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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Regional Predictions Week 1: South and Atlantic Regionals

In each of the past four years, fans who've watched the CrossFit Games have seen some really cool stuff. At the Games, you get to see athletes put up some insane weights (377-lb. overhead squats, for instance), you get crazy-brutal events like a 2-hour triathlon or the burden run, and you get to see some events with excellent finishes (like Josh Bridges holding off Rich Froning in "Push Pull" last year).  But what you don't typically get is a lot of drama.  With the exception of last season's men's competition, the men's and women's titles have basically been decided by the time the last event rolled around, and even in that men's final last year, you never felt like Mat Fraser could really pull it off.  You have to go back to the 2010 men's final to really get a big shift at the end, and even that was weird because it was hard to tell that Graham Holmberg was actually going to catch Rich as you were watching.

No, the Games is not where you go for drama.  That would be Regionals.  If you've been to the event in person on a Sunday, the tension in the air is unavoidable.  Watch Sevan Matossian's documentary "Only Three" about last year's Central East Regional and you'll see what I mean.  For that reason, the Regionals have long been my favorite part of the season as a spectator.

For the third year, I'll be posting predictions for each athlete's chances of making it to the Games.  In the past, these predictions have been fairly well-calibrated, meaning that, for instance, athletes with a 50% chance of qualifying in my model do typically make it to the Games around 50% of the time.  That doesn't mean the model is perfect, of course.  If it were, I'd give a 100% chance to the 5 athletes who were going to make it.  But then again, no model is perfect, and if there were a perfect model, well, there'd be no drama.  So keep in mind these are all in good fun.

For more background on the model and how it works, listen to the CFG Analysis Podcast Episode 8 or read up here.  In theory, the model should be getting better each year as we get more data from past years to help calibrate it.

Before we get to the predictions, here are some general thoughts on this year's Regionals:
  • As far as loading goes, this year is roughly the average of the past four years.  The required weights in the metcons are lighter than last year, but there is more lifting overall (48% vs 37%).  Although the exact number depends on the numbers we see in the snatch event, the LBEL looks to be around 0.72, which is lower than 2012 (0.92) but higher than 2011 (0.68), 2013 (0.60) and 2014 (0.58).
  • Olympic lifting movements play a huge role, even more so than in the past.  Every single lift falls into the "Olympic-Style Barbell Lifts" category that I've defined, and even if you restrict that definition to only snatches, cleans and jerks, that's 36% of the points.  Thrusters, overhead squats and sumo deadlift high pulls make up another 12%.  Historically, this entire group of movements is worth about 33% of the points at Regionals.
  • Burpees are nowhere to be found for a second straight competition after appearing in every competition from 2008-2014.  Very curious on the reasoning from HQ here...
  • I like the move to the Games-style scoring system.  This won't punish a single poor performance quite as much (Sam Briggs would have made it to the Games last year under this system), and it rewards elite performances on certain events more so than the past Regional system.  More old school thoughts on the scoring system here.  If I had my druthers, this is the scoring system I think I'd go with.
OK, well let's get to the predictions.  The only manual adjustments I made this week were to bump up Camille's chances a bit (despite her being in the highest-rated cohort already) and to put Sam Briggs into a slightly higher cohort (equivalent to athletes finishing below 15th at the Games last year but top 40 at Regionals last year).  Enjoy the weekend everyone!


  1. What in the heck happened to Garret Fisher?? In 2012 he's 5th at the Games at only 22 years old and I'm thinking he's going to be serious contender for years to come and now he's missed the Games two years in a row and this year wasn't even a factor at Regionals finishing 10th. It even took top 10 finishes in the final 4 events including one win to climb up to 10th. I wonder if the competition level has really gotten that much better or if he's going backwards??

  2. I think it's a little of both, plus one terrible event. Im on my phone and so i haven't done the full analysis here, but it looks like he'd have been in 7th if you take out "Randy." Not sure why he did so poorly there, though.

    I do think that you have to be all-in with your training these days though. You can't just try to maintain your current level and hope to get by, the field is improving all the time. Not sure if that was part of it with Garrett or not.

    1. Yea you're probably right. A little bit of both. I'd love to hear how he thinks leaving Khalipa's gym has effected his overall performance.

      Also, heck a a weekend for Elijah Muhammmad and Whitney Gelin really came out of no where. I didn't see much of a history on her at Regionals, maybe she was a team athlete? Sucks that Lauren Brooks got hurt, she was one of my favorites on the women's side.