CrossFit Games

Pat Vellner is Lights Out on Moving Day at North America West Semifinal

May 27, 2023 by
Photo Credit: @evillmediasports
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Saturday at the North America West Semifinal featured a barbell in all three tests, with the lightest load being 145 pound squat cleans for the men during Semifinals Linda. Moving day earned its name, as 300 points helped shuffle the men’s leaderboard early and set the stage for several new world records to be set. 

Test 3: Semifinals Linda is a test of muscular endurance and pacing, bringing a feeling of “barbell cardio” to the competition floor. Although some of the athletes did this workout at the 2018 Regionals, swapping 90 pound dumbbells for a 195 pound barbell mixed things up by increasing the stability demand of an already difficult test. 

  • Colten Mertens smashed the world record in Test 3 by nearly a minute, finishing in 11:06 to beat Samuel Cournoyer’s 12:04 from week one. This was the fourth Semifinals event win of Mertens’ career and he was able to move up to seventh place overall after starting the day outside of qualifying position. 
  • Chandler Smith moved up five places on the leaderboard after Test 3 (fourth overall from ninth), after his 12:10 second place finish behind Colten Mertens. 
  • Patrick Vellner continued to charge up the leaderboard, going from sixth place at the start of the day to second place overall. He finished Test 3 in 12:24, which was enough to inch out Nick Mathew by two seconds. Vellner’s performance in Test 3 was nearly a full minute faster than his performance in 2018 Regional Linda (13:18). 
  • Nick Mathew bumped up into podium position (third overall from seventh) after back-to-back fourth place finishes in Test 2 and 3. 
  • Cole Greashaber became the men’s overall leader after Test 3, earning fifth place with his 12:33 finish. 

Test 4: The modern caliber of athlete is being showcased in Test 4, with snatch weights matching or beating what used to be impressive for a singular one rep max event. On Saturday, four men were able to hit 300 pounds or more coming off a half mile run.  

  • Tudor Magda set the world record in Test 4, snatching 325 pounds. Madga had hit 305 pounds at the 5:14 mark, then hustled to load his barbell before hitting a buzzer beater with only 42 seconds of rest between attempts. His world record was 15 pounds heavier than the previous world record. 
  • Brent Fikowski tied his competition one-rep-max snatch from 2017, hitting 300 pounds which was good enough for a second place finish in Test 4. Fikowski was one of the last athletes off the run, but clearly had a plan as he methodically hit attempts with textbook technique. 
  • Anthony Davis and Jacob Marlow both hit 300 pounds on the snatch. Davis attempted a world record 330 pound snatch but missed and didn’t leave enough time to adjust his weights for an additional lift. 

Test 5: As if the performances in Test 4 weren’t impressive enough, two men (who happen to both be Canadian), went on to perform Test 5 in less than three minutes, both topping the previous world record times. 

  • Patrick Vellner set the world record in Test 5 with a 2:56 finish, beating his fellow countrymen Brent Fikowski (2:58) and Jeffrey Adler from last week (3:00). There must be something in the water in Canada, as the former 2023 TYR Wodapalooza teammates have been lighting up the worldwide leaderboard. 
  • Minutes after Fikowski’s snatch, he then went sub three minutes in Test 5, finishing just two seconds behind Patrick Vellner, giving him back-to-back second place finishes to wrap up Saturday. Following his effort in Test 5, he told Niki Brazier: “On the run I just…..tried to have a heart attack.” 

Who is in qualifying position after Saturday: 

  • 1st – Patrick Vellner (433 points)
  • 2nd – Brent Fikowski (420 points)
  • 3rd – Cole Greashaber (379 points)
  • 4th – Chandler Smith (378 points)
  • 5th – Samuel Kwant (376 points) 
  • 6h – Nick Mathew (369 points) 
  • 7th – Justin Medeiros (331 points) 
  • 8th – Jack Rozema (302 points) 
  • 9th – Mitchel Stevenson (296 points) 

The bottom line: Vellner and Fikowski have given themselves a slight cushion at the top of the leaderboard heading into the final day, but only 10 points separate third through sixth place. Sunday will kick off with a classic chipper, featuring a moderately heavy barbell, rowing and medley of gymnastics skills. 

The day will finish with a sprint-style test that will most certainly put athletes in the pain cave to end their weekend. It’s going to be a race to the finish with the star-studded roster of male athletes at the North America West Semifinal.

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