Pat Vellner Wins North America West Semifinal; Cole Sager Secures 10th Straight Games Berth
The final day of competition at the North America West Semifinal would determine the nine men earning their ticket to Madison this Summer for the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games. Heading into Sunday, just 36 points separated ninth from 15th place, creating the opportunity for bubble athletes to make big moves and break into a qualifying position.
Test 6: The first test on Sunday required flawless execution, with heavy overhead squats and high-skill gymnastics leaving hardly any room for error. After two weeks of competition, it’s become obvious that this test boils down to the gymnastics and final set of overhead squats.
- The reigning champ started the final day with a world record, beating Gui Malheiros’ time of 9:06 with his 8:55 finish. Medeiros had an underwhelming weekend leading up to the final day of competition, but looked like a man-possessed at the start of Test 6, attacking from the start and never slowing down.
- In typical Samuel Kwant fashion, he snagged a low-key second place finish in Test 6 with a time of 9:57. The silent assassin did what he always does…chips away with consistency and puts himself in position to succeed heading into the final test.
- Colten Mertens’ third place finish in Test 6 bumped him into qualifying position, who started the day in 11th overall, but moved to eighth after his impressive 10:10 performance.
- Brent Fikowski finished one second behind Colten Mertens, taking fourth place with his time of 10:11. Heading into the final test of the weekend, Fikowski had only finished outside the top five once, putting on a masterclass of consistency in pursuit of his eighth CrossFit Games.
- Cole Sager’s fifth place finish in Test 6 put him in position to qualify for his 10th consecutive CrossFit Games. Sager started the day on the outside looking in, but was able to move up from 12th to ninth overall heading into the final test of the weekend.
Test 7: The triplet of bike, toes-to-bar and sandbag carries continues its devastation, forcing professional pacers to go into a dark place only reserved for the highest levels of competition. Individuals who are able to flirt with the redline without crossing over have been able to hold on for the third round, which has been the deciding factor in this test for both weeks of competition.
- Pat Vellner won two of the final three tests, with a 4:08 finish in Test 7 locking up his Semifinal win. Vellner never finished outside the top 10 after Test 1, showing dominance with his two wins and back-to-back third place finishes in Tests 2 and 3.
- John Wood finished Test 7 in second place with a time of 4:12. Wood started the weekend strong, but progressively slid back out of qualifying position as the weekend progressed. He finished in 12th place overall, 41 points behind Sager’s qualifying position.
- Cole Sager sold out in the final test of the weekend to lock in a third place finish in Test 7. His 4:17 performance gave him a 36 point cushion over Mitchel Stevenson to qualify for his 10th straight CrossFit Games.
- Once again, Samuel Kwant finished in the top of the pack, placing fourth in Test 7 with a time of 4:20. Kwant will be heading to his sixth CrossFit Games this summer, following four finishes inside the top five this weekend.
- Justin Medeiros rounded out the top five in Test 7, finishing just two seconds behind Samuel Kwant with a time of 4:22. The reigning champ finished the weekend fifth overall and will return to Madison this summer in pursuit of his third straight title.
Who’s heading to the CrossFit Games from the North America West?
- 1st – Patrick Vellner (612 points)
- 2nd – Brent Fikowski (569 points)
- 3rd – Samuel Kwant (564 points)
- 4th – Cole Greashaber (528 points)
- 5th – Justin Medeiros (519 points)
- 6h – Chandler Smith (490 points)
- 7th – Nick Mathew (472 points)
- 8th – Colten Mertens (458 points)
- 9th – Cole Sager (458 points)
The bottom line: Next week, the Europe and Asia regions will determine the 13 remaining male athletes who will be joining the 27 men who have already secured their position at the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games. Europe will be bringing 11 athletes to the CrossFit Games, which is the second highest number of qualifying spots behind North America East with their already 12 qualified athletes.