With Joe Scali and Kevin Simons out this year and Ben Stoneberg in, the West regional is going to look a little different. Some familiar names will still be at the top of the leaderboard, but expect to see some new faces challenging the veterans.
On the women’s side, four of the five women that qualified last year are back (Jessica Core is pregnant), but one notable CrossFit Games veteran has joined the North West region, Margaux Alvarez.
In a region that doesn’t usually get as much coverage as it deserves, let’s take a look at who we think will advance to the Games this year.
Cole Sager pulled off the unbelievable last year in the final event at regionals. Don’t expect the same to be true this year. The programming looks to be right up Sager’s alley. Outside of event 3, Sager should have the ability to pull away from the field with consistent strong performances.
Tyson Takasaki has been to regionals four out of the last five years (he missed qualifying in 2012). Takasaki always seems to work his way up the leaderboard quietly by the end of the weekend. He doesn’t win very many events but hangs in the top 10 to take advantage of other athletes’ inconsistencies. He is one of the stronger athletes in the West region, which should be beneficial with this year’s programming.
Lucas Parker is probably one of the most well-known CrossFit athletes, thanks to his lumberjack beard. It doesn’t hurt that he makes it to the Games every year. With a work ethic that is second to none, Parker will be competitive again this year. There are a couple events that might give him some trouble, but he should be fighting for one of the top spots heading into the final event.
Ben Stoneberg is back this year. Stoneberg finished 9th at the 2014 CrossFit Games before injuring himself right before regionals last year. Stoneberg is strong and sneaky good at workouts you wouldn’t expect him to do well. It will be interesting to see how he bounces back from a year off.
Will this be the year that Brent Fikowski finally makes it to the CrossFit Games? Two years in a row Fikowski entered the last event in a qualifying spot only to watch it disappear after a disappointing performance. Fikowski’s engine is one of the best, but has he gotten strong enough to handle the heaviest events? Keep an eye out on the snatch ladder, deadlift triplet and the overhead squat chipper. If he can minimize damage on those events, Fikowski will be on his way to Carson.
1. Cole Sager
2. Tyson Takasaki
3. Lucas Parker
4. Ben Stoneberg
5. Brent Fikowski
A new region, the same result. Margaux Alvarez has changed regions again, this time to the North West. Alvarez, a multi-year Games veteran, will enter this new region and take no prisoners. With less depth than some other regions, Alvarez could finish in the top 5 in every workout cruising to a qualifying spot and a trip to Carson.
Emily Abbott had a breakout year in 2015. Abbott finished in 8th place at the CrossFit Games and competed on Team Canada at the CrossFit Invitational. Abbott won the West regional this year and will be fighting for the top spot again, but might fall a bit short with the addition of Alvarez.
Alex Parker qualified for the Games last year after narrowly missing the Games in 2014. With the added experience from last year, Parker will be ready for regionals again this year. Parker won two Open events in Canada West this year and could win one or two at regionals.
Whitney Darchuk struggled on Randy and the long chipper last year. With no events really that similar this year, Darchuk might be able to finally crack the top 5. If she can clean up a few weak areas this weekend and avoid a disastrous event, she will definitely be in the mix come Sunday afternoon.
Courtney Walker is another athlete who is in a different region this year. Walker competed in the California regional last year taking 9th place. In 2014, Walked finished 5th in the Northern California regional when there were only three qualifying spots. Walker’s weakness has historically been the longer endurance-based workouts. This year’s programming doesn’t have the long grueling workout which should help Walker’s cause.
1. Margaux Alvarez
2. Emily Abbott
3. Alex Parker
4. Whitney Darchuk
5. Courtney Walker