics. The event kicked off with a 21-15-9 format of ring muscle-ups and different types of squats. The first round was back squats, the second was front squats, and the final was overhead squats. 

  • Vellner appeared to be the man to beat in the final heat. He was the first to get to the overhead squats as Garard struggled on his front squats. 
  • The situation drastically changed though. Vellner had to drop his bar, which opened up the door for Garard to jump in and take the event win. 
  • Nick Mathew turned some heads during this opening event. He was not initially involved in the battle between Garard and Vellner, but he used his gymnastics and strength to make a late move and steal the second spot in the event. 
  • Vellner was still able to cross the finish line third overall while locking up 90 points. This set up a weekend where he could potentially win his fourth WZA title.  

Event 2: Back to the Future – The second event was a grueling chipper with a time cap of 22 minutes. The athletes started with five legless rope climbs before continuing with 40 weighted GHD sit-ups (20 pounds), 30-meter double KB overhead walking lunge, 20 double KB hang clean and jerks, and a one-mile run. 

After a one-mile run, the athletes returned to their kettlebells. They first did 20 double KB thrusters before closing out the event with 30 double KB front rack walking lunges, 40 GHD sit-ups, and five rope climbs. 

  • Garard took the early lead during the final heat. He was out in front through the kettlebell work, and he was the first man on the Assault Runner for his one-mile run. 
  • Mathew kept Garard in his sights for a while as he set out to keep his momentum from the first event, but he was unable to hold off Vellner and Khrennikov, who both made charges and beat him to the Assault Runner. 
  • Garard finished the run first, but Khrennikov made some major moves of his own. He was the only athlete to go sub-seven minutes on his one-mile run, which helped reel in the Australian. 
  • Khrennikov made his move on the GHD sit-ups. He used a blistering pace and passed Garard, who had to stop and take a deep breath. He then pushed his advantage and reeled off his five final rope climbs to secure his first event win of the weekend. 
  • Garard finished second overall in the event after falling behind on the GHD sit-ups. He was still able to maintain his spot atop the leaderboard based on Khrennikov’s struggles in the opening event. 

Event 3: Start Fast and Finish Strong – The final event of the day was a two-parter. The first part was an 11-22-11 sprint of toes-to-bar and hurdle jumps. The athletes also had to end each round with a 44-yard shuttle run. 

Part two of the workout began at the five-minute mark. The athletes then had to complete a 1,000-meter row, 20 D-ball cleans (150 pounds), and a 300-foot D-ball bearhug carry. They had 10 minutes to complete this portion.

  • Brent Fikowski needed a strong performance to close out the first day. He was ninth on the leaderboard after hitting the time cap in the first event and finishing ninth in the second.
  • The Professor did what he needed to during Part A. He went out and won the first heat with a time of 2:32.82. Fikowski then went out and won his heat in Part B to score some crucial points. These performances helped him move from ninth to fifth on the leaderboard.
  • Vellner was not messing around on the final event. He headed to Flagler 20 points behind Garard on the leaderboard, and he used Part A to take the official event win from Fikowski with a time of 2:26.57. He locked up 100 points while Garard walked away with only 85.
  • The situation changed during Part B. Vellner struggled with the D-ball cleans and the carry while Khrennikov ripped through all 20. The Russian athlete was able to lock up the heat win and move closer toward podium contention while Vellner finished sixth overall.

The top-five athletes after the opening day:

  • Ricky Garard – 360 points
  • Patrick Vellner – 350 points
  • Roman Khrennikov – 334 points
  • Cole Greashaber – 323 points
  • Brent Fikowski – 307 points

One big thing: There are numerous CrossFit stars that will draw considerable attention during the second day of TYR Wodapalooza. One other name that requires watching is Cole Greashaber. He has been incredibly consistent thus far, securing three top-five finishes, as well as a seventh, to move into fourth on the leaderboard. He is becoming a threat to steal a podium spot. 

The bottom line: The expectation heading toward TYR Wodapalooza was that Garard, Khrennikov, and Vellner would be the names to watch. They all contended for podium spots at the NOBULL CrossFit Games, and they had big moments at the Rogue Invitational. 

The members of this trio did not disappoint on the first day, and they will only have more opportunities on Friday. There are three events on tap, but two of them have two parts. This means that 500 points are in play, which will only create considerable intrigue at the top of the leaderboard.

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