2024 TYR Wodapalooza: Men’s Indy and Men’s Team Podium Picks and Dark Horses

January 8, 2024 by
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The first major CrossFit competition of the 2024 season is only days away as the CrossFit world’s most elite men and women head to the beach to throw down at the 2024 TYR Wodapalooza in Miami, FL.

As the community waits in anticipation to see which athletes are in the best form to start the year, we put together our list of podium and dark horse picks to give some ideas of where the main battles will be fought.

  • Podium Picks: Athletes we believe have the best chance to finish on the podium.
  • Dark Horse Picks: A few athletes we believe might perform much better than expected.

Let’s get started.

Podium Picks: Indy Men’s Division

In our opinion, the 2024 podium is likely going to have the same athletes as it did in 2023, but in a slightly different order.

Here’s a quick reminder of the 2023 podium:

  • 1st: Ricky Garard
  • 2nd: Roman Khrennikov
  • 3rd: Patrick Vellner

Patrick Vellner: This year, we strongly believe that Patrick Vellner — the 2022 Wodapalooza champion — is going to end up on top. He looks to be firing on all cylinders and this competition could be just the beginning of a record season for him.

Vellner closed out 2023 with a bang as he not only finished second overall at the Games, but he also won the ultra-competitive Rogue Invitational.

At WZA 2023, Vellner finished only 12 points behind Khrennikov and we’re sure he’s done everything he can to stop that from happening again.

This trio of Vellner, Khrennikov, and Garard has become something of a rivalry over the past couple of years and we expect this to be a close one. That said, we also expect Vellner to take it this year.

Roman Khrennikov: Khrennikov also had a phenomenal end to his 2023 season as he dominated at the Dubai Fitness Championship. But he’s obviously still upset that his injury at the Games cost him the second-place overall position and even a possible title.

Khrennikov has been making a lot of waves in the off-season with a bit of post-Games trash talk towards the other competitors, and that has further contributed to the intensity at WZA.

Last year, Khrennikov had four event wins at Wodapalooza, but due to a 14th-place finish in Event 1, he wasn’t able to catch Garard.

In his last competition of 2023 in Dubai, Khrennikov actually beat Ricky Garard head-to-head pretty easily and we expect him to beat Garard once again here at TYR WZA.

The battle between Khrennikov and Vellner will likely come down to the very last workout and a handful of points. While we wouldn’t be shocked at all to see Khrennikov win, we think Vellner will edge him out.

Ricky Garard: The 2023 Wodapalooza champ is going to have a tough time defending his title, but anything can happen.

Last year, Garard had no event finishes outside of the top seven, with an average finish of 3.6. If he can repeat that he may just be able to hold off Vellner and Khrennikov.

Unfortunately, due to an injury, we didn’t see Garard at the 2023 Games, but he has been very active in the off-season and should now be back to full strength.

Garard is probably the best swimmer out of these three men, which could give him a slight edge over them in the swimming workouts. In a competition where every point will matter, he’ll need to capitalize here to take a lead over them.

As I said, anything could happen in this competition, but Vellner and Khrennikov look to be performing at their best right now, so we will have to put Garard in third overall.

Dark Horse Picks: Indy Men’s Division

Brent Fikowski: It feels wrong to put Fikowski here, but he has had some tough breaks lately, finishing fourth overall at the 2023 Games due to a bad 13th-place final event, and also finishing fourth overall at Rogue where he tied with Khrennikov in third place, but lost the tie break.

On his best day, Fikowski is just as good as anyone and if he executes to perfection he can steal a podium spot.

Samuel Kwant: “Quiet Kwant” doesn’t make much noise on social media, he just trains by himself in his garage and produces results.

Kwant had an unexpectedly low 15th-place overall finish at the 2023 Games, but let’s not forget that in 2022 he was the Fourth Fittest Man on Earth. There’s a great chance he cracks the top five overall here at WZA.

Spencer Panchik: In our opinion, Spencer Panchik is very likely to finish inside the top 10 overall, but he may even have a shot at a 6-8th position if all goes well.

Although this field is stacked, he’s still fitter than most of the men out there and his top overall strength will give him a boost.

Podium Picks: Men’s Team Division

Tres Leches: The “old” men over at Tres Leches are going to show everyone else who’s still in charge around these parts.

With an average of 32, Patrick Vellner, Bjorgvin Karl Gudmundsson, and Travis Mayer have the best shot to win this team competition, thanks to their combined 25 years of CrossFit Games experience.

Vellner’s team “Canadian PB&J” won the team division last year, and all the way back in 2015 Vellner even competed at the Games on a team during his rookie year.

BKG and Mayer are also not known to make mistakes or have big weaknesses in their games. This team seems to have a strong friendship and that communication will come in handy here. 

Mayer also happened to be on the third-place team last year.

They will be the team to beat.

Team GOWOD: This team is going to surprise a lot of people, including Tres Leches above.

Although Justin Medeiros is replacing Roman Khrennikov on this team, Jay Crouch and Willy Georges remain after having finished second overall at Wodapalooza last year, only 29 points behind first.

Since Crouch and Georges already have experience working together on a team, inserting a two-time Games champ like Medeiros will only make things better.

We’re predicting them to fight for first all competition, but ultimately finish in second overall by a handful of points.

Team TYR: Ricky Garard, Dallin Pepper, and Jayson Hopper will be representing TYR at their own sponsored competition, giving them a little bit of extra incentive to win it all.

All three of the members on this team are solid all-around in their game, but it is unknown how well they work as a team.

They should be able to secure this final spot on the podium rather comfortably if they don’t make any major mistakes, but they will nonetheless have to be careful of the following dark horse teams.

Dark Horse Picks: Mens’ Team Division

Ombré Hombres: This team of Noah Ohlsen, Chandler Smith, and Tola Morakinyo is going to be exciting to watch for a few reasons.

First of all, this is a home run-hitting team that is likely going to win an event or two, but also probably have a couple of bad finishes.

Second of all, Ohlsen and Smith have been competing together as a team in the off-season and have had some really strong performances.

Since Morakinyo has five years of Games experience in the team division he will be able to guide this team further in the right direction and they may even snag the final spot on the podium.

CrossFit Mayhem The Empire: Because Angelo Dicicco, Royce Dunne, and Samuel Demeester all have experience on a Mayhem team, their team might have the best communication and strategy of any on the floor.

Both Dicicco and Dunne have been the captains of their respective teams in the past so it will be interesting to see who leads the squad this week.

Although we don’t see them competing for the overall title, we think they will go toe-to-toe with Ombré Hombres for fourth place.

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