Pueblo Athlete, NPC Competitor Favorite to Win 2016 Wyoming Open

This week we have been previewing the Wyoming Open, which takes place August 6-7 in Cheyenne. Malachi Bennett will attempt to win his fourth straight pro title this year, while 2013 Games athlete Tiffany Hendrickson is the favorite to win the women's pro division. Today we take a look at the women's open division. Last year's women's open came down to a cross-town rivalry between host gym CrossFit Frontier's Lauren Jordan and CrossFit Cheyenne's Christi King. Jordan won three of the five events, but it wasn't enough to beat out King's more consistent performance - and the CrossFit Cheyenne owner stood on top of the podium.

Last year's cross-town Cheyenne battle for first place went to CrossFit Cheyenne's Christi King, defeating CrossFit Frontier's Lauren Jordan. All three of last year's podium finishers are absent from the Women's Open field this year.

Last year's cross-town Cheyenne battle for first place went to CrossFit Cheyenne's Christi King, defeating CrossFit Frontier's Lauren Jordan. All three of last year's podium finishers are absent from the Women's Open field this year.

This year, like the men's side, the entire podium from 2015 is absent from the field. Juliet Schutte from CrossFit Unveiled finished 4th in 2015 and is back this year looking to fill one of those empty podium spots.

While the pro division is reserved for athletes who finished in the top 250 in their region, it isn't required that you enter pro if you finished that high. It is frowned upon by other competitors however - and there will be some frowning this year. The favorite to win the title in 2016 is Johnna Dionisio. The 23 year old CrossFit DTW athlete and NPC competitor has experienced a meteoric rise in CrossFit in the last year. She scaled two workouts in last year's open before turning around and vaulting to 174th in the Southwest Region this year. That is more than 150 spots higher than Schutte, the next best finisher in the open division field. Dionisio would be predicted to finish top 5 if she had entered the Pro division. Entering the open division makes her the easy pick favorite to win big this weekend.

Johnna Dionisio should cruise to a win this weekend in Cheyenne, if her CrossFit Games Open performance is any indicator of her current skill set.

Johnna Dionisio should cruise to a win this weekend in Cheyenne, if her CrossFit Games Open performance is any indicator of her current skill set.

The next best finishers rounding out the field are all in the more expected top 400 or so of the Southwest and Northwest regions. Schutte as we mentioned has a great shot at the podium. The 43 year old brings a listed snatch of 120lbs and clean and jerk at 145lbs - so event 2 could hurt her a bit against someone like Shala Giardini. Giardini, from Lowry CrossFit, finished 390 in the region, but boasts a listed snatch at 145 and clean and jerk at 185. Recent videos posted on her social media accounts make it seem likely that clean and jerk could be over 200 now. Shala is a former soccer player - but says she is not a fan of running - so the rest of the events may not be in her wheelhouse.

Shala Giardini could work her way into a spot on the podium if she can perform well on event 2's one-rep maxes.

Shala Giardini could work her way into a spot on the podium if she can perform well on event 2's one-rep maxes.

Mariah Alger finished 11th at the Wyoming Open in 2015 - but posted the fifth best performance in the CrossFit Open out of the registered women. The CrossFit Tolero athlete could sneak into a podium spot this year if the workouts line up the right way for her.

If Dionisio's performance in the open is an indicator of her current skill-set, it should be a fairly easy win this weekend for her. If her rise from scaled to top 200 in the region in one year is a preview of how fast she can improve - the 2016 Wyoming Open title should be a nice win for her on the way to many more successes in the sport of fitness.