The Atlantic Regional will be exciting in a couple different ways. For the men, it will be a battle among eight CrossFit Games veterans and a bunch of athletes looking to break their way into the top 5. On the women’s side, mainstays like Emily Bridgers and Anna Tobias (wait, who…you might know her as Anna Tunnicliffe, yeah she got married) are back, but with Christy Adkins and Alea Helmick going team there are spots open for newcomers.
We’ve already predicted who we think will make it out of the Meridian Regional and now it’s time to make our predictions in Atlanta.
1. Cassidy Lance-McWherter
Missing out on qualifying for the Games can fuel the fire to come back stronger the next year. We saw it last year with Josh Bridges and this year with Dani Horan. In our interview with Lance-McWherter before the Open, she indicated that she loved dumbbell training. It showed in the Open as she enters the Atlantic Regional as the #1 seed from the South East region.
2. Emily Bridgers
After Emily Bridgers breakout year in 2014 where she finished 6th at the CrossFit Games, the past two seasons have been a bit of a letdown. While her performance at regionals the has been great (two 1st place finishes), Bridgers placed 24th and 29th at the past two Games, respectively. We expect to see Bridgers have another good outing this weekend as she battles for the top spot, but think she may fall a little short to a very motived Lance-McWherter.
3. Anna Tobias (Tunnicliffe)
Yes, Anna Tunnicliffe got married during the offseason and has changed her name to Tobias. Tobias is one of the most consistent CrossFit athletes in the world, let alone in the Atlantic Regional. She’s been to the Games the past four seasons and we don’t see that changing this year based on the events.
4. Meg Reardon
Meg Reardon qualified for her first CrossFit Games last season after an amazing 1st place finish on the final event. Reardon has explosive power on the shorter events, but struggled on Regional Nate. While Event 1 this year does not have strict muscle-ups, it will be interesting to see if the strict handstand push-ups with a weight vest create the same issue this year. If it doesn’t expect to see Reardon in the hunt all weekend long.
5. Mekenzie Riley
Mekenzie Riley has competed at Regionals the past four seasons…on a team. Last year Riley and CrossFit OC3 qualified for the Games and taking 5th in Carson. This year Riley decided to go for it on her own and compete as an individual. Riley ended up winning the Mid-Atlantic region during the Open and enters with some big expectations for a rookie. Riley follows Misfit Athletics programming and we’ve seen their athletes have quite a bit of success the first two weekends. Because of this, we think Riley will be able to snag the final qualifying spot.
1. Noah Ohlsen
The Atlantic Regional has been dominated by Noah Ohlsen and Ben Smith the past two seasons. While Smith got the best of Ohlsen last year, Ohlsen’s speed and explosiveness combined with this year’s events make us believe that Ohlsen will have the advantage this year. Under the eye of Max El-Hag of Training Think Tank, it will be interesting to see how Ohlsen approaches the events this year.
2. Travis Mayer
Yes, we’re picking Travis Mayer to finish ahead of Ben Smith. These workouts just seem to suit Mayer and his skill set. Mayer’s worst finish at last year’s Regional? The snatch ladder. With no barbell in sight, advantage Mayer. Mayer looked strong in the Open. On top of that, in one of the CrossFit Games Behind the Scenes episodes this season it is revealed that Mayer did Karen unbroken…with a 30-pound wall ball. So on the long chipper this year we don’t think the 30-pound wall balls will be an issue.
3. Ben Smith
Remember back in the day when Ben Smith wouldn’t test the regional workouts before actual competition? That seems like such a long time ago, but it just speaks to the increased competition we have seen over the years. Smith has all of the tools to fight for the top spot, but without a barbell we think Smith might not do as well as we have historically seen in the past. But let’s be honest, 3rd place is still pretty good.
4. Jacob Anderson
Jacob Anderson was the last of the Anderson brothers to qualify for the CrossFit Games when he did it last year. With another year of training and likely some really good insight from his brother Alex, who already qualified out of the Central last weekend, Jacob should do really well this weekend. The lack of a heavy barbell is a little troubling though so keep an eye out for him early.
5. Gerald Sasser
Gerald Sasser has been close in previous years finishing 6th in 2015. Last year Sasser sat out the season due to an injury. He is back this year and started the season off strong by taking 2nd in the Mid-Atlantic region behind Ben Smith. Sasser is known as one of the better athletes with a heavy barbell, but he’s also never done so well in the Open where an engine is necessary. We expect the final spot to come down to a couple athletes and think Sasser will edge out enough points to make his first trip to the CrossFit Games.