CrossFit Games

Ellie Turner Vaults from Fifth to First on Saturday in Brisbane

May 27, 2023 by
Photo Credit: Instagram @thewodlife
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With six-time CrossFit Games champion Tia-Clair Toomey and veteran Kara Saunders sitting out the season to have babies, the pressure has been on 25-year-old Ellie Turner—deemed Australia’s next big talent—to win the Torian Pro Semifinal this weekend. 

But after one day of competition, Turner was on the outside looking in—fifth overall but with only three qualification spots available. She came charging back on all three tests on Saturday, finishing with two second place finishes and a fourth.

Turner, who is both dating and has been training with two-time men’s champion Justin Medeiros since last season, enters the final day of competition in first overall, with a 12 point lead over 22-year-old Grace Walton (sixth at the Oceania Semifinal last season) in second and, and yesterday’s leader, 2019 Games athlete Katelin Van Zyl, in third.

Test 3: Saturday started with a pure strength test of descending reps of heavy deadlifts, 

dumbbell bench press and squat cleans—Semifinals Linda—and it was no surprise to see Turner, known for her strength, come out hot.

  • The final heat was essentially a showdown between Turner and up-and-comer, 22-year-old Emily de Rooy, who was seventh at last year’s Oceania Semifinal.  But de Rooy did just enough to stay a couple of reps ahead of Turner the whole way, never relinquishing her lead as she moved smoothly and consistently through all three barbells. De Rooy finished 10 seconds ahead of Turner, picking up an event win in the process.
  • Two-time Games athlete Laura Clifton—looking to bounce back from a 29th place on Test 2—picked up third, helping her cause to move up the leaderboard, and Walton finished just behind in fourth.
  • Meanwhile, the three other major contenders Down Under—Games veterans Madeline Sturt, Jamie Simmonds and Van Zyl—finished eighth, ninth and 10th respectively.

Test 4: Again, both Clifton and Turner came up big on Test 4—a max snatch after an 800 meter run—finishing first and second, while putting up 195 and 190 pound snatches respectively.

  • “I knew the numbers that I wanted to hit, and I just had to have confidence that when it came down to it I would hit it. Trust my fitness, and it paid off,” said Turner after finishing Test 4 and 5.
  • On the other side of things, once again Simmonds, Sturt and Van Zyl showed heavy lifting events to be less than their best, finishing 12th, 26th and 10th. 

Test 5: After a two minute rest, athletes turned around from their max snatch and did eight snatches at 125 pounds plus an 800 meter run for time. The same two movements, but an entirely different test where different athletes excelled.

  • Coming off two 10th place finishes, it was Van Zyl’s time to shine (no surprise after she proved her running prowess on Test 1). She finished with an event win, putting up a time of 3:19.
  • Walton also rose to the occasion finishing just six seconds behind Van Zyl, good enough for second overall, while Turner more than held her own, finishing fourth. 
  • As for Sturt and Simmonds, they both bounced back after two consecutive lower placing events. Sturt was fifth, followed closely by Simmonds in sixth.

The big picture: After much moving on Moving Day, three of the five contenders with previous individual Games experience sit well within striking distance of qualifying. 

  • Turner leads the way with Van Zyl in third and Simmonds in fifth (28 points outside of third). But for Sturt and Clifton, a trip to Madison is looking dubious. Sturt is in sixth but 80 points outside of a qualification position, while Clifton is 128 points out of third in eighth.
  • Mathematically then, it seems likely that five women still have a good chance at scooping up one of the three Games invites this weekend: Turner, Walton, Van Zyl, de Rooy (20 points out of third) and Simmonds. 

Van Zyl’s Sunday plan: “Full send.”

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