Regional Battles: Mathew Fraser, Patrick Vellner, Alex Vigneault and Lucas Parker

©2015 CrossFit Inc. Used with permission from CrossFit Inc.

Author’s note: This is the final installment of a three-part series. 

In the first installment, we took a look at reigning champion Katrin Davidsdottir versus last year’s fittest American, Kari Pearce. The second installment showcases two of the sport’s most popular athletes, Brooke Wells versus Sara Signmundsdottir.

We are a month away from seeing the fittest on Earth test their yearlong training in their respective region at the 2017 CrossFit Regionals. The athletes will head to one of eight regional events over three weekends for a chance to compete at the CrossFit Games in Madison, Wisconsin.

One thing is for sure: The regionals will be a little more competitive this year due several top athletes changing regions and other regions have athletes with a lot of experience.

The Barbell Spin is culminating this series with four athletes. Two of them stood on last year’s Games podium, while the other two are behemoths of strength.

EAST 

Athletes: Mathew Fraser, Patrick Vellner, Alex Vigneault and Lucas Parker

One of the names listed above came out of nowhere at the 2016 CrossFit Games.

Rookie Patrick Vellner impressed the CrossFit world when he finished every event inside the top 20, then stood on the podium alongside last year’s champion Mat Fraser and the 2015 Games champ, Ben Smith.

Vellner, a.k.a. the Ed Sheeran of CrossFit, is a full-time student and doesn’t train nearly as much as the athletes due to his busy school schedule. After his success last season, Vellner is training more this season and could give Fraser a run for his money at regionals.

Fraser was on a different level than the rest of his competition last season. To put his dominant performance into perspective, Fraser could have been a spectator in the last event and still won the Games. He is the Fittest Man on Earth and is training even harder to keep hold of that title.

Alex Vigneault is the hockey player turned CrossFit athlete who has been around for a little while but hadn’t made a splash until he finished 11th at the 2015 CrossFit Games and ninth worldwide last year with four top-10 event finishes. Vigneault is known for his insane strength. He took second in last year’s deadlift ladder with a 585-pound pull.

Lucas Parker: The mystery man with the lumberjack beard. Other than his interesting personality and childlike antics he’s one of the strongest CrossFit athletes out there. A six-time veteran, Parker’s best finish at the Games was 14th in 2015. We’ll be sure to see Parker testing Vellner, Vigneault and Fraser at regionals.

Vellner will be sure to make the CrossFit community watch how much he’s improved from last year as a rookie. Vigneault will likely impress us all with his brute strength. The ever-consistent Parker will poke some fun while dominating the floor. Fraser comes into this season looking to join Rich Froning Jr. as the back-to-back reigning Fittest Man on Earth.

These four will surely be a joy to watch.

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