Who To Watch At Wodapalooza 2020: Vellner, Toomey & More

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We are just a week away from kicking off Wodapalooza 2020 and to say we are getting excited around here is an understatement. With so many badasses coming to Miami to compete it can be hard to keep up with who to watch and what to keep your eyes open for, but relax — that’s why we’re here. 

Here’s our run-down on who and what you should watch at this year’s competition. 

Men

2020 CrossFit Games Open champ, king of the North, and the great white pale hope, Patrick Vellner. Vellner stormed into last year’s WZA championship and took first in demanding fashion finishing 100+ points ahead of second-place Travis Mayer. 

It may be a new year, but I would expect to see a similar dominant performance from the Vellner. Yes, despite a less-than-ideal outcome at the 2019 Games, Vellner appears to be firing on all cylinders and getting better still. If his second-place performance at the Dubai CrossFit Championship is a sign of things to come, look for Vellner to have another standout year at WZA. 


All that being said, Vellner will have his work cut out for him. Noah Ohlsen and Wodapalooza go together like peanut butter and jelly. Ohlsen has won Wodapalooza multiple times in the past. Last year, after a bumpy first day he had to fight back all weekend to take third. Since that time Ohlsen seems to have really leveled up in his approach to competition. 

At the 2019 Games, Ohlsen wore the leader jersey for the majority of the weekend and had his most consistent performance ever. If that’s the Noah that shows up to WZA 2020, then get ready for one hell of a show. Other than the Open where Noah took si we haven’t really had a good look at where he’s at, but through stalking his Instagram you can see that Ohlsen is still really, really, really fit — go figure. 

Check out this breathing progression work:


Not only is he crazy fit, but he’s also getting stronger than ever. Look at how easily he hits this 465lb back squat PR: 


It’ll be exciting to see if the “happy but hungry” Noah can reclaim the WZA title. 

Now there’s a huge list of badass male athletes making their way to WZA. I mean Travis Mayer is coming back, Ben Smith (yes, “the Ben Smith”) will be there, and Alec Smith too! And everyone's favorite French fitnesser Willy George is coming as well, but I want to take a second to focus on Chandler Smith who finished up in 22nd place in the 2020 Open. 

Following the Open, Chandler took to the Dubai CrossFit Championship but had to withdraw due to being called back to the States for Army duties. Which was a shame because I know I wasn’t the only person excited to see the former wrestler throw down in competition. 

After seeing some of his and Noah’s 2020 Open face-offs: 


Luckily Chandler was able to make the Mayhem Classic where he put on an incredible showing and narrowly beat out a stiff field of competition to claim first. 


Let’s see if Smith can keep the momentum rolling and make a real run for the top spot in Miami.

Women

Let’s start with reigning three-time fittest woman on earth Tia-Clair Toomey. Toomey, much like Vellner, is returning to Wodapalooza after dominating the field last year. Toomey finished nearly 100 points ahead of second-place Kari Pearce. 

Toomey looks even more impressive heading into this year’s championship. Tia started the season with a fourth-place finish in the Open. And following that up she took to the Mayhem Classic in Cookeville where she won every event except one and finished exactly 100 points ahead of second-place Kristi Eramo O’Connell. 


The champ is showing no signs of slowing down, and I wouldn’t expect anything different at WZA.


Much like on the men’s side, we have last year’s third-place finisher as the top contender. Sara Sigmundsdottir is returning to Wodapalooza to duke it out with Toomey for the top spot. 


Sigmundsdottir seems to be in peak form. She won the Open and three weeks later took to the Filthy 150 competition floor and claimed the top spot on the podium. 


As if winning the Open and the Filthy 150 Sanctional wasn’t enough, Sara decided to compete in Dubai since Dubai is basically a “mini-games” (her words, not mine) and capped off an amazing weekend by winning. 

Sigmundsdottir appears to be more dialed in and focused than ever before, and if she can continue performing at this level then she may just be able to take the top of the podium at Wodapalooza.

The women’s field at Wodapalooza is absolutely stacked this year. You have 2019 CrossFit Game’s seventh-place finisher Amanda Barnhart in the mix, CrossFit Games rookie Danielle Brandon who put on a great performance at Mayhem Classic, and you have last year’s Wodapalooza runner-up Kari Pearce. But the athlete that I’ll have my eye on throughout the weekend is none other than Brooke Wells. Wells is a former Wodapalooza individual champion and is coming off of a great 11th-place Open finish. 


It’s been a while since we’ve seen Wells compete individually at a competition outside of the Games. Last year she took seventh at the Rogue Invitational, really treating that competition as a warmup for the Games. She’s already punched her ticket to return to Rogue for this year’s competition.


Look for the perennial CrossFit Games athlete to make some noise and cause some shake-ups on the leaderboard and possibly make a push for the top spot.

Many of the big names competing at Wodapalooza 2020 have already earned tickets to the 2020 CrossFit Games either through the CrossFit Open or another Sanctional, but don’t think that means won’t be on their A-game at WZA. Wodapalooza has always done a great job of putting together a great prize purse, and this year is no different. Elite individuals that finish in the top 10 will earn money with 20K going to third place, 30K to second place, and 50K to first place. That’s a serious payday. Athletes can also pick up extra cash throughout the competition, as each event win will earn them $2,020! With many of these athlete’s training full-time, that $50,000 can go a long way in supporting their season. 


Not only is Wodapalooza a great opportunity for these athletes to make some dough, but it’s also the perfect training ground to test out some new strategies or take risk where they otherwise wouldn’t because the pressure to qualify for the CrossFit Games is off. All of these factors should make for a very exciting four days of competition that you’re not going to want to miss.

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