Breaking Down the South Regional

Camille Leblanc-Bazinet at 2015 CrossFit Games
©2015 CrossFit Inc. Used with permission from CrossFit Inc.

In 2015, Roy Gamboa, Travis Williams, Jordan Cook, Adrian Conway and Chad Cole advanced to the CrossFit Games on the men’s side. Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, Margaux Alvarez, Amanda Goodman, Jenn Jones and Maddy Myers made it on the women’s side.

In 2016, Chad Cole and Jenn Jones are out with an injury. Amanda Goodman did not compete in the Open and Maddy Myers moved to the SoCal region and elected to go Team. And Margaux Alvarez moved to the North West region. With fives athletes not returning (four on the women’s side), which new faces will make it to Carson.

Men

Travis Williams and Jordan Cook, both MisFit athletes, took the South regional by storm last year and finished with Travis Williams giving Jordan Cook the finger after edging him out on the last clean of Event 7. This year, Travis Williams will build off of last year and win the South regional. Other than a hiccup on the Row/CTB/Deficit HSPU Event 6, Williams showed that he can compete with anyone. His strength should give him an advantage on the snatch ladder, heavy deadlifts and the chipper.

Roy Gamboa will be one of the strongest (or the strongest) athletes at the South regional. He power snatched 270-pounds during the 1RM snatch event at last year’s regional. His raw strength will give him an advantage in the same events as Williams so it will come down to the strict muscle-ups and handstand push-ups and his engine on events 3 and 4. Gamboa will advance to the Games again this year, but may fall a couple points shy of Williams for the top of the podium.

Jordan Cook and his engine will figure out a way to get through the heavy events and will do well in events 3, 4 and 7. He might find himself having to work his way back to the top after Event 1, but after Day 1 he should be sitting close to the Top 5. If Cook is unable to excel in events 3 and 4 on Saturday, he might be on the outside looking in. However, he has been clutch the last two years at regionals so we don’t expect any hiccups.

A new year, a new region. This year Elijah Muhammad is calling the South regional his home. After three years in the South East, Muhammad will be competing in his third different regional location. After qualifying in the Atlantic regional last year alongside Ben Smith and Noah Ohlsen, Muhammad has what it takes to compete in Dallas this weekend. He has struggled the past two years with strict handstand push-ups so Event 2 could be an issue that he will have to contend with. However, he has a very good opportunity to win the snatch ladder and the final event of thrusters and legless rope climbs. Muhammad should be able to qualify, but don’t be surprised if it comes down to the final event on Sunday. Plus, a paddleboard won’t be anywhere in sight this weekend…

Sean Sweeney dominated the South West in the Open this year. Three 1st place finishes, a 2nd place and a 10th, Sweeney went head-to-head with Tommy Vinas all five weeks. With a stated 265-pound 1RM snatch and a 530-pound deadlift, Sweeney has what it takes on the strength events. His 6:38 Helen time shows he has the motor to go with the strength. He struggled on Tommy V and the deficient handstand push-up workout last year so it’s not a lock to break into the top 5. With that said, it appears that these workouts suit Sweeney a little better on paper than last year’s Games qualifier, Adrian Conway.

Final Predictions:
1. Travis Williams
2. Roy Gamboa
3. Jordan Cook
4. Elijah Muhammad
5. Sean Sweeney

Women

If there is one person who will remain constant in the South regional, it will be Camille Leblanc-Bazinet. This year’s regional programming fits perfectly with her combination of strength and gymnastic skills. I would expect to see Camille finish in the top 5 every event as she cruises to another CrossFit Games.

Mandy Janowitz made it to the CrossFit Games as an individual in 2014, but elected to go team last year with Ute CrossFit. Janowitz is back as an individual this year and will be competing for a spot on the podium. It’s unlikely that she will be able to unseat Camille at the top, but Janowitz’s experience should propel her to another Games appearance.

Alexis Johnson has made the Open look easy the past two years, but her dreams of qualifying for the Games last year evaporated after failing to successfully hit a 1RM snatch. Regardless of her 45th place finish in that event, Johnson still managed to finish 11th overall. While the snatch ladder and deadlift triplet may not be up her alley, she has proven she has a motor in the Open workouts and should be able to offset those two workouts during Regional Nate and Event 3 and 4.

Whitney Cappellucci finished in 6th place at last year’s regionals after Maddy Myers squeaked by during the final event. Cappellucci wouldn’t have even been in a position to be pushed out during the final event if she hadn’t taken 37th in the handstand walk event. Without the handstand walk being a huge element this year, Cappellucci will have an easier path to qualifying for the Games this year. With one of the biggest snatches, look for her to finish well on Friday and be positioned to hang on the rest of the weekend.

Tennil Reed had a strong Open performance albeit after incurring a penalty in Week 1 for using smaller diameter plates. Even with the penalty, Reed finished 4th in the South West region. After finishing 9th last year in the South regional, look for Reed to take advantage of a lesser experienced regional (compared to last year) and move up the leaderboard into the top 5.

Final Predictions:
1. Camille Leblanc-Bazinet
2. Mandy Janowitz
3. Alexis Johnson
4. Whitney Cappellucci
5. Tennil Reed

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