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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Regional Predictions Week 2: California, Pacific and East Regionals

One week is in the books, and things went pretty well from a prediction standpoint and a viewing standpoint.  Before we get to predictions for week 2, here are some thoughts on what we've seen so far:
  • From a viewing standpoint, I thought the events improved throughout the weekend.  "Randy" wasn't bad, but to me, any workout with just a single movement just isn't quite as fun.  "Tommy V" was simply too many rope climbs to really be a great spectator event.  The long chipper on Saturday was pretty entertaining once the run ended (Emily Bridgers and Anna Tunnicliffe had a nice battle in the Atlantic).  The handstand walk followed by the snatch was OK, but nothing great.  But Sunday was good for some high drama.  The handstand push-ups on event 6 really caused some serious shifts in the leaderboard and it gave us some good battles, like Camille vs. Natalie Newhart in the South.  Event 7, while in my opinion not quite as good of an event as last year's pull-up/OHS workout, provided some great theatrics.  The men's final in the Atlantic was the only event that I had to watch live, and I (along with with plenty of others it seemed) was rooting for Elijah Muhammad to finally get his trip to the Games.  His comeback on that event was exactly the type of drama the sport needs.
  • In the past couple weeks, I complained a bit about the fact that only two attempts were given for the max snatch, but my reasoning was that it left athletes vulnerable to being penalized significantly for a single mistake.  But watching the event, I also felt like having only two attempts made for an awkward viewing experience.  I think we're trained to expect three attempts on something like this, and it felt odd that the event was over after only two tries.  It just moved too quickly, in my opinion.  If there were three attempts, I think you'd get more athletes really pushing the envelope on that third try, but generally we got some pretty safe lifts for most athletes.
  • Speaking of the snatch, for men, the average load lifted was 236 lbs. in the Atlantic and 226 lbs. in the South, and that includes 2 lifters in each region who had no good lifts (those counted as 0 lbs.).  For women, the average were 151 lbs. in the Atlantic and 144 lbs. in the South, including 1 athlete in the Atlantic and 3 athletes in the South who had no good lifts.  By comparison, the averages on the hang snatch event last year were 224 lbs. for men and 137 lbs. for women.  Remember, those fields included about twice as many athletes, so you'd expect the loads not to be quite as high, not to mention the fact that the lift was required to be from the hang and power snatches were not allowed.  I think it's safe to say athletes were not as close to their maxes this year.
  • The predictions were generally pretty decent in week 1.  The only major surprise qualifier was Whitney Gelin from the Atlantic, who I had pegged with a 1% chance.  Otherwise, every other qualifier had at least a 13% chance of qualifying.  Of the 9 athletes I predicted with greater than a 50% chance, 7 qualified.  After the regionals are over, I'll update the calibration plot that I showed last week.
  • For this week's predictions, the only significant manual adjustments I made were to boost Mat Fraser's chances a bit (not quite the same amount as I boosted Camille's last week, but close) and to boost Kara Webb's chances (I treated her as if she was a top 15 Games finisher).

One final note: I'm planning to record a podcast this weekend with John Nail.  We'll be doing the podcast after the Memorial Day "Murph" workout at my old gym, and we'll be chatting about regionals, my (still unfinished) road back to being a full-fledged CrossFit athlete again, whether Hamm's is truly the best cheap beer available and other subjects of vital importance.

And finally, predictions are below.  Enjoy week 2 of Regionals, everyone!

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