Now that we’ve seen the regional events played out last weekend, we have a better idea of what we can expect from each event. There will still be some surprises with athletes bombing and some newcomers getting into the mix to keep things interesting this weekend.
Let’s take a look at the athletes we think will be advancing to the CrossFit Games out of the Atlantic regional.
Noah Ohlsen won the Open this year. He’s gotten stronger and better each year. While there are still a few holes that he needs to clean up at the Games, his ability to complete basic CrossFit workouts is top notch. There don’t appear to be any workouts where he has a glaring weakness. It will be interesting to see how he handles the 405-pound deadlifts after struggling with the 315-pound deadlifts in 2013. It may not be his best workout, but he will make up for it with an event win or two elsewhere.
Last year was the first year Ben Smith didn’t dominate at regionals. Notorious for not practicing the workouts in advance, Smith had a few finished lower than I’m sure he wanted as he finished 4th overall. Of course, he went on to with the CrossFit Games, which just shows how slim the margin of error is. If Smith doesn’t practice the workouts ahead of time, he will probably have a tough time beating Ohlsen. However, if he changes his gameplan and practices, the fight for 1st place could come down to the final legless rope climb.
Aaron Hanna surprised a lot of people at the Games last year. He won the 1RM Clean and Jerk event with a 350-pound effort and ended up in 12th overall. Murph was by far Hanna’s worst event, which nothing like that is at regionals. It may be tough to keep up with Ohlsen and Smith through the weekend, Hanna is likely to mix it up and give them a run for their money.
Jeff Evans didn’t qualify for regionals in 2015. He finished 35th in the South East region. Since that time, Evans has been working to improve his engine to keep up on the higher rep, longer workouts. That plan appears to have paid off as he finished in 24th and squeaked into regionals. The regionals, especially this year’s programming, suits Evans as we have seen stronger athletes do a little better than the engine-based athletes.
Travis Mayer qualified for the Games out of the South East in 2014, but last year the handstand walk for time event and the muscle-up/squat clean ladder proved too much for him. With the handstand walks not as important as in previous years and a different kind of strength ladder. Mayer is an all-around athlete who should do well in most events keeping him in the chase throughout the weekend.
1. Noah Ohlsen
2. Ben Smith
3. Aaron Hanna
4. Jeff Evans
5. Travis Mayer
Emily Bridgers had a lot of expectations coming into last year. She lived up to those expectations at regionals last year. After a “slow” start on Day 1, Bridgers finished the weekend with four 1st place finishes and a 4th place finish. Events 3 and 7 may be Bridgers’ worst placements during the weekend, but look for her to be in the top 5 the rest of the workouts.
Anna Tunnicliffe is kind of like the Val Voboril of the East. Tunnicliffe is usually overlooked when thinking about the top athletes in CrossFit. However, Tunnicliffe has been a mainstay at the Games the last three years and is always in the hunt at regionals. While she may not win a lot of events, she will be in the top 10 every event making her a solid pick at regionals.
Cassidy Lance qualified in 4th place at last year’s regionals with only one bad event, Tommy V. As one of the stronger CrossFit athletes, Lance should be well positioned to be near the top of the leaderboard all weekend long. She might be a little less consistent than Bridgers and Tunnicliffe, which hurts her chances of winning overall, but Lance should be right up there til the end.
It’s been a while since we saw Talayna Fortunato on the competition floor so she’s a bit of a wildcard this year. However, she’s shown that she has the grit to compete on the Games stage and wouldn’t count her out when she’s healthy. As a former gymnast, she should be good with the strict movements, but whether she can handle some of the heavier weights will be the only open question.
Christy Adkins finished 6th in the Atlantic regional last year after two devastating workouts on Satuday, the handstand walk and 1RM snatch event. Adkins was unable to rebound from those two events in a region with little margin for error. This year Samantha Briggs and Whitney Gelin are not at regionals. This should make the scoring a little more wide open this year allowing for a bad event or two.
1. Emily Bridgers
2. Anna Tunnicliffe
3. Cassidy Lance
4. Talayna Fortunato
5. Christy Adkins