Games Bound: Semifinals Week 2 Winners

June 7, 2021

Brittney Saline

Another weekend, another batch of athletes sent packing — for Madison, Wisconsin, that is. 

Another weekend, another batch of athletes sent packing — for Madison, Wisconsin, that is. 

In the second week of Semifinal competition, athletes were tested with heavy loads, unforgiving time caps and blistering heat at the Granite Games in Eagan, Minnesota, and Fittest in Cape Town (FICT) in Devonvallei, Stellenbosh, South Africa. 

In total, 154 athletes and teams took the field. Of those, the top five men, women, and teams from the Granite Games earned spots at the 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games; from FICT, just one man, woman, and team advanced. 

Congratulations to the second round of Semifinals champions!

Granite Games Winners

The women’s competition was all about the teens.

Mallory O’Brien and Emma Cary, both 17, threw down against athletes more than a decade their senior — and four previous CrossFit Games athletes to boot.

In fact, their greatest competition seemed to be with each other. Both held qualifying spots from start to finish, O’Brien ending the weekend in second with three event wins and two second-place finishes while Cary took third with two second-place finishes and five in the top four. 

Mallory O'Brien
Mallory O'Brien (Photo by Meg Ellery)

Meanwhile, Regional veteran Arielle Loewen worked her way to the top of the podium with two event wins and no finish below eighth. She and fifth-place qualifier Caroline Conners will join the teenagers for debut Games appearances in July, while fourth-place qualifier Alessandra Pichelli returns for her eighth individual CrossFit Games competition. 

Nicole Mghenyi and Games athletes Kristi Eramo and Stephanie Chung took sixth through eighth and will have one more chance to nab a Games spot at the Last-Chance Qualifier.  


  1. Arielle Loewen

  2. Mallory O’Brien

  3. Emma Cary

  4. Alessandra Pichelli

  5. Caroline Conners

Women's Podium
Women's podium (Photo by Meg Ellery)

In contrast, the men’s podium boasts more than a few familiar names: Saxon Panchik, Chandler Smith, Tim Paulson, and Rogelio Gamboa took the top four spots for their fourth, third, fifth and sixth CrossFit Games appearances, respectively. 

Newcomer Colten Mertens — and his epic mullet — snagged the final qualifying spot with two event wins and four top-three finishes. 

Colten Mertens
Colten Mertens (Photo by Meg Ellery)


  1. Saxon Panchik

  2. Chandler Smith

  3. Tim Paulson

  4. Rogelio Gamboa

  5. Colten Mertens

Men's Podium
Men's podium (Photo by Meg Ellery)

While team Omnia held the lead from the end of Day 2 onward — earning its fourth Games appearance with two event wins and no finish below sixth — teams jockeyed for the four remaining spots all weekend. 

But it was 8th Day Gym that had the final word at the 11th hour, jumping from sixth to fourth after winning the final event.


  1. Omnia


  3. I1UVIT

  4. 8th Day Gym

  5. Ocean State’s Finest

Team podium
Team podium (Photo by Meg Ellery)

Congratulations to the CrossFit Games qualifiers from the Granite Games! 

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Fittest in Cape Town Winners

Three names dominated the women’s leaderboard all weekend: Dina Swift and the two Michelles: Basnett and Merand. 

Swift took the early lead after Day 1 with back-to-back event wins but was overtaken by Basnett on Day 2.

Basnett maintained her lead until the end, taking the one and only Games-qualifying spot with two event wins and six top-four finishes. 

Michelle Basnett
Michelle Basnett (Photo courtesy of South African Sports Images)


Michelle Basnett

Women's Podium
Women's podium (Photo courtesy of South African Sports Images)

Jason Smith took 11th worldwide in the 35-39 division, yet he opted not to compete in the Age Group Online Qualifier. 

He showed the world why this weekend, earning Fittest in Cape Town’s sole Games-qualifying spot with three event wins and no finish outside the top five. 

Jason Smith
Jason Smith (Photo courtesy of South African Sports Images)

Ruan Duvenage, AJ Visser, and Mohamed Elomda, who took second through fourth, joined the roster of athletes who will compete for two Games-qualifying spots in the Last-Chance Qualifier. 


Jason Smith

Men's Podium
Men's podium (Photo courtesy of South African Sports Images)

Few CrossFit affiliates send a team to an elite CrossFit competition.

Fewer still send two — yet that’s just what CrossFit Eikestad did. Its two teams, Eikestad Mighty Oaks and Eikestad Golden Oaks, held the spotlight all weekend, finishing in first and third respectively. 


Eikestad Mighty Oaks

Team podium
Team podium (Photo courtesy of South African Sports Images)

Congratulations to all the Games qualifiers out of Fittest in Cape Town! 

Crew at FICT
The Fittest in Cape Town crew (Photo courtesy of South African Sports Images)

Missed an event? Head to the archives to catch up on the action. 

Cover photo: Ocean State's Finest (Photo by Meg Ellery)

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