The first weekend of Regional competition is in the books. Each year the field gets deeper. New names are trickling onto the leaderboard amongst the OGs of the sport. Athletes who have been to the Games year after year are being knocked out, which is heartbreaking, but also exciting, too. This is the evolution of CrossFit. As the sport grows, so do the athletes.
It was a tight race in all Regionals up through the final event of the weekend – a thruster legless rope climb sprint. We can only describe it as mass chaos. Those coveted five spots to the Games were determined in less than three minutes and if you blinked, you may have missed it.
So without further adieu, let’s recap!
In 2014, Lauren Fisher placed 9th at the CrossFit Games as a 20 year old rookie. Josh Bridges placed 4th that same year, just missing the podium. Last year was a different story; both Fisher and Bridges failed to qualify for the CrossFit Games. Fueled by their ambition and determination, they both took an early lead in the competition and came out victorious, both finishing the California Regional on top of the podium.
On the women’s side, long time veteran, Becca Voigt, has done what no woman or man has accomplished before: she has qualified for the Games for a ninth year in a row, placing second in the Region! Even at 35, competing against girls almost 20 years younger than her, she continues to show up, do the work, do it amazingly well and qualify for the CrossFit Games year after year.
Despite a 31st-place finish on Event 2, Alessandra Pichelli was able to make a comeback, placing first and second on Events 5 and 6, respectively. She ended up third overall, qualifying her for her fourth consecutive Games. Chyna Cho also locked in her third consecutive trip to the Games after an impressive win on Event 7. She also had five top eight finishes. Talk about consistency!
Last year’s California Regional champion, Brooke Ence and Kristine Andali were both favored to do very well, but neither will be competing in Carson in July. Andali just missed the CrossFit Games in 2014. In 2015, just weeks before the East regional she ruptured her achilles. After a long and strenuous recovery, it seemed that her hopes of competing at the CrossFit Games would become a reality, but during her first snatch at 175 in Event 1 she heard her shoulder pop and failed the lift. After the event was over, she was instructed by a medical professional that she should withdraw.
Despite being consistent all weekend with no major errors, Ence was edged out by Jamie Hagiya. After competing In her fourth Regional event, Hagiya has finally qualified for the Games, sealing the deal with an impressive second-place finish on Event 7.
On the men’s side, only 11 points separated second place and fifth place. Two rookie’s: Rasmus Wisbech Andersen and Christian Lucero, placed second and fourth, respectively. We also welcome back Lauren’s brother, Garret Fisher, who hasn’t been back to the Games since his rookie season in 2013 where he placed fifth and also Marcus Filly, who will be returning for his third CrossFit Games appearance.
For the first time in 6 years, Dan Bailey is on the outside looking in – missing the Games for the first time since 2010. He had his best finish last year at the Games placing 4th. He had hoped that this was the year he finally could stand atop the podium in Carson. We’re willing to bet we’ll see him there nonetheless, likely on the demo team.
- Lauren Fisher (563)
- Rebecca Voigt (542)
- Alessandra Pichelli (527)
- Chyna Cho (525)
- Jamie Hagiya (517)
- Josh Bridges (598)
- Rasmus Wisbech Andersen (551)
- Marcus Filly (549)
- Christian Lucero (548)
- Garret Fisher (540)
- Diablo CrossFit Anejo (822)
- CrossFit 808 (764)
- Invictus (755)
- Team CDR (728)
- CrossFit Davis (689)
On the Women’s side of things, the top four women set themselves apart from the rest of the field. By the final event, it was really a race for the fifth and final spot to Carson.
After placing third in the world-wide Open, it was no surprise that four-time Games athlete, Kara Webb, would dominate her Region. If anyone was a shoe-in to the Games it was her. She finished with an astounding four first place finishes with her worst performance being a fourth in the final event of the weekend.
Thirty points behind Webb, was Tia Clair-Toomey, who, in her rookie season last year, surprised herself and podiumed with a second place win at the Games. She’s not only a fierce CrossFit competitor, but she also has her sights set on competing on the Australian Olympic Weightlifting team for the Summer Olympics in Rio. This weekend she will lift in the Oceania Weightlifting Championship in Fiji, for the final qualifier. If she qualifies, she will be the first Games athlete to compete in the Olympics and the Games in the same year.
On the men’s side, five-time Games athlete, Rob Forte, reclaimed the top qualifying spot. While two-time Games competitor, Khan Porter, took third, but this wasn’t easy. By the end of day 2, Porter sat in sixth place, just outside of the qualifying bubble. He said that nothing had gone as planned – he was letting it get inside of his head. But by Sunday morning, he was able to refocus his energy and capitalize in a big way, placing third in Event 6 and then winning the final event.
What was really crazy was that 50 per cent of the individual qualifiers were rookies – Justine Beath and Madeline Sturt on the women’s side and James Newbury, Zeke Grove, and Mitchell Sinnamon on the men’s side. However, many of them were not new to competition. Beath and Sinnamon have both competed on teams at the CrossFit Games, while Newbury made his fifth Regional appearance.
The five women, men and teams that will represent Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands and Asia in the 2016 Reebok CrossFit Games are as follows:
- Kara Webb (665)
- Tia-Clair Toomey (635)
- Alethea Boon (604)
- Justine Beath (572)
- Madeline Sturt (453)
- Rob Forte (555)
- James Newbury (536)
- Khan Porter (533)
- Zeek Grove (526)
- Mitchell Sinnamon (523)
- Zaks Pack East Tamaki (820)
- Schwartzs CrossFit Melbourne (779)
- CrossFit Athletic (743)
- CrossFit Torian (706)
- CrossFit Loaded (686)
Camille Leblanc-Bazinet reigns supreme yet again. The 2014 CrossFit Games Champion is making another run to be crowned the Fittest Woman on Earth. With 4 top-two finishes she dominated the competition, solidifying her spot on top of the podium by 40 points!
Placing second was Whitney Cappellucci, who just missed the Games last year, placing 6th overall in the South Region. After five years of steady improvement and 6 top-ten finishes this year, she has finally earned her spot to compete alongside the best of the best in Carson. Like Cappellucci, Tennil Reed’s story tells the same tale. Year after year she has competed at Regionals, but never, up until now, earned a spot at the CrossFit Games.
Alexis Johnson had people buzzing about her before the weekend had even begun after her spectacular 9th place finish in the Worldwide Open. After winning Regional Nate and having four other top-ten finishes, she was able to maintain a spot in the top 5, finishing out the weekend in 3rd place.
Candice Wagner edged out Michaela North for the fifth and final spot; however, North was initially awarded 3rd place overall after she filed an appeal for a no-rep made during Event 7. The appeal was initially granted, then revoked after reviewing the CrossFit Games Rulebook and the event video. This will be Wagner’s third trip to the CrossFit Games as an Individual.
The men’s leaderboard at first glance looked a lot like it did back in 2015. Roy Gamboa and Travis Williams finished one and two for the second year in a row both cementing a spot to the Games. For the others who made up the top seven, it came down to the final event – a three minute battle for the podium.
In 2015, Logan Collins and Sean Sweeney just missed the Games, finishing 6th and 7th. Neither athlete would let that happen again. Collins finished with two 1st place finishes, one of which was in the final event. Sweeney started the weekend off a little slow, but he was able to really turn it on in the final four events, never finishing out of the top five.
Joseph Guesnier is also no stranger to Regional competition and third time’s the charm! With an Event 6 win, he was able to edge out Elijah Muhammed by 3 points, preventing Muhammed from back-to-back Games appearances.
The five women, men and teams that will represent California in the 2016 Reebok CrossFit Games are as follows:
- Camille Leblanc-Bazinet (581)
- Whitney Cappellucci (541)
- Alexis Johnson (508)
- Tennil Reed (503)
- Candice Wagner (496)
- Roy Gamboa (578)
- Travis Williams (536)
- Logan Collins (534)
- Sean Sweeney (529)
- Joseph Guesnier (516)
- #TeamDensity (758)
- Rockwell CrossFit (732)
- CrossFit Omnia (698)
- Pillar CrossFit (692)
- Backcountry Black (686)
Congratulations to all athletes who left their blood, sweat and tears out on the floor this weekend and especially those who punched their tickets to the 2016 Reebok CrossFit Games! Regardless of where you placed, you’re going home with calloused hands and a HUGE feeling of pride and accomplishment.