How Much is a Top Seeding at Regionals Worth?

Rich Froning Handstand Walk at 2016 Central Regional
©2016 CrossFit Inc. Used with permission from CrossFit Inc.

There has been more emphasis placed on the Regional ranking, or seeding, this year compared to previous years. CrossFit, itself, has posted an athlete’s seed on social media recently as it highlights athletes. But does the seeding really matter?

The seeding is, of course, based on the athletes’ Open ranking and implies that those with a better seed are more likely to advance through to the CrossFit Games. To see if seeding has mattered we looked at the past two years’ worth of Regional data to see how many athletes in the final heat to start the Regionals end up in the top 5 and qualify for the Games.

Men Top 10 in Open to Advance to Games 
Region 2015 2016
Atlantic 4 4
California 4 5
Central 5 5
East 4 4
Meridian 4 1
Pacific 3 3
South 4 4
West 2 4
Total 30 30


Women Top 10 in Open to Advance to Games 
Region 2015 2016
Atlantic 4  5
California 4 5
Central 4 4
East 4 5
Meridian 5 3
Pacific 4 3
South 4 3
West 4 3
Total 33 31


With 40 men and 40 women qualifying for the CrossFit Games each year, over 75% of those qualifying for the Games come from the final heat of Event 1. This stat alone is not very surprising, but with so many athletes saying that just advancing to Regionals is what is important, being in the final heat may be just as important to reaching the ultimate goal each season.

While the heats for Regionals have not yet been released, athletes outside the top 5 in a region will likely not be in the final heat (that is, if only 10 are in the final heat*). Athletes like Anna Tunnicliffe, Aaron Hanna, Garret Fisher, Maddy Myers, Becca Voigt, Lucas Parker, Zeke Grove, Alethea Boon, Candice Wagner, Elijah Muhammad, Joseph Guesnier, Graham Holmberg and Cole Sager are probably going to not be in the final heat and will need to have a great Friday performance to get into the final heat on Saturday.

*Based on the information we have on Event 1, it appears that two athletes will share a lane in the Run, HSPU, CTB and air squat event. If that is the case, the top 20 athletes (10 from each region) could potentially be in the “final” heat. This will help those athletes who would have been in the next to last heat compete alongside the favorites and could open the door for more unlikely names to be in the final heat on Saturday.

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