Breaking Down the Pacific Regional

In 2015, the Pacific regional was dominated by Australia as no athlete from the Asia region advanced to the CrossFit Games. Will we see that again in 2016? Let’s take a look.

Men

Michael Mogard and Eric Carmody are both CrossFit veterans. Mogard placed 46th in 2013 and Carmody finished 39th in 2014. Representing Asia, these two men most likely have the best chance to qualify for the Games in 2016. However, they will be facing some great athletes coming out of the Australia region. CrossFit Games veterans like Rob Forte, Khan Porter, Kevin Manuel, and Brandon Swan will make it tough for newer athletes to break into the top 5.

With Chad Mackay and Ben Garard not competing this year, two spots have opened up. Rob Forte has dominated the Australian/Pacific regional the past four years and there is no reason to think he won’t do so again. His worst events at the 2015 CrossFit Games were the Sprint Course 1 & 2, which aren’t really tested at regionals. At the 2015 Pacific Regional, Forte’s worst event was Event 7, the muscle-up squat clean ladder. Forte should do well in all of the events and secure a top 5 spot.

While Khan Porter made headlines dancing to Beyonce, Porter has made it to the CrossFit Games the last two seasons and is likely poised to do the same this year. His worst regional event last year was the handstand walk for time and Tommy V. Outside of those two events, Porter finished in the top 4 the remaining five events. Unless he is on the bubble heading into Event 7 this year, look for Porter to make it to the Games for the third consecutive year.

Kyle Frankenfeld has been closing in on his competition over the past couple years and it appears this is his year. Frankenfeld won the Open in the Australian region with three 1st place finishes and did no worse than 3rd in any event. He finished ahead of Rob Forte and Khan Porter. Frankenfeld might have made it to the CrossFit Games in 2015 without his 36th place finish in the 1RM snatch event. Frankenfeld lifted 206-pounds, well below that of the top contenders. He should be able to lift more than that this year as he posted a 264-pound snatch back in January, but whether he can complete the snatch ladder will be the question. If he struggles in the first event, he may have to battle his way back to the top.

With the exception of Event 5 in this year’s Open, Eric Carmody would have placed in the top 10 in each Open workout. He’s shown that he can compete with the elite at the CrossFit Games, Carmody should be in the mix at the Pacific Regional this year. Look for Carmody to consistently finish in the top 10 of each workout putting him in position to compete for one of the final spots to the Games.

After struggling at last year’s regional, Brandon Swan is looking for revenge. With the second best 1RM snatch at last year’s regional and taking 9th in the long chipper, Swan should have what it takes to excel several of the events this year. If he can avoid a collapse last year taking 36th in Event 7 and a few other mid-20’s finishes, Swan has what it takes to make it back to the Games this year.

Final Predictions:
1. Rob Forte
2. Khan Porter
3. Kyle Frankenfeld
4. Eric Carmody
5. Brandon Swan

Women

One name: Webb. Kara Webb has been the dominant force in Australia for the last four years and will continue again this year. Webb will come out strong with a win in the Snatch Ladder and a strong performance in Event 2, setting herself up for a great weekend. With the exception of Event 5 and the heavy deadlifts, Webb should cruise through regionals. Just keep an eye out Saturday afternoon to make sure Webb’s back holds up on the deads.

Tia-Clair Toomey surprised everyone finishing second at the 2015 CrossFit Games. After solid performances throughout the week, Toomey stood on the podium ahead of more familiar CrossFit names. However, this year Toomey will not surprise anyone. With expectations to return to the Games, she will have to continue her consistency. Should Webb slip up on Event 5, Toomey may be there to take advantage.

Alethea Boon finished ahead of Tia-Clair Toomey at last year’s regionals, but finished 20th at the CrossFit Games. With many calling the regional programming this year Games-level, I expect Boon to advance to the Games, but won’t finish as well as she did last year.

Ruth Anderson Horrell missed the 2015 CrossFit season due to a torn EPL tendon in her thumb. This year she’s back and will be back in contention for a ticket to Carson. With a year away from the sport, look for Horrell to be motivated to get back to the top. With the exception of a 25th place finish in Event 3 (bar muscle-ups and snatches), Horrell finished the other four events in the top 10 in Australia. Look for her to be mixing it up with Australia’s finest this weekend.

Justine Beath has been slowly creeping up the Australian/Pacific leaderboard over the past few years, narrowly missing qualifying for the Games each year. With all finishes in the top 9 in the Open, Beath appears ready to make the leap and grab that final qualifying spot this year. To do so, Beath will have to beat out CrossFit Games veteran, Sammy Wood. It could come down to Event 7 for Beath and Wood on Sunday.

Final Predictions:
1. Kara Webb
2. Tia-Clair Toomey
3. Alethea Boon
4. Ruth Anderson Horrell
5. Justine Beath

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