Pat Vellner Vaults into First and Builds 90-Point Lead at Rogue Invitational; Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr Holds Onto Top Spot on Saturday

October 27, 2023 by
Photo Credit: @avakitzi
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The top athletes going into Saturday are largely still the top athletes coming out, but Saturday’s three events slightly shifted their positions, and have left the leaderboard looking like Sunday won’t disappoint in creating close fights for the podium.

The men: Roman Khrennikov led all competitors at the start of the day, while Pat Vellner, the 2020 Rogue Invitational champion, sat in third. But after Saturday’s three events, Khrennikov dropped to third, while Vellner now leads all competitors by a whopping 90 points. 

  • To build this 90-point buffer, Vellner put forth three stellar performances, starting with a fourth and third place finish on Event 4 and 5 respectively, before ending his day by hitting a 595-pound deadlift, good enough for third place on Event 6—a one rep max deadlift.
  • Meanwhile, the reigning CrossFit Games champion Jeff Adler both started and ended Saturday in second overall, and heads into Sunday 15 points ahead of Khrennikov and Brent Fikowski, who has had an up-and-down competition.

On the women’s side, the day was a battle between the six-time CrossFit Games champion Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr and the reigning CrossFit Games champion Laura Horvath; a battle that started with Horvath in the lead and ended with Toomey-Orr having a five-point lead over Horvath heading into Sunday. 

  • Further, after starting the day in fourth, Emma Lawson did the same thing that helped her win a silver medal at the 2023 CrossFit Games: consistent performance after consistent performance. And after six events, Lawson has five top 10 finishes and heads into Sunday in third position, 20 points ahead of Gabriela Migala in fourth. 
  • Finally, Alex Gazan came into Saturday in sixth overall, dropped to 11th after Event 4, but finds herself back in fifth overall after posting the heaviest deadlift of all competitors in Event 6—425 pounds—to close out her Saturday. 

One big thing: Speaking of the deadlift numbers, let’s review how impressive both the men and women were in Event 6.

  • Ten women lifted 375 pounds or more, four hit the 400-pound mark, and two athletes—Alex Gazan and Dani Speegle–hit 420 pounds, with Gazan going on to hit 425 pounds, 10 pounds more than any female athlete lifted at the CrossFit Games during the CrossFit Total event in 2018.
  • Twelve men lifted 545 pounds or more, with three hitting 595 pounds, and Chandler Smith taking all competitors with a 610-pound deadlift, 15 pounds more than any male competitor lifted in the CrossFit Games in 2018.

The big picture: With three events to go on Sunday, Vellner might have a 90-point lead in the top spot, but the other two podium spots are still very much wide open, with only 25 points separating Adler in second and Travis Mayer in seventh.

As for the tight women’s battle, Sunday will determine whether, at six months postpartum, Toomey-Orr is still unbeatable. Regardless, based on the first three days of competition, it doesn’t seem Horvath is willing to go down without a fight.

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