It’s a new regional this year. The California Regional has merged with the West Regional. This means that there are only five qualifying spots for the same regions that sent 10 last year. On top of that, in total there are 23 CrossFit Games veterans in the field. Twelve on the men’s side and 11 on the women’s.

This year’s West Regional also has some big names back in the competition (Christian Lucero and Brooke Ence) while others are out (Lauren Fisher moved to Meridian Regional and Sam Kwant is out due to injury).

Here are the CrossFit Games qualifiers from last year:

California (Men)
1. Josh Bridges
2. Garret Fisher
3. Jason Carroll
4. Julian Alcaraz (declined invite)
5. Jeff Patzer
6. Wesley Rethwill

West (Men)
1. Brent Fikowski
2. Sam Kwant
3. Cody Anderson
4. Cole Sager
5. George Sanchez

California (Women)
1. Chyna Cho
2. Kirsten Pedi
3. Alessandra Pichelli
4. Val Voboril
5. Lauren Fisher

West (Women)
1. Carleen Mathews
2. Regan Huckaby
3. Emily Abbott
4. Carly Fuhrer
5. Casey Campbell

Last month Josh Bridges took to Instagram saying he was going to skip the Masters’ Online Qualifier and compete only at regionals. Bridges finished in 24th in the West Coast Region during the Open, mostly in part to the 1RM Clean event.

Bridges will have to beat out some tough competition this year after cruising to victory(after Christian Lucero’s injury) in last year’s California Regional. The 2nd Fittest Man on Earth, Brent Fikowski, and Christian Lucero, who was in 1st place at the time of his injury, are in the mix for the top spot on the podium.

After that, Cole Sager, Garret Fisher and Ben Stoneberg are in the mix. Stoneberg is back after missing last season with an injury. But for these three Games veterans (and nine other Games veterans), there are likely only two remaining qualifying spots. [Yes, there are 12 CrossFit Games veterans competing in the West Regional.]

The Barbell Spin’s Predictions (Men)
1. Brent Fikowski
2. Christian Lucero
3. Garret Fisher
4. Josh Bridges
5. Cole Sager

Similar to the men’s competition, the women have 11 CrossFit Games veterans in the field. Unfortunately, there are only five qualifying spots along with a whole bunch of women who want to make their first appearance at the Games like Tia Wright, Meredith Root and Whitney Heuser.

This year Brooke Ence is back after surgery to repair herniated discs in her back. Ence has missed the Games the past two seasons and is looking to get back after an amazing 2015 season.

Ence will have to overtake the reigning California Regional winner, Chyna Cho. Cho changed up her programming last season by joining the Misfit Athletics team. The change appeared to fill in some of her weaknesses and made her a top contender last year.

Emily Abbott is one of those athletes who took advantage of the weaker field in the West and dominated the field up until last year where she struggled the first day at the West Regional. Abbott cannot afford to do the same this year.

Of all those looking to make their first appearance to the CrossFit Games, none have had as much heartbreak as Tia Wright. The past two seasons Wright has narrowly failed to qualify. A terrible Event 7 in 2015 (32nd place) dropped Wright from a qualifying spot down to 7th. Last year the same thing. Wright finished 28th on the final event, taking her from 3rd down to 6th.

The Barbell Spin’s Predictions (Women)
1. Chyna Cho
2. Brooke Ence
3. Carleen Mathews
4. Emily Abbott
5. Tia Wright