Alexis Raptis Quietly Snags Leader’s Jersey Heading Into Day Two at the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games
While all eyes were on 18-year-old Emma Lawson who took a commanding lead on the opening test of the competition—a 40-minute bike—and on Danielle Brandon, who dominated the inverted handstand medley during Test 3, it’s second-year Games competitor Alexis Raptis who quietly leads all competitors after the first day of competition at the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games in Madison, WI.
The details: The 24-year-old Raptis calmly strung together three top five performances on Thursday’s opening day, finishing fifth on both the bike and the inverted medley tests, and third on Test 2, a chipper-style workout featuring pig flips, chest-to-bar pull-ups, toes-to-bar and 100 wall balls.
- Behind Raptis is 34-year-old Emily Rolfe, 24 points back in second, followed by third year veteran Arielle Loewen in third, Lawson in fourth, and the always consistent Annie Thorisdottir, who is competing in her 12th Games as an individual, in fifth.
Worth noting: This is a huge start for four-time Games veteran Rolfe, who has been riddled with injuries at recent competitions.
- She was forced to withdraw from the Games last year after the first event because of a blood clot in her arm that forced her to have emergency surgery in Madison, and more recently at Wodapalooza in January, she suffered a calf strain on the final day of competition, dropping her off the podium.
One big thing: This is the second year in a row that Lawson has started out hot. Last year, in her rookie season, Lawson was second after Day 1, and stayed in a podium position for much of the weekend, but eventually fell to sixth on the final day of competition.
- So while it’s no surprise that Lawson sits near the top right now, especially after a bike test, the question becomes whether she can stay there until the very end this year.
But don’t forget about: Laura Horvath, the heavy favorite to win the whole thing, might not be in the top three just yet, but she, too, put forth a solid performance on Thursday, including snagging an event win on Test 2 and a top 10 finish on Test 1.
- Where Horvath struggled, not surprisingly, was in the inverted medley test. She failed to complete the course before the time cap and finished 27th overall. Still, Horvath sits in seventh after Day 1, just 23 points out of third, and with plenty of workouts that are in her wheelhouse yet to come.
Further, Danielle Brandon, also a podium contender, started out slowly on Thursday with back-to-back 21st place finishes, but came back and annihilated the inverted medley test, taking a test win in a time of 3:12.75, 45 seconds ahead of the next fastest time put up by Shelby Neal.
The big picture: As they say, the weekend is long and the party’s just getting started. That being said, a strong showing on Day 1 can do a lot for an athlete’s confidence and set the tone for the next three days.
- “It definitely helps my confidence going into the rest of the weekend,” is how Lawson put it after her event win to open the competition.
If Rolfe, Loewen and Raptis feel the same kind of momentum and confidence as Lawson, watch for them to continue to perform well as the fight to be crowned the Fittest on Earth in 2023 continues to unfold in Madison.