In the 2015 CrossFit season, Games Director Dave Castro has changed up the qualifying system throughout all regions. A lot of Australian/New Zealanders have been wondering whether their region would be split, as a result of the growing number of participants and high quality of athlete to miss national selection.
The surprise came with the announcement that the Aussies would instead be combined with the Asia region (which now also includes the Eastern half of Russia): meaning that in order to make room for the Asia sub-regions’ 10 qualifying spots, only 30 Australian/NZ athletes would qualify, as opposed to the previous combined number of 48.
The immediate reaction was that it would now be much harder to qualify for Regionals. However, the reality is that the athletes will now have an increased chance of making it into the Games. With 5 people qualifying through to the games this year (increasing from the 3 of previous years), the chances of making it to California all of a sudden double from 6% of athletes to 12.5%. As the fit get fitter, we wonder if the landscape will be much different at the top end, with 37.5% of athletes from last years regionals not making the cut under the new rules.
On the women’s side, 40% of competitors that placed 31st-48th in the Open finished inside the top 30 at Regionals, with 10% of those finishing in the top 10. Such names as Lindsay Vaughan, who placed 41st in the open, finished 10th at Regionals. While Stephanie Ortiz, who would have just missed out by placing 31st in the Open, finished 8th at Regionals.
On the men’s side, 25% of those who placed 31st-48th in the Open made the top 30 at Regionals, with 15% of those making the top 10. Ben Wadwell came from 45th in the open to finish 10th at Regionals. Three-time Crossfit games competitor Chris Hogan came from 34th in the open to finish 9th at Regionals. Then amazingly, Zeke Grove, who took the final spot of 50th in the Open, came within striking distance to finish 7th at Regionals, even taking a win in event 4.
The take away:
Every rep is going to count even more in this year’s Open. Take for example Chris Hogan whom I mentioned above. Although he finished 9th in Regionals last year, Chris would not even qualify this year with his numbers from the 2014 competition, as he was 44 points off a top 30 berth.
With the top 30 from Australia and top 10 from Asia making up the 40 competitors in the Australasian region, each heat should now be more hotly contested. The gap in ability of each athlete should be smaller, and there should be no smudging up of numbers, creating a better spectacle for the sport and pushing it closer to legitimacy as a world event.
Those wanting to make Regionals are now going to have to work harder and those who have been there before are going to have to keep pushing boundaries to hold their position. The numbers of those in the current elite category will have to advance, edging closer to that pipe dream athlete who snatches more than 120kg and runs a sub 20min 5km.
Compare The Pair
Below is a stats comparison between Elite CrossFitters and 2nd tier CrossFitters. This weeks athletes are Chad Mackay from CrossFit Active and PJ TeWhaite from CrossFit Calder.