May 28, 2018
Against All Odds
By Hilary Achauer
Incredible comebacks from athletes in the Central, West and Latin America Regions
Incredible comebacks from athletes in the Central, West and Latin America Regions


Five consecutive event wins gave Mathew Fraser his fifth consecutive Regional championship, a feat unmatched by any individual athlete. Fraser didn’t need to win the final event to take the top spot, but he did anyway, setting a new event record along the way for his 20th career Regional event victory.

The biggest smile on the competition floor, however, belonged to Scott Panchik.

The Games veteran pulled off an astonishing comeback, moving from 28th place after Event 1 to fourth overall. Making the victory even sweeter, Scott’s younger brother Saxon finished just behind Scott, taking the fifth and final qualifying spot.

Saxon started CrossFit when he was 12 years old.

“He pushes me every day in the gym,” Scott said about Saxon. "And today he pushed me on the floor and the outcome is better than I could have imagined.”

Panchik brothers

On the women’s side, Brooke Wells won the Regional by never finishing below seventh place. Wells was followed closely by Kristi Eramo, who ended up in second, only 16 points behind Wells.

Amanda Barnhart took third overall and will make her first trip to the CrossFit Games. Barnhart won three events in a row, more than any other women in her region.

The final two qualifying spots rested on the outcome of Event 6, a short and brutal couplet of rope climbs and thrusters. Games veteran Jennifer Smith turned in a smooth and consistent performance to take fourth in the event, which allowed her to edge out Jessica Griffith by four points. Just eight points ahead of Smith, in fourth overall, Michele Fumagalli qualified for the Games for the first time in her fourth regional appearance.

J. Smith
Jennifer Smith


Rebecca Voigt qualified as a master, but this year she won’t need it.

After missing the Games by three spots in 2017, Voigt returned to Del Mar, California, and took the fifth spot, qualifying for the CrossFit Games for a 10th time at age 37.

Voigt had a rough start to competition, finishing in 23rd on Event 1. But she spent the weekend working her way up the leaderboard until she reached sixth place going into Event 6. A seventh-place finish on that event allowed her to edge out Meredith Root to take the final qualifying position.

Emily Abbott dominated the West Regional from the beginning with a calm, almost Zen-like demeanor throughout. Asked how she felt about winning the Regional, Abbott didn’t mince words.

“I feel like a motherfucking boss,” she said.

Brent Fikowski won the men’s competition, finishing just two points ahead of second-place Cole Sager.

However, it was Cody Anderson who delivered the comeback of the weekend. Anderson finished 31st and Event 1 and 22nd on Event 2. Then he won Event 3 and made his way up the leaderboard until he landed in seventh place before the sixth and final event of the day. A third-place finish on that event gave Anderson a fourth-place finish overall, behind Josh Bridges in third.

C. Anderson
Cody Anderson


Against extraordinary odds, Pablo Chalfun is going to the CrossFit Games.

At a Regional threatened by a countrywide truck strike, where much of the equipment was donated by local CrossFit affiliates, the lowest ranked athlete out of the Open took the only qualifying Games spot in his division.

It didn’t hurt that Chalfun was competing in his home city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In a packed stadium counting every rep, Chalfun took third place in Event 6 and finished the competition 32 points ahead of second-place Luis Oscar Mora.

“I think today I made my country proud, made my city proud,” Chalfun said after winning the first Latin America regional in four years.

Brenda Castro

Brenda Castro, the favorite to win for the women, had a slow start to the competition on Day 1 but took the top spot on Day 2 and held it until the end, finishing the Regional in first, 12 points ahead of second-place Melina Rodriguez.

Castro will become the first Mexican woman to qualify for the CrossFit Games. She’s already proven she can hold her own on a worldwide level—Castro finished the 2018 Open in 35th place worldwide. Now she will travel to Madison Wisconsin in August to represent Latin American and Mexico at the 2018 Reebok CrossFit Games.

central – games qualifiers


Mathew Fraser (564)
Alex Anderson (426)
Nicholas Uranker (422)
Scott Panchik (406)
Saxon Panchik (392)


Brooke Wells (530)
Kristi Eramo (514)
Amanda Barnhart (500)
Michele Fumagalli (388)
Jennifer Smith (380)


CrossFit Mayhem Freedom (588)
OC3 Black (502)
CrossFit 417 (492)
CrossFit Mayhem Independence (462)
CrossFit Kilo (422)

West – games qualifiers


Brent Fikowski (488)
Cole Sager (486)
Josh Bridges (434)
Cody Anderson (392)
Mitchel Stevenson (386)


Emily Abbott (518)
Alessandra Pichelli (472)
Ehea Schuerch (432)
Chyna Cho (426)
Rebecca Voigt (382)


Invictus X (544)
Torrance Training Lab (512)
CrossFit Fort Vancouver (506)
CrossFit Billings (468)
Invictus (456)

Latin America – Games qualifiers


Pablo Chalfun (488)


 Brenda Castro (440)


Team Colombia Parceros (546)


For complete details, visit the Leaderboard.