Breaking Down the Meridian Regional

It’s come down to this, the last weekend of Regionals. The athletes this weekend have had the most time to practice and have watched five regions battle through the seven workouts. There shouldn’t be any surprises at this point. It will come down to which athletes are the most fit, have the best strategy and can roll with the unexpected.

Here’s who we expect to see at the top of the leaderboard come Sunday afternoon.

Men

Bjorgvin Gudmundsson surprised everyone last year at the CrossFit Games when he finished Murph well ahead of everyone else and then stayed near the top of the leaderboard the rest of the weekend and ultimately making the podium in 3rd place. Gudmondsson is now on everyone’s radar this year. The regional programming this year has awarded the well-rounded athletes and Gudmondsson is one of those athletes. While his best event may not be the snatch ladder, he is strong enough to stay near the top and will destroy Event 5 and 6.

Jonne Koski has been to the CrossFit Games the last two years. In 2014, Koski finished 32nd at the Games. Last year, he broke into the top 10 with a 9th place finish. Expect Koski to battle Gudmondsson all weekend for the top of the leaderboard.

Steven Fawcett made it to the Games last year finishing in 26th place. Fawcett’s worst finishes last year were the 1RM snatch event and the final muscle-up/squat clean ladder. The Squat Clean Ladder and the heavy overhead squats pose some concern heading into the weekend, but he should be able to recover and offset those events with solid performances the rest of the weekend.

Frederik Aegidius is a CrossFit Games veteran and the coach of the NPGL’s New York Rhinos, but he might be more known as the boyfriend of Annie Thorisdottir these days. That might change this year as Aegidius looked really strong in the Open and will be in the hunt for a qualifying spot this year. He finished 8th in the Meridian regional last year after bad finishes in the handstand walk and 1RM snatch events. Avoiding those missteps this year will get Aegidius into the top 5 this year.

With Phil Hesketh out this year due to a broken metacarpal, a qualifying spot will likely open up to a newcomer. My prediction is that the top 3 will separate themselves from the pack leaving a handful of athletes vying for the final two qualifying spots. Andrey Ganin finished 74th in the 2014 Europe Open, but did not complete last year. He’s back this year finishing 2nd behind Gudmondsson. When comparing the Open workouts to Jason Smith, winner of the Africa Open, Ganin beath Smith four out of the five workouts.

Final Predictions:
1. Bjorgvin Gudmundsson
2. Jonne Koski
3. Steven Fawcett
4. Frederik Aegidius
5. Andrey Ganin

Women

The women’s competition looks a lot different than last year. Katrin Davidsdottir, winner of the 2015 CrossFit Games, moved to the United States and is competing in the East regional this weekend. However, Sam Briggs is back in Europe. Last year Briggs was living in Florida and competed in the Atlantic regional. The women’s side is stacked with great athletes so this will definitely be interesting.

Sam Briggs is a very raw athlete with an engine that is unmatched. Her technical side is a little lacking, but gets the job done. Outside of the first event, where Briggs may struggle relative to the other top athletes in this region, Briggs could win three or four events this weekend, possibly all three on Saturday.

Sara Sigmundsdottir almost became the Fittest Woman on Earth last year. After a strong Open performance (2nd behind Briggs), Sigmundsdottir looks poised to battle Briggs for the top spot and to repeat as the Meridian regional champion. Sigmundsdottir has struggled in the past with strict movements so Regional Nate may set her back too far to catch Briggs on a Saturday that favors Briggs’ engine.

Annie Thorisdottir always seems to be forgotten about when talking about the top athletes of the sport, yet she’s consistently staying at the top of the leaderboard. Thorisdottir has become a much more well-rounded athlete since she won back-to-back CrossFit Games titles in 2011 and 2012. Consistent top 5 performances this weekend will keep Annie in the mix, but with the regional scoring rewarding 1st place finishes it likely won’t be enough to keep pace with Briggs.

Kristin Holte is another athlete who has been overshadowed by the likes of Briggs, Sigmundsdottir and Thorisdottir. However, Holte has been to the CrossFit Games the past two years and only had one finish outside the top 10 at last year’s regionals. Holte is another well-rounded athlete out of Europe that will finish in the top 5 or 10 in almost every event.

Carmen Bosmans finished 6th in the Meridian regional last year. While there was a decent amount of separation of points between 5th and 6th, Bosmans will be looking to close the gap this year with Thuridur Helgadottir. Bosmans comes out of the Africa region, finishing 3rd in the Open behind Jamie Greene and Tamarind Robinson, both of which are going team with CrossFit Yas.

Final Prediction:
1. Sam Briggs
2. Sara Sigmundsdottir
3. Annie Thorisdottir
4. Kristin Holte
5. Carmen Bosmans

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