The CrossFit Regionals are done and dusted for another year.
In 2015 we saw some big changes to the format with 17 events reduced to just eight, which took place over three weeks, instead of four like we had last year.
The changes were a big success for spectators with the quality of competition at the regional events increasing and the pressure of qualifying for the CrossFit Games felt more than ever before.
Over the past three weeks we saw some quality competition take place across the world, with many memorable highlights. Here is a look at 11 highlights we think stood out above the rest during the 2015 CrossFit Regionals:
11. Athletes Getting Behind Each Other
The 2015 Regional events were brutal.
Every single one saw athletes suffer and push to their absolute limit and when that happened, the true spirit of CrossFit was on display for the world to see.
Whether it was athletes struggling to get up the rope in Tommy V or unable to get the last lift on the clean ladder, every other athlete that was out on the floor crowded around and cheered them home.
There aren’t many sports where competitors are desperate to see each other succeed and it’s amazing that no matter how big CrossFit gets, the heart and soul is still there.
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10. China Cho – Tommy V
Tommy V was a stumbling block for a number of athletes with a number of DNFs on both the male and female leaderboards across all regions.
However the vicious combination of thrusters and rope climbs wasn’t an issue for California Regional and CrossFit Games veteran Chyna Cho.
Cho was the only woman across the board to be able to go sub-eight-minutes on the event and her time of 7 minutes and 56 seconds was good enough to mix it with the men.
9. Kristen Holte – The Chipper
Going into the final weekend of the Regional, just six women and three men had been able to complete Event 3, The Chipper, and none of them had done it easily. But at the Meridian Regional on the final weekend, Kristen Holte completed it comfortably.
She finished the event with more than two minutes to spare and almost a minute in front of her nearest challenger Sara Sigmundsdottir and the only man or woman in the world able to go sub-24 minutes.
Holte will be the only non-Icelandic woman to represent the Meridian Regional at the CrossFit Games this year.
8. Becca Voigt – Eight straight
Rebecca Voigt has been there since the beginning. There are plenty of pictures and videos of her throwing down at Castro’s Ranch back before the Games made it’s debut and the then called Home Depot Center.
In California, arguably one of the most competitive regions due to five Games tickets instead of six, Voigt has shown why she’s still one of the most respected names in the sport.
The veteran excelled in two of the toughest events of the competition, Event 3 The Chipper and Event 6’s five rounds of rowing, chest-to-bar pull-ups and deficit handstand push-ups, to beat out a host of hungry rookies and finish in fifth place, earning the final qualifying spot for the Games in 2015.
7. CrossFit’s ‘New Blood’
A number of CrossFit Games veterans have missed qualification for the 2015 event, including Josh Bridges, Christy Adkins and Valerie Voboril. While this may have broken a few fans’ hearts, it has made way for a truckload of fresh blood.
A number of exciting faces have burst onto the scene, including Sara Sigmundsdottir. The Meridian Regional champion’s scores, when plugged in by the CrossFit Games Update Show, were good enough to give her first place in every region except the South, where Camille Leblanc-Bazinet reigns as queen.
The 2015 Games should see a number of fresh faces challenge for the top 10 spots in Carson.
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6. Josh Bridges Fails to Qualify
With NorCal and SoCal combined into the California Regional for 2015 and one less qualifying position up for grabs, fans were on tenterhooks to see who would miss out. But no one expected it to be CrossFit Games veteran and fan-favourite Josh Bridges who has stood on the podium in Carson, Calif.
A 25th place finish on Event 1, Randy, and a 20th on the handstand walk meant he was competing for the bottom two qualifying positions. And it wasn’t enough. Games rookies Julian Alcaraz and Chad Melton claimed fourth and fifth place, both on 496 points, 15 points above Bridges.
Things don’t always go as planned, but as long as you learn and grow then you are better for it. I am no where near finished…this is not the end of my road! I can’t put into words how much I appreciate everyone that has reached out to me. It means so much to have all of your support through my journey. I have some very big “thank yous” to come. First to the person who helps keep my body and mind in the right place, I wouldn’t be where I am if it was for Heidi Barker @aculove! You not only keep my body ready to go but you always put my mind at peace. Thank you! To all my friends, family and loved ones you guys mean everything to me, I wouldn’t be who I am if it wasn’t for you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. To my agent Jason @jsaint03 thank you brother for being a friend and someone who lets me just deal with training and not the other side of the sport. You always have my back and I will always have yours. To all my sponsors that support me on my journey. I can’t thank each and everyone of you. To have a company believe in you and invest in you as an athlete is such an honor for me. Thank you all so very much! @roguefitness @niketraining @killcliff @xendurance @compexusa @rehband @petespaleo @rxsmartgear @perfectbar
5. Jonne Koski – King of the Meridian
Koski made a splash at the 2014 CrossFit Games, literally, in Event 1 The Beach and in 2015 he’s clearly on a mission to prove he deserves to mix it with the best of the best.
The 20-year-old is the prodigy of CrossFit legend Mikko Salo and the work ethic and dedication of the veteran is already well and truly present in Koski. He dominated the Meridian Regional with four first place finishes and just one finish outside the top five all weekend. All eyes will be on the young champ come July to see if his Regional form translates to CrossFit Games success.
4. The Battle for the West
Going into the final event, just 30 points separated the top eight men in the West Regional. With just five positions up for grabs and four of the eight previous Games athletes, the competition was one of the closest in CrossFit Regional history.
CrossFit Games veteran and king of Canada West Lucas Parker took the crown with second place on the event and 2014 17th place finisher at the Games Cole Sager claimed second with first place in the event. Brent Fikowski looked certain to qualify after five top ten finishes, including first on Event 3, The Chipper, but the final day pulled him undone.
He finished 20th on Event 6’s five rounds of rowing, chest-to-bar pull-ups and strict handstand-pull-ups and 14th on Event 7 to end the weekend just two points away from fifth place and a ticket to the Games. Remarkably, just 27 points separated first and seventh place by the end of the weekend.
3. Sam Briggs – Randy
After the reigning Fittest Woman on Earth failed to qualify for the CrossFit Games in 2014, many people expected her to be a force to be reckoned with in 2015.
In a new region, Briggs stepped onto the floor in the Atlantic with something to prove and after Randy’s 75 snatches she left no doubt that she was a woman on a mission. Briggs annihilated the event unbroken in 2 minutes and 28 seconds – almost 20 seconds faster than second placed Cassidy Lance. Briggs went on to finish second in the region earning another ticket to the CrossFit Games.
“With my back up against the wall sitting in 10th place overall. My mindset going into this last event wasn’t to qualify for the @crossfitgames it was to set an event record & secure 100 points to finish off my weekend. All I could do was control my own effort, it was all about execution & not making any mistakes.” —@bennygarard, #GamesBound Ben Garard set the Event 7 record, and vaulted himself from 10th to the fifth and final qualifying spot at the Pacific Regional.
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2. Ben Garard – The Amazing Comeback
After just one event at the 2015 Pacific Regional, Ben Garard’s 2015 Games campaign appeared over. A premature sprint to the finish in ‘Randy’ left him with a 27th place finish, and after a poor showing in Event 2, he was on the wrong end of the leaderboard at the end of Day 1. However, a comeback of epic proportions saw him work himself into, statistically, a qualifying position with one event to go.
A ticket to the Games, however, was still very unlikely. The crowd at the WIN Entertainment Center was on its feet as Garard completed the 15 muscle-ups and five clean ladder in record time. However, Garard needed more than just a record to qualify. He needed the athletes above him to finish a lot lower on the leaderboard.
Remarkably, they did. While his time of 1 minute and 17.9 seconds has since been beaten by Shane McBride’s 1 minute and 17.7 seconds in the Central Regional, Garard’s phenomenal effort earned him a standing ovation and the respect of every spectator in the stand. Oh, and also a ticket to the 2015 CrossFit Games!
1. Julie Foucher – The Moon Boot
Julie Foucher showed the kind of courage most of us can only imagine when she returned to the floor at the Central Regional for Event 4 in a moon boot. The fan favourite suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in Event 3’s Chipper, but Foucher didn’t let that stop her enjoying what is most likely to be her last competitive CrossFit season before she focuses on her medical career.
In fact, she came damn close to qualifying for the CrossFit Games despite being hampered by an injury of that severity. Foucher finished the weekend in eighth place, just 25 points from the top five and a ticket to the Games. Foucher embodied everything about the spirit of CrossFit in her demeanor and her performance.