We got a little caught up reporting on more pec injuries this morning and are just now getting to predicting who will qualify out of the West Regional being held in Portland, Oregon, this weekend. The West Regional feels like the forgotten regional in years past, but with Fikowski and Sager lining up the West will have some fireworks.
Plus, the last two years Cole Sager has pulled off a miracle and has jumped from outside the top 5 into a qualifying spot on the final workout. So while the names on the leaderboard might not all be household names like the Central Regional, the West will have plenty of excitement.
1. Brent Fikowski
After years of just narrowly missing out of the Games the three prior years, Fikowski finally broke through last year. Fikowski dominated the West Regional in 2016 and then went on to finish 4th at the CrossFit Games. Fikowski had another great Open performance this year and is the hands-down favorite in the West and we don’t see that changing on the final leaderboard.
2. Samuel Kwant
Samuel Kwant is only 21 years old, but after his performance at Regionals and the Games last year, Kwant is now on the radar. Kwant is great at barbell cycling as witnessed by his Double DT performance at the Games so it will be interesting to see if the lack of barbells this year hurts Kwant’s performance. Keep an eye out on him early to see if he has a good day one. If he does, watch out.
3. Cole Sager
Is this the year that Cole Sager doesn’t give us a heart attack going into the final event? Maybe, maybe not. But we think he will figure out a way to end up in 3rd place on Sunday evening. Sager is really good with odd objects and different types of workouts as seen by his 5th place finish at last year’s CrossFit Games. With events more similar to the Games, Sager should be good to go.
4. Joe Scali
Joe Scali made it to the CrossFit Games in 2015. He ended up hurting his shoulder during Heavy DT and had to withdraw. After battling injuries since then, Scali is back in 2017 and is looking strong. Scali’s worst performance in the Open was on 17.3 with the heavy snatches. Again, there’s no barbell so this could be what is needed for Scali to get back to the Games…and hopefully healthy.
5. Mitchel Stevenson
Mitchel Stevenson has been a regional athlete since 2015. Improving each year, Stevenson has continued that trend into 2017. Taking 2nd in the Open from the North West region, Stevenson was in the top 10 in each Open workout except 17.3. See the trend? No heavy barbell and these guys are those that could take advantage of this.
1. Carleen Mathews
Carleen Mathews is going to qualify. She just is. But this programming is also great for her. Look for Mathews to win Event 1. She took 3rd on Murph last year at the Games and she has a crazy engine. We don’t see Mathews finishing worse than 10th in any event, possibly event 5th. Look for a very strong performance from her all weekend long.
2. Emily Abbott
These events don’t particularly match Emily Abbott’s strengths. With that said, Abbott is three-time CrossFit Games veteran and will do what is needed to qualify this year. She looked really strong during the Open taking 1st in four of the five Open workouts in the Canada West region. We think she will, however, fall just short of the top of the podium.
3. Tia Wright
Tia Wright’s 2016 CrossFit Games season ended in heartbreak after a disastrous final event at the West Regional. Wright got time capped on the rope climb, thruster couplet dropping her to 32nd in the event and 7th overall. Wright is back this year and we believe that experience last year will fuel her in 2017.
4. Alex Parker
The heavy barbell and Regional Nate stopped Parker in her tracks last year. The 2015 CrossFit Games veteran wants to get back to the Games and we think this year’s programming is suited for her. She has historically done well on the longer workouts so watch out for her on Events 1 and 4 this weekend. She might need to stockpile a few points heading into Event 6, though, to fend off anyone trying to make a last minute charge.
5. Carly Fuhrer
Carly Fuhrer is another one of the athletes who was probably happy to see no barbells in the programming. Her worst finish in the Open was 17.3 and she showed consistency in the rest of the workouts. That consistency will be needed this weekend with only six events so we expect Fuhrer to have solid performances across the board and end up safely in 5th place.