In less than 24 hours, the CrossFit community will tune into by far the most competitive Regional competition, the East Regional in Albany, New York.
CrossFit HQ ranked the difficulty of each region for the men and women and the East Regional came out on top on both sides.
With back-to-back women’s champion Katrin Tanja Davidsdottir wiping the competition floor last season, everyone is fighting for second. However, two of the top 5 who punched their ticket to Carson a year ago decided to compete on a team, which opens up at least two spots.
Last year’s third-place finisher and six-time Games veteran Michele Letendre is now a member of Deka CrossFit, and fifth-place finisher Tasia Percevecz is now a member of CrossFit Free.
The men’s side is similar to the women’s side: everyone is fighting for second. The 2016 CrossFit Games champion Mathew Fraser won five of seven events at last year’s East Regional and he doesn’t show signs of slowing down.
Six-time Games veteran Spencer Hendel – who took fourth at last year’s East Regional – is on Team CrossFit Reebok One. It’s the first time the veteran will compete on a team.
The Barbell Spin ranked who we think will make it into the top 5 and earn a trip to Madison, Wisconsin. We also previewed the individuals competing at the South Regional and previewed the Team Competition as well.
Top 5 Men
1. Mathew Fraser
Fraser was compared to the Fittest Man in History, Rich Froning Jr. after his dominating performance at the 2016 CrossFit Games. He could have sat out the last event and still won. Even in events without a barbell, Fraser still obliterated the competition. Fraser will likely do the same with dumbbells and kettle bells during this Regional season.
2. Patrick Vellner
Games Director Dave Castro told Vellner it would be wise of him to withdraw from last year’s East Regional after he tore his bicep in Event 1. Vellner didn’t listen and ended up shaking Castro’s hand congratulating him at the 2016 Games when he finished third as a rookie. Vellner is clearly tough as nails and finished 11th in the worldwide Open. He and best friend and fellow Canadian, Brent Fikowski, will represent Canada well for years to come.
3. Albert-Dominic Larouche
Larouche finished just behind Fraser in multiple events a year ago, including his overall finish, taking second at last year’s East Regional. Larouche is as well rounded as any athlete and if Fraser weren’t on the floor he would’ve won his fourth straight Regional competition. There’s no reason to doubt that Larouche will adapt to the lack of barbells at this year’s competition.
4. Lucas Parker
Parker is much like Camille Leblanc-Bazinet. He’s won four of his last seven appearances at the Canada West and West Regionals. He’s competing in the East this year and even though it’s a difficult floor to compete on, there’s little doubt he won’t finish within the top 5 due to his past experience.
5. Cody Mooney
We originally had Alex Vigneault in 4th, but he partially tore his pec in training leading up to Regionals and he may or not be able to compete. Either way, the injury is serious enough that it sounds like he won’t be competitive.
To take Vigneault’s place, we see Misfit Athletics’ athlete Cody Mooney. Mooney was very close to making it to the CrossFit Games two years ago. After going team last year, Mooney is back as an individual athlete. And without a max lift event and more focus on conditioning and general fitness, Mooney fits the bill. Plus, fellow training partner Jordan Cook thinks Mooney has a great shot at qualifying.
Top 5 Women
1. Katrin Davidsdottir
Katrin is on a mission, and another baby step to complete that mission is to dominate the floor at Regionals this year just as she did a year ago on her way to her second straight CrossFit Games win, tying her fellow Icelandic queen Annie Thorisdottir. Davidsdottir, though, is trying to make history by becoming the Fittest Woman in History with a third-consecutive CrossFit Games win. The former gymnast and track athlete will have no issues with the movements at this year’s Regional.
2. Kari Pearce
Pierce burst onto the scene as a rookie a year ago when she took fifth in the world at the 2016 CrossFit Games. The former Michigan gymnast will excel in the gymnastic-heavy regional workouts this season, just as she did at the Regional level and Games level a year ago. She’ll give Katrin a run for her money to make a statement of her own, but it’ll be tough to dethrone the back-to-back fittest woman on earth.
3. Carol-Ann Reason-Thibault
Reason-Thibault has as good of a chance as any to dethrone Katrin in Albany this weekend, but I think Pearce will hold her off. Thibault is a naturally gifted athlete who finished 14th at the Games last year. Look for Thiabault to finish in the top 3 yet again.
4. Dani Horan
Horan just missed her chance last year when she finished sixth at the 2016 East Regional. Her worst finish in any event was 11th. As a former gymnast, the two-time Games veteran is hungry to return to the Games.
5. Chelsey Hughes
Some may not have heard of Chelsey Hughes, but she has been a Regional-level athlete for the past two years. Hughes finished 11th in 2015 and followed it up with an 8th place finish last year. Her worst finish last year was Regional Nate so we may find out very soon if the weight vest handstand push-ups are too much. But if Hughes can get past Event 1 in good shape watch out for her when the events requiring an engine start.