Paige Powers Takes TYR Wodapalooza as Emily Rolfe Tears Calf and Drops Off Podium

January 13, 2023 by
Photo Credit: Ava Kitzi
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The second and final day of individual competition at TYR Wodapalooza in Miami, FL started with Emily Rolfe looking fairly secure in first with a 45 point lead over Emma Cary in second, while Paige Powers sat in third. 

But it took only one event to shake the leaderboard up, and after the second event of the day, it became obvious that the race for the podium was still anyone’s game and would very much come down to the final two-part event.

In the end it was the two-time CrossFit Games teen podium finisher Powers who took the title.

After her win, 2022 CrossFit Games rookie Powers said even more exciting than the win is what this weekend has done for her confidence.

  • “This is the first time I feel like I found my confidence in the elite division. I just haven’t felt worthy for the past two years I have been in it, but now I really feel like I can hang with everyone. I think this weekend was so much more about me finding my confidence back again after being in the teenage division,” Powers said.

Let’s take a look at how the day unfolded. 

Photo Credit: Ava Kitzi

Event 5: We Have Lift Off — The first event was a two-part workout worth 100 points, but where the first part of the workout—a max clean and jerk—was worth 60 percent, while the second part—a max time parallette freestanding handstand hold—was worth 40 percent.

  • Big lifts were put up across the board, with Cece Cronin posting the heaviest lift of 256 pounds, and Dani Speegle right behind with a 255-pound clean and jerk. Paige Semenza rounded out the top three with a 247-pound lift. 
  • Speegle, who entered the day in seventh overall, quickly turned her attention to the max handstand hold event and put forth another impressive performance. Her one minute and six second hold was good enough for fifth overall, and enough to launch her from seventh to fourth overall, just four points out of third.
  • But it was Rebecca Fuselier who posted the longest handstand hold time of the day—1:27.44—while Elisa Fuliano was second (1:22.47) and Rolfe third (1:19.87).
  • On the other side of things, Cary, who entered the day in second, did herself no favors on Event 5. She placed 15th on the clean and jerk and 26th on the handstand hold, sliding her from second to sixth overall. 

Event 6: Double Shot with a Splash – As per Wodapalooza tradition, the athletes were faced with an open water swim in a two-round workout of 50 wall balls, an open water swim and 150 drag rope double-unders.

  • Freya Moosbrugger showed her swimming prowess when she dominated Heat 1, but her score was easily overtaken by multiple athletes in the second heat. 
  • Powers, who entered the event 22 points behind Rolfe, the leader, took advantage of the event to gain some valuable points. She was fluid on all three movements and stuck near the front of the pack the whole way. 
  • Powers was able to take the clear lead during the second swim before executing her heavy rope double-unders well enough to finish ahead of a hard-charging Brittany Weiss, scooping up an event win.
  • It looked as though Powers would pick up maybe just 10 points on Rolfe, who was the third athlete out of the water and to the double-unders, however, Rolfe appeared to be in pain during the double-unders. Eventually, she put her rope down and stopped even attempting reps before calling it quits and signing off on her judge’s workout sheet with time left on the clock. Rolfe, who ended up placing 25th due to her DNF, later discovered she suffered a Level 1 calf tear.
  • According to her husband Kyle Rolfe, after the event Rolfe went for a massage, cried some “tears of frustration” as she hobbled back to the hotel for a shower, and then made the decision to compete in the final event, as it didn’t look too taxing on the calf. 

When the numbers were crunched after the swim event, Powers found herself the leader and with a 37-point lead over Rolfe, while Speegle was just one point behind that. 

Meanwhile, Michalyshen’s quiet yet consistent performances were starting to pay off, as she found herself in fourth, but just 13 points out of second, heading into the final event.  And Cary,’s solid fifth place finish on the swim put her back in fifth overall, and just 15 points off the podium.

Events 7 and 8: Miami Meat Market and Dirty Isabel – The final workout of the day involved two back-to-back 100 point events, beginning with three rounds of 25 chest-to-bar pull-ups and 15 dumbbell bench press with 50-pound dumbbells, followed by a 21 Echo Bike calorie effort. This was followed by 30 bar facing burpees right into 30 power snatches at 85 pounds, but with a twist. Any time you dropped the barbell, you were punished with another three bar facing burpees.

  • The final event started with a jam-packed leaderboard, where second and seventh were separated by just 26 points. And considering there were 200 points up for grabs, six or seven athletes still had a legitimate chance to snag a podium spot.
  • But it was the leader Powers who took advantage of the first event, plowing through both movements with ease. She led the entire way, and the only time she slowed down was during her last few reps of bench press. When she got to the bike, Powers had such a big lead that she cruised through the 21 calories casually. When she crossed the finish line, the only other athlete who had even reached the bike portion of the event was Speegle, who went on to snag an easy second place finish. These performances meant Powers and Speegle were now almost locks for the top two spots.
  • In the battle for third, it was Michalyshen, once again, who put forth a quiet but solid performance, placing fifth overall, doing enough to bump Rolfe off the podium for the first time all weekend.
  • But during the second part of the event, it was Cary who looked like she was on a mission. She finished her burpees first with Powers close behind. After knocking out 10 quick reps, Cary began to slow, while Powers took a slower and steadier approach to the snatches right from the start.
  • It looked as though the race would be between Cary and Powers for the event win. In fact, Cary had already completed 17 reps before Speegle even began her snatches, while Powers had logged nine.
  • But then things got interesting. With five reps to go, Cary dropped her barbell for the first time, causing her to do three burpees. Powers, too, broke her snatches and hit the ground for three burpees. And when Cary returned to her snatches, she failed her first rep, so she was back to the burpees. This gave Speegle an opportunity to make a push.
  • Though Speegle couldn’t see what was happening with Cary and Powers, as they were directly behind her, she kept a fast pace throughout her snatches and managed to pull ahead of both Cary and Powers in the final seconds, finishing her weekend with an event win and securing second overall. 
  • Cary went on to finish second in the event and Powers third, helping her lock up the overall title, 28 points ahead of Speegle, who finished second. And when the numbers were crunched, it was Cary who managed to edge out Michalyshen for the final podium spot.

As for Rolfe, she put forth a gutsy performance, finishing the competition despite a torn calf, but she visibly suffered on the final event, placing 17th overall, dropping her to ninth overall. Her husband later told the Morning Chalk Up she will not be competing in the team competition Saturday and Sunday and she will spend the next four to six weeks rehabbing her calf before the CrossFit Open. 

The top-five athletes at the end of the competition:

  • Paige Powers – 653 points
  • Dani Speegle – 625 points
  • Emma Cary – 530 points
  • Sydney Michalyshen – 519 points
  • Emma Tall – 491 points

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