In just two days the South Regional will kick off in San Antonio, Texas. With 50 men and 47 women competing, the stakes are higher than ever for these individual athletes vying for a spot at the 2017 CrossFit Games.
Last year’s South Regional champion on the women’s side and 2014 CrossFit Games Champion, Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, is set to defend her title and she’ll have a few veterans at her heels in all six events.
On the men’s side, last year’s South Regional champ Roy Gamboa recently retired from the sport of fitness this season, the field is wide open for multiple competitors hoping to punch their ticket to Madison, Wisconsin.
The Barbell Spin ranked who we think will make it into the top 5 and earn a trip to the Games. We also previewed the Team Competition at the South Regional.
Top 5 Men
1. Travis Williams
After placing second in last year’s South Regional behind Gamboa, the former fat kid is slated to find himself atop the podium in San Antonio, Texas. After finishing 19th at the 2016 Games as a rookie, Williams has a taste of the Games and wants more. Everyone knows he’s strong as an ox, but will the lack of barbells keep him from a first-place finish? I think not. Williams made a lot of adjustments in his training, nutrition and progressed in gymnastics movements in the last year. He’s coming into this season without being surprised by anything.
2. Logan Collins
Collins is the epitome of hard work. He’s one of the lighter athletes at just 5’7’’ 172 lbs., but makes up for his lack of size with his form and technique. He has consistently finished better in the last two regionals, finishing seventh in 2015 and third last year to qualify for his first trip to the CrossFit Games, of which he placed 31st at. He is currently ranked fifth in the south regional after placing 45th worldwide in the Open. In the 2016 Open, Collins finished 139th worldwide.
3. Sean Sweeney
The self-proclaimed “CrossFit Cowboy” from Nevada has been around the sport of fitness since 2014, competing on team CrossFit Forward in 2014, which placed sixth at the Games that year. After just missing the Games in 2015, Sweeney came back with a strong performance in last year’s South Regional with a fourth-place finish. He knows what it takes and is confident his training has helped him prep for regionals to earn a spot at the Games this year.
4. Marcelo Bruno
Bruno is the fittest man in all of Latin America, and will ultimately test his fitness this weekend. The reason he slid into the fourth spot and not the final spot is because of how well rounded he is. Bruno has a 638-pound deadlift, but has a 2:17 Fran and a 1:40 Grace. Clearly he’s worked to make his weaknesses his strengths when it comes to his aerobic capacity. The dumbbell weight will not give Bruno much of a problem and he’s likely to surprise many with his gymnastics, as he has experience with gymnastics since he was three.
5. Niklas Hecht
Who? Yeah, most don’t know of Hecht, but get used to seeing his name. He’s most certainly the dark horse of this ranking. Hecht finished 63rd in this year’s Open, each year making a steady climb. In 2014 he finished 1,594 worldwide, then 440th in 2015, and 314th last year. He qualified for Regionals last year, placing 27th, but has worked on his gymnastics, as he didn’t have a background in those movements. He’s on a mission to podium at regionals and make his first trip to the CrossFit Games.
Top 5 Women
1. Camille Leblanc-Bazinet
After the 2016 CrossFit Games, some in the CrossFit community were wondering if Leblanc-Bazinet was past her prime, but the 2014 CrossFit Games champion has done a lot in the offseason and CrossFit Open to show she is ready for 2017. Leblanc-Bazinet won the 2017 Wodalapooza individual competition and people who have seen her in person say she is looking like the 2014 version of Camille. She’s won five out of seven regional competitions, and the seven-year veteran will most likely push that number to six after this weekend. A lot of the events favor her gymnastics background, so look to see Leblanc-Bazinet setting the standard on the competition floor.
2. Margaux Alvarez
Alvarez has competed in three different regional competitions since 2012, but had never finished better than she did in 2015, placing second at the South Regional. Alvarez — much like Leblanc-Bazinet — has experience on her side, and the four-time Games qualifier vies to test Leblanc-Bazinet in all six events.
3. Alexis Johnson
Johnson is a three-time regional qualifier who made it to the Games as a rookie last year, placing 31st. The former gymnast and Misfit athlete is looking to podium again this year. She finished the 30th in the Open, which isn’t her best finish but she’s likely to test Alvarez and Leblanc-Bazinet for a spot on the podium.
4. Tennil Reed
Last year was Reed’s first taste at the CrossFit Games and she has shown no signs of stopping. She took fourth in last year’s South Regional, finishing only five points behind third-place finisher Alexis Johnson. Reed finished 11th in her first Games appearance, and after improving her Open finish from 160th in 2016 to 71st this year, she’s the No. 5 seed out of the South West looking to step foot on the competition floor in Madison, Wisconsin.
5. Brenda Castro
You know who she is now. After finishing only one rep behind Brooke Wells in the 17.4 Open Announcement in Mexico City, Mexico, Castro let everyone know she’s competing for a spot at the 2017 CrossFit Games. She finished the 2015 Open 96th worldwide, and improved that to 26th this year. The fittest woman in Latin American vies to represent her country well on the competition floor.