Patrick Vellner and Brent Fikowski are both making their first appearance at the CrossFit Games as an individual. Vellner competed in the Team division at the Games last year, but qualified as an individual in 2016. Fikowski had narrowly missed qualifying for the Games the past two years until this year where he ran through the West Regional finishing in 1st place.
After a wake-up call at 3:30am, a one-hour flight to San Jose and a 45-minute drive to Aromas, both Vellner and Fikowski competed like they had been there before. Fikowski, known for his engine, took 3rd in the Ranch Trail Run. Vellner took 9th.
The Ranch Deadlift Ladder proved a little too much for Fikowski as he finished with 485-pounds, good for 33rd place. Vellner finished with another solid performance lifting 525-pounds to take 11th.
With both athletes in the final heat of the Ranch Mini Chipper, Fikowski surged to the lead on the GHD sit-ups and sprinted up the hill for the event win. Vellner followed suit and chased Fraser up the hill finishing 3rd.
After Day 1, the two rookies sit in the top 3 behind Fraser and are trailed by CrossFit Games veterans. The next closest rookie is Dam Dancer in 12th place.
The individuals won’t have a rest day on Thursday as they will be heading to the ocean for the 500-meter Ocean Swim event. When asked about his expectations about the open water swim, Vellner commented, “I don’t have huge expectations for the ocean swim. I’m not the best swimmer. Hopefully middle of the pack.” Another top 20 performance will keep Vellner in a good position heading into Friday.
The Ocean Swim will be broadcast on the CrossFit Games Facebook page via Facebook Live at 9am local time (12pm Eastern).