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“I will definitely be back next year. But next time, I will beat Mat Fraser.”

Catch the Granite Games last weekend? Then you may have been asking yourself, “Who’s that guy out there giving Mat Fraser a run for his money?” Finishing mere seconds after Fraser on The Snatch Ladder, and taking first in two of the weekend’s events, Alex Anderson certainly caught our attention. We caught up with the 24-yr-old Central East Region competitor and Miami Surge team member for his story. So read up, because trust us, you’re going to want to pay attention to this athlete’s career.

Alex had a stellar weekend at the Granite Games. Asked what it was like battling it out with Mat Fraser for the top spot, he responds, “It was a great experience being able to go toe-to-toe with Mat Fraser. Obviously he is an exceptional competitor, but he is also a great guy. I look forward to competing against him in the future.” And it certainly looked as though the Elites were having a great time behind the scenes, hanging out, laughing and joking and snapping selfies to share on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Alex hails from Knoxville, Tennessee, a far cry from St Cloud, Minnesota, and shared what drew him here to compete for the granite. “I wound up competing at the Granite Games because John Swanson [Granite Games CEO] sent me an invite. I had heard of the event before and knew it was one of the best competitions outside of the Crossfit Games, but didn’t think I would be able to come because I’m on the Miami Surge and we are in the middle of our Grid season. However, due to certain circumstances, the opportunity became available and I had the privilege of being able to come up and compete.”

Eyes may have been on Mat Fraser during the opening event, The Snatch Ladder, but Alex proved himself a force to be reckoned with. Clearing the ladder a mere 22 seconds behind the 2nd fittest man on earth, Alex caught the attention of many. When asked if he knew he’d finish that event, he said, “I felt very confident on The Snatch Ladder. My max snatch going into the event was 290, but I had been feeling very smooth and strong the weeks leading up to the Granite Games, so I knew I was due for a big lift. I was sure I would hit 295 and felt very confident about clearing the ladder and hitting 305. And thankfully, I did just that.” A 15 lb PR in the midst of the pressures of competition? Needless to say, we’re impressed.

Obviously a solid snatch PR was the perfect way to kick off a weekend of competition. And that wasn’t even the only PR Alex hit over the course of the competition.  “I’d never run a 5k before, so I would consider the 19:18 I ran a PR.” We’d say so. Alex took 1st for the Elite Men on Sunday morning’s 5K, crossing the finish line 2 seconds ahead of Fraser.

Overall, the 24-yr-old former football player had a stellar weekend of competition, taking two first place finishes and 2 seconds in 7 events. But what happened on the Sprint Relay? By far his worst event, Alex finished the sprint and handstand push-up couplet in 17th place. “Handstand push-ups are definitely a weaker movement of mine,” says Alex. “I knew the Sprint Relay would be a tough workout for me going in. I have been working vigorously on improving my handstand push-ups, but still knew they would not play to my strengths going into the Granite Games.” Clearly one to work on his weaknesses, however, Alex adds, “I will look forward to the handstand pushup workout next year!”

Another contender in the Elite Division Sponsored by Eat to Perform this year was Nick Urankar, who is also Alex’s teammate on the Miami Surge. We asked what it’s like competing against a teammate. “Nick Urankar is not only my teammate on the Miami Surge, but he has also become one of my good friends. We are always sending each other videos of lifts and workout times and pushing each other to get better. It is always a pleasure to be able to compete against him, whether it is in the gym or at a competition.”

We already mentioned that Alex hails from the Central East Region, going up against such athletes as Graham Holmberg, Scott Panchik, Marcus Hendren, and of course, the legend himself, Rich Froning. How did the competition level here stack up against his Regionals experience this past summer? “I would say that the competition level at the Granite Games was very similar in comparison to Regionals,” he replies. I compete in a region with some of the best competitors in the world, so I was pretty well prepared for elite athletes competing at the Granite Games.”

Given that he’s had a chance to compete against some of the fittest men in the world at a Regionals level, we were curious what he thought of the challenges laid out before the competitors.  “I thought the programming was awesome,” Alex responds with enthusiasm. “Honestly, it was one of the best-programmed competitions I have ever been at. The programming was a great blend of strength, gymnastics, and endurance. I also love competitions that have workouts outside of the box, and therefore was very excited to have the 5k run.” Clearly workouts outside the box like him too, judging from that killer 5k finish!

“I had a great time at the Granite Games,” Alex reflects when asked for any final thoughts after taking 2nd overall in the Elite Male Division Sponsored by Eat to Perform. “It was a very well-run event, with top of the line equipment, consistent judging, awesome programming, and some of the best competitors in the world. You can’t ask for much more at a competition. I will definitely be back next year. But next time, I will beat Mat Fraser.”

Thanks for a killer performance, Alex. Best of luck as your Grid season resumes. P.S. We can’t wait to see you return and make good on that promise at next year’s Granite Games!