So Dan Bailey is returning to the Ohio and the Central East region. It is great news for CrossFit Games fans, but there are some athletes in the Central Regional that may not like a 5-time CrossFit Games veteran coming back to their regional.

Bailey competed out of the Central East regional from 2011 to 2013 making it to the CrossFit Games each time. In 2011, Bailey won the worldwide Open. In 2014, Bailey moved to Southern California and continued his run at the Games with an appearance in 2014 and 2015. Bailey finished in the top 10 each of his five visits with his best finish being 4th place in 2015.

All of that momentum came to a halt when Bailey failed to qualify out of the California Regional in 2016. Even though Bailey never finished outside of the top 10 in any of the seven events at regionals, he finished 7th in an ultra-competitive regional.

Bailey had commented after the 2015 season that he had contemplated calling it a career, but his 4th place finish fueled the fire to give it another shot in 2016. But the disappointing regional finish left doubt whether we would see Bailey on the competition floor again.

In October, a person attending the Good Dudes seminar mentioned in a vlog that Dan Bailey had until the end of the month to decide if he was going to join Rich Froning’s Mayhem Freedom team. There was never any news following that vlog and those questions died down.

Now, after Sherwood let the cat out of the bag that Bailey is training for 2017 AND that he will be competing out of the Central Regional, things have gotten much more interesting for those competing for one of the five qualifying spots.

The Central Regional leaderboard looked like this in 2015.
1. Scott Panchik – 582 pts
2. Jacob Heppner – 566 pts
3. Alex Anderson – 540 pts
4. Zak Carchedi – 512 pts
5. Sam Dancer – 478 pts
6. Will Moorad – 473 pts
7. Kevin Schuetz – 465 pts

Bailey competed the first weekend in the California Regional while the Central East was two weeks later so it is hard to compare the scores and they generally improved from week to week. However, putting Bailey’s times up against the Central Regional field, they would have been good for 11th place overall.

Bailey’s best finish against the Central field was Event 5, the triplet of TrueForm running, GHD Sit-ups and Deadlifts. His time would have been good for 5th.

The comparison of his times to the Central Regional aren’t to say that Bailey would not have made it out of the Central Regional last year. Instead, it shows that moving from the California Regional to the Central Regional will not give Bailey any advantage or greater chance to advance to the CrossFit Games.

Both California and Central regionals are stacked, especially with the “super” regional format that was put into place in 2015. There is not an easy path to make it to the Games anymore. Regardless of where an athletes takes the 3,2,1… it will require a great performance throughout the weekend.

Bailey’s move will just make the Central regional just a bit more crowded near the top of the leaderboard. We are less than three months away from the start of the 2017 season. We have already seen Jordan Cook move to Maine and the North East region. So the question is…who will be next to change regions?