Fan Favorites Face Failure

March 14, 2018

Emily Beers

Your favorite athlete might not qualify for Regionals.

With two weeks to go, the bubble is getting thinner.

At least two scoring opportunities remain, but the margin for error is now very thin for those with Regional aspirations, and some of the usual suspects are on the outside looking in at this point.

On the other hand, many top Regionals and Games athletes who were on the wrong side of the qualifying line after Week 2 moved their way into safer positions this week.

Second-place finisher at last year’s Games, Brent Fikowski, moved himself from eighth in Canada West after Week 2 into fourth after a strong effort on 18.3. His 837 reps were good enough for third in a region in which only five Regionals spots are up for grabs. Meanwhile, Australia’s James Newbury—26th at the 2017 Games—jumped from 39th overall after Week 2 to 30th this week. He now sits right on his region’s cut line.

Dakota Rager—22nd at the 2017 Games—is another top athlete who’s flirting with qualification after three weeks of competition. Though Rager has posted the Central East region’s top scores in both 18.3 (13:25, also the world’s best time) and 18.2 (3:54), his 294th-place finish on 18.2a (310 lb.) continues to plague him. He’s currently in 40th place (314 points) in a region where 20 athletes will qualify for Regionals.

James Newbury - 2017 Pacific Regional
James Newbury at the 2017 Pacific Regional (Photo courtesy of Thomas Campitelli)

On the women’s side, 2017 Games athlete Casey Campbell finds herself on the bubble for the West Coast after Week 3. She had a strong performance in 18.3, which helped her move from 48th last week to 38th this week, and she’s now just three spots and 29 points away from a spot at Regionals.

Dani Horan—20th at the 2017 Games—is in a similar position, though Horan sits on the right side of the cut line after Week 3. Horan placed 75th in the North East on 18.3 (634 reps), dropping her to 24th in a region where 25 athletes advance.

Two more notable 2017 Games athletes who made strides in Week 3 but still sit outside qualification spots: Elijah Muhammad and Cody Mooney. Muhammad moved himself into 24th in the North Central region, just four spots away from qualification, while Mooney, who had shoulder surgery in the offseason, now sits 33rd in the North East, eight spots out of qualification.

And up in Canada West, a region where there’s proving to be little room for error, many former Games and perennial Regionals athletes find themselves on the bubble or nearly out of contention. A 2016 Games competitor, Christina Seeley is on the cusp, tied for fifth place, while two-time Games athlete Tyson Takasaki—who has competed in every Regional competition since 2011—is tied for 13th overall, 86 points away from the safe zone. 

Teen Podium - 2017 Games
Left to right: Haley Adams, Kaela Stephano and Filippa Ferm stand atop the Girls 16-17 podium at the 2017 Games.

Finally, proving just how stiff the competition has become in 2018, teenage up-and-comers Kaela Stephano and Haley Adams, two 17-year-olds who were first and second, respectively, in the Girls 16-17 Division at the 2017 Games, are learning they might just have to focus on the teen competition for one more year. Adams, who placed 10th in the Open in the Mid Atlantic in 2017, is currently 19 spots away from the cut line in 39th, while Stephano is battling in the South East region. After earning an impressive 11th place on 18.3 (702 reps), she’s now in 23rd, just three spots shy of earning a Regionals berth.

With just two weeks remaining in this year’s Open, the race is on to snag a coveted spot in the 2018 Regionals. 

* All scores and placings for Open Workout 18.3 are current as of 12 p.m. PDT on March 14, 2018, and are pending validation.