Nick Bloch, Emily Rolfe and Invictus X Earn CrossFit Games Invites

Holden Rethwill, Sam Dancer, Kristi Eramo and Margaux Alvarez of Invictus X. Photo via Instagram, @samdancing
Holden Rethwill, Sam Dancer, Kristi Eramo and Margaux Alvarez of Invictus X. Photo via Instagram, @samdancing

The last U.S.-based Sanctional wrapped up yesterday at The Granite Games. For most in the U.S., this was the last opportunity to earn an invite to the 2019 CrossFit Games…unless a trip to France later this month is in order. The Granite Games, typically held in September, moved its calendar to this past weekend to accommodate the new Sanctional schedule. The competition, however, was just as good as we have come to expect from John Swanson and team.

The 4-day Sanctional began on Thursday with a Trail Run, Hill Sprint and a Clean Ladder and ended on Sunday with a rope climb and sandbag clean event. Athletes like Travis Mayer, Brent Fikowski and Carrie Beamer had already qualified for the CrossFit Games, but were in attendance. That left athletes like Ehea Schuerch, Alison Scudds, Saxon Panchik and Ben Smith fighting for the invite to the CrossFit Games.

On the men’s side, Travis Mayer, who already qualified for the Games via the Open, looked strong all weekend and held on to 1st place throughout the weekend. Mayer secured 1st place with just one event win, but also seven top 7 finishes. Behind him, Brent Fikowski charged up the leaderboard on the final day with 2nd and 1st place finishes to take 2nd place overall. Fikowski had also already earned a ticket to the Games by winning the Asia CrossFit Championship last month.

That left 3rd place up for grabs along with a berth to the CrossFit Games. Throughout the weekend, Mitchel Stevenson, Saxon Panchik, Nick Bloch, Justin Medeiros and Josh Gervais were near the top of the leaderboard fighting for the top spot. But on the final day, Bloch was the only one to finish both events in the top 10. Bloch won the first event on Sunday, 3/3/1, and followed up with a 5th place finish.

Bloch had to wait, however, to see where Medeiros would finish. Bloch trailed Medeiros by 28 points entering the event. Medeiros would end up crossing the finish line in 19th, not enough to hold off Bloch. Bloch’s comeback put him on the podium and earned him his first trip to the CrossFit Games.

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Started CrossFit 8 years ago with one goal in mind, qualify for the CrossFit Games….after this past weekend I can finally check that box. Thanks my beautiful soon to be wife @heathergese11 for being there every step of the way these past years. Thanks to @mammalinda58 for being there all weekend screaming for me, even tho she almost had a heart attack at least 3-4x. Thanks to all the @crossfitfdl members that were cheering for me both near and far over the weekend and sending good vibes. Huge thanks to my coach, @coachsamsmith for preparing me with a great training plan these past 6 months to even make this a possibility. Special thanks to all the judges, volunteers and others @thegranitegames!! Next stop, Madison!!! #bigdawgs #crossfitgames

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For the women, Carrie Beamer was on top of the leaderboard through Saturday. Beamer had already qualified for his rookie debut at the CrossFit Games via the Open, but was competing in her first Sanctional of the season. Behind Beamer was Emily Rolfe, Andrea Nisler, Taylor Williamson and Ehea Schuerch.

Nisler and Williamson just earned an invite to the Games at the Rogue Invitational as part of Team OC3 Black so it was expected they would decline an individual invite. That left it up to Rolfe and Schuerch. Schuerch hung around the top 5 all weekend, but was unable to get enough top 5 finishes to hang with Beamer and Rolfe.

On Sunday, Rolfe took 1st and 2nd in the two events to bypass Beamer and take 1st place overall. Beamer held on to 2nd while Nisler finished 3rd. Schuerch would end up in 5th place. The Granite Games victory mean Rolfe will be making her rookie debut at the CrossFit Games.

And on the team competition, Invictus X was back in competition to earn a spot to the Games. Invictus X originally earned an invite to the Games via the Mid Atlantic CrossFit Challenge, but one of the team members, Chantelle Loehner, failed a drug test. This time, Sam Dancer and Holden Rethwill brought two female Games veterans to the Granite Games. Margaux Alvarez and Kristi Eramo, both who said they would not compete as individuals this season, joined Invictus X for the Granite Games. The roster change paid off.

Invictus X finished with four event wins to take 2nd overall, only behind CrossFit Krypton. Krypton had already earned a spot at the Games as Team ROMWOD/WIT via Wodapalooza. Thus, the invite will go to 2nd place Invictus X. Invictus X finished 2nd at the CrossFit Games.

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My heart is so full and my soul is on fire. Life is a trip and sometimes it comes down to the wire. motivated by love I feel spirit plowing through my veins. After many ups and downs, Invictus X is going to the games. To the community, volunteers, staff, media, medical and more. The granite games culture is something I truly adore. Interactions with fellow athletes and friends from a far. You make this so fun, you know who you are. Our squad is much more than what you see on the floor. To everyone who supports us, we are family for sure. My teammates are fierce, raw, athletic and full of pure light. We pushed and we pulled and we stayed in the fight. Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory and let me explain it. When you give what you got you have already won Express yourself fully and Gods will be done. Bless! #thankyousignificantothers

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