Rogue Invitational, Austin, Texas

by Joaquín Meroño

The fourth annual Rogue Invitational will once again be held in the greater Austin, Texas area at Dell Diamond, with three days of competition scheduled for October 28-30, 2022 .

Like all CrossFit fans, the Rogue Invitational is an anticipated event that will feature many of the biggest names in the sport, from rising stars to all-time legends. 

Invited Female CrossFit Athletes

When the women take the field at the Dell Diamond on Oct. 28 for the fourth annual Rogue Invitational, they'll do so without some of the top stars. The most notable absentee from the competition will be six-time "Fittest Woman on Earth" Tia-Clair Toomey, who has chosen not to defend her Rogue Invitational belt, a belt she has won three times since the event's inception in 2019.

Toomey is joined by her Games podium partner Mal O'Brien, Brooke Wells (5th in Games) and Haley Adams (9th in Games) who have decided to move on from the competition . This leaves the main offseason event without four of the top 10 finishers at this year's CrossFit Games. Despite the absence of these four athletes, the women's competition will be fun and engaging.

podium contenders

There are only three women who have made it to the podium at the Rogue Invitational. Annie Thorisdottir last competed as an individual athlete at last year's competition before opting to build a team for the 2022 CrossFit Games season.

The two-time Games champion returns to singles competition and automatically becomes one of the favorites not only for the podium, but could become the first Rogue champion not named Toomey.

Coming off an impressive finish at the 2021 Games, Gabriela Migala proved her sixth-place finish was no fluke by following up that performance with a third-place finish at Rogue two months later. The 24-year-old proved that her ability as a power athlete fit Rogue's programming. She is an early favorite to not only finish on the podium, but to take home the $215,000 first place prize.

Laura Horvath 's history at the Rogue Invitational has been filled with some ups and downs. It was at the 2019 Rogue that the two-time CrossFit Games runner-up's weakness with strict deficit handstand push-ups was exposed. The bronze medalist from this year's Games has made progress in improving that skill, but she's still struggling. Barring that move, Horvath could finally be on the podium at Rogue after finishing fourth last year and fifth in 2020.

Danielle Brandon is another of the candidates to compete on the podium and, after her best result in Games, in which she was on the verge of her first podium finish, she is in a position to achieve it. She was 11th at Rogue last year while dealing with a back injury. Her health and confidence are the best she's had in a long time and that could be bad news for the rest of the competitors.

New blood

Solberg, Angonese and Garnes are also part of the next group of athletes to make their first Rogue appearance. However, this group includes four athletes who are alumni of the junior division and five of them are under 25 years of age.

The name that stands out is 16-year-old Olivia Kerstetter , a two-time teen division champion, who earned her wild card via the "Q" when she placed second behind Angonese. This will be her first test against the best women in the sport and could determine the path she takes next season, whether defending her title as a teenager or competing as an individual athlete.

Emma Lawson led the way for Kerstetter last year and the 17-year-old will join her partner at the Rogue Invitational for the first time, having placed sixth at the Games. It remains to be seen how he fares with Rogue's programming, as his strength and power components might not do well for him.

Guest Male CrossFit Athletes

This year's competition features the top 15 finishers of the NOBULL CrossFit Games in the men's division. This marks the first time the Invitational has assembled a top 15 for its competition, making this year's field the most competitive yet. 

Last year, the Games and Rogue top two were identical, with Justin Medeiros and Patrick Vellner securing gold and silver respectively. These two names have to be considered the favorites again this year, with the two-time reigning and defending "Fittest Man on Earth" being the favourite. Medeiros has won four straight live competitions, including his Rogue title from last year.

Vellner is the only athlete in the men's category to have stood on the podium at every Rogue Invitational, with the Canadian winning the 2020 iteration when it was held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Similar to the 2021 Games, Vellner and Medeiros met at last year's Rogue Invitational, with Vellner leading on the final day.

Unlike previous years, however, in this men's category there are several athletes who could easily aim not only for a podium position, but for the title and, with it, the highest pay outside of the Games.

Jeffrey Adler was third last year in Rogue, showing that his engine has improved and he carried that momentum through to the Games, where he was fifth, ahead of Vellner.

Roman Khrennikov and Ricky Garard , who both stood on the podium at the Games, should be included in the favorites list just because of their good work on them. Khrennikov could thrive in a competition that usually features rowers, ski ergs and echo bikes, in which the Russian excels. Garard is known for his engine and in any event where there is a ruck. 

The best in Europe

This year there are only three European athletes, the lowest number in the history of the event. However, the three athletes representing the continent are the best and in some cases the best ever. Björgvin Karl Guðmundsson, Lazar Djukic and Jonne Koski have been the best European athletes in the last five years, with Guðmundsson leading the way at the Rogue Invitational.

Game Rookie of the Year Nick Mathew will make his Rogue debut after placing 14th at the CrossFit Games.

strong man

Strongman competition will also return to the Invitational in 2022 after its successful debut last fall. Ten of the world's best Strongman competitors will take on a unique new roster of challenges, devised and created by the same team behind the infamous Wheel of Pain and Elephant Deadlift Bar , among many others. Martins Licis won the opening competition in the dying seconds of the last event.