If you missed our article last week on how these regional seeds are created, along with a look at how well they have performed in the past at predicting Games qualifiers, check it out right here.
Week 1 saw several intense competitions that came right down to Event 7’s thrusters and rope climbs. The difference between a Games-qualifying fifth-place spot, and a not-qualifying sixth, averaged 15 points for the women, and just 4 points for the men. That's roughly the difference between three places and one place, respectively, across the course of seven events.
Thus far, the seeds have performed similarly to last year. This past week, 23 out of the 44 of the top 5 seeds, or 55 percent, qualified for the Games, compared to 61 percent last year. If you set aside the topsy-turvy team competition in the South, it would be 62 percent making it through.
Three of the nine top seeds didn’t make it through: Kyle Frankenfeld (13th; Pacific), Chelsey Grigsby (eighth; California), and Lonestar CrossFit (17th; South). So that’s six of nine, or 67 percent, that did qualify. That’s a bit lower than the 79 percent success rate for top seeds we saw in 2015, but there are five more competitions to go.
There were a few athletes who paid no attention to their seedings, most notably Whitney Cappellucci in the South, who came in as a 32nd seed, and walked out wearing a “Proven” T-shirt in second place. Nineteen-year-old Madeline Sturt also eked out a Games spot, placing fifth in the Pacific from a 24th seed. Cappellucci is typical of the kind of athlete we’ve seen qualify for the Games from a lower seed: an experienced, powerful athlete. Garret Fisher and Alessandra Pichelli also qualified from outside the top 10 seeds, and certainly fit that mold.
Then there was the team competition in the South. This had about all the order of an eight-ball break. The only top-10 seed to qualify was the 10th seed, #TeamDensity. This completely disagrees with the analysis we showed last week, where teams outside the top 10 rarely qualify. The other two team competitions were much better-behaved, with no one from outside the top 10 qualifying.
Now we look forward to Week 2, presenting the seeds and a few things to keep your eyes open for as you’re enjoying the coverage.
One presumes that Noah Ohlsen and Ben Smith will go through, but after that, it really seems like anybody’s game. The Atlantic men’s division is right there with the East as the deepest in CrossFit. All of the qualifiers from last year are back, with great seeds, except for EZ Muhammad, who moved to the South, and Nathan Bramblett. Bramblett would very likely be in the top 10 if he hadn’t gotten the flu during the week of 16.5. Can you imagine taking all the fun of 16.5, and then adding all the fun of the flu on top of that? Eesh. The seed scores after Ohlsen and Mayer are pretty closely packed, and there is a huge pack of wily veterans looming outside the top 10: ZA Anderson, Jeff Evans, Gary Helmick, Daniel Petro and Jordan Troyan.
With Sam Briggs heading back across the pond, that frees up a spot on the women’s side. Here, like the men, the seedings are spaced closely. It’s hard to imagine Emily Bridgers not making it, with her consistency over the past few years. Beyond Bridgers, there’s a mix of Games veterans, and women that have been just on the verge of the Games several times. 2012 Games podium finisher Talayna Fortunato sits in 15th seed, and if she’s healthy should figure into the race.
The team race in Atlantic should also be tight. All of the top 5 seeds were also in the top 25 worldwide during the Open. And the sixth seed, 12 Labours, was sixth at the Games in 2015. The seed scores are pretty tight within the top 10, and here they stay tight well into the top 20 seeds.
All three races should be fun to watch.
These men’s seedings may well be deceptive. After Brent Fikowski, there are a bunch of unfamiliar names until we reach Lucas Parker. Between this murderers’ row of seasoned Games vets Parker, Ben Stoneberg and Cody Anderson, and Cole Sager and Tyson Takasaki sitting outside the top 10, these new names are very much going to have their work cut out for them. Joe Scali and Kevin Simons are out this year, so we may well see some of these new names qualify.
Emily Abbott and Margaux Alvarez—who's moved this year from the South—took eighth and ninth at the 2015 Games, respectively, and are known for their consistency, so they are good bets. Carleen Mathews had another dominant Open and looks to repeat. Regan Huckaby and Alex Parker made the Games in 2015, and had strong Opens, but like the men the seed scores are tight so it may be a struggle.
Evergreen Games teams CrossFit Marysville and CrossFit Fort Vancouver sit atop the seedings this year, and are in a good position to return to Carson. Beyond them, it’s just 32 points separating third from 10th, which includes last year’s champ Lane 5 Athletics.