CrossFit Games

Athletes and Teams to Watch this Weekend at the Granite Games and Lowlands Throwdown

May 29, 2019 by
Photo courtesy of Ben Smith.
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There are only nine remaining CrossFit Games spots left to be determined, and six of them will be up for grabs this weekend at the Granite Games and CrossFit Lowlands Throwdown.

Time is running out if you’re an athlete still hoping to snag a spot, and the “who’s in and who’s out,” scenarios have been seemingly endless so far, but there are still some big names left without a ticket to Madison.

To help you navigate this weekend’s action here are some of the athletes and teams to keep your eye on who are still in the hunt for their place at the 2019 CrossFit Games.

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Women to Watch

Granite Games: Rebecca Voigt Miller, Ehea Schuerch, Melissa Herman, Alison Scudds, Taylor Williamson and Andrea Nisler.

There are a ton of storylines to chew on at Granite, but none more significant than Rebecca Voigt Miller.

Voigt Miller is looking to qualify for her record-setting 11th CrossFit Games as an individual. An injury hindered her early season prep and Open performance, but now that she’s healthy she could make history in Minnesota. This will also be her first Sanctional competing in the elite division.

  • Schuerch finished 12th at Wodapalooza but has been relatively quiet since then, choosing only to do the Open where she placed 88th.
  • Herman earned a spot in the Open, then lost it after a penalty in 19.3 knocked her out of contention. She could potentially get a backfill spot from the MACC, and also has a chance to earn one outright at Granite Games.
  • Scudds is coming off a top five finish in Brazil in what was her first sanctional.
  • Williamson and Nisler are fresh off helping CrossFit OC3 win and earn a spot in the team competition at the Rogue Invitational, the teammates are competing as individuals and have the potential to shake things up despite having their team spot locked up.

Lowlands Throwdown: Filippa Ferm, Emelye Dwyer and Manon Angonese.

Worth noting: There isn’t a single individual games athlete in the women’s field at the Lowlands, which means a new face will be entering the CrossFit Games field once things play out.

  • Ferm is an exciting young athlete out of Sweden who, at 19-years-old, has already been to the Games three times as a teenager and once on team CrossFit Fabriken last year.
  • Both Dwyer (U.K.) and Angonese (Belgium) were national champion runner-ups, both missing the Games by one spot. Angonese finished 12th at the 2018 Europe Regional, recently finished fourth at the Italian Showdown and now has a great opportunity to seize a Games ticket in the Netherlands.

Men to Watch

Granite Games: Ben Smith, Saxon and Spencer Panchik, Paul Tremblay, Colten Mertens and Luke Schafer.

Similar to Voigt-Miller on the women’s side, Ben Smith will also be looking for his 11th trip to the CrossFit Games. If he does get it, he’ll have the sole distinction of his being consecutive. Smith had some tough sledding at Rogue but he’s still getting his competition legs back after knee surgery earlier this year.

  • The Panchik twins both podiumed in Brazil but it was Saxon that missed earning an invite by just six points, not to mention being just one spot away from qualifying in the Open as well.
  • Mertens and Schafer are intriguing dark horses, both competed at Rogue, with Mertens finishing a respectable 11th in a loaded individual field, and Schafer helping CrossFit OC3 to a team win.
  • Paul Tremblay, Canada’s Minister of Full Send. Tremblay is always good for an event win or two, and his ability to hit the send button and snag 100 points should keep him in the mix. Tremblay finished fourth overall last month at the Reykjavik CrossFit Championship.

Lowlands: John Coltey, Jake Berman, Viktor Langsved and Zack George.

Coltey is the only individual Games athlete in the field, and after a 7th place finish in Iceland is looking at a great opportunity to snag a Games invite from a largely inexperienced men’s field.

  • Berman recently competed at the Rogue Invitational, but will have a much easier time fighting for a spot than he did against the deepest talent pool yet at Rogue.
  • Langsved and George are both Regionals caliber athletes but given who they’re up against, could be a surprise story similar to Bronislaw Olenkowicz at Strength in Depth. Langsved finished right behind Lukas Hogberg in the national championship race for Sweden, and if it weren’t for a poor finish in 19.3, George would have been in the running for the top spot in the U.K.

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Granite Games: Invictus X, CrossFit 417 and OPT Brutes.

The Invictus X redemption tour makes another stop in Minnesota, after the team failed to earn an invite down in Brazil. They’ve made significant changes to their roster this time around by adding two individual Games athletes in Kristi Eramo and Margaux Alvarez to help give them a boost.

Pay attention: If Invictus X earn an invite with this roster, at least one of the two has to compete with the team at the Games due to teams only being allowed one female alternate.

  • Invictus X will have to go through Travis Williams, Roy Gaboa, Jenn Smith and Alexis Johnson, the powerhouse team who probably already has an invite via Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge. Consider this more of an insurance policy while they’re waiting for the final results of Chantelle Loehner’s drug test.
  • CrossFit 417 is another perennial top-ten team at the Games that’s still looking for a spot back to Madison, and after finishing 5th at Rogue a couple weeks ago they should give Invictus a run for their money.
  • The OPT Brutes are a bit of a wild card, with a trio of Games athletes coming together for the first time to compete as a unit. Power couple Meredith Root and Alex Parker are teaming up with 2018 individual Ethan Helbig and newcomer Zach Watts. Watts is coming of a 7th place finish in Brazil and the big question is how quickly they’ll be able to mesh to compete with teams like 417 and Invictus who have extensive experience together.

Lowlands: CrossFit Mayhem Independence, Mayhem Europe and Barbells Prepared.

Two Mayhem teams enter, only one leaves with an invite….maybe. The creation of the Mayhem Europe team — which includes siblings Laura and Kristoff Horvath —  is an exciting development for fans at the Lowlands, who will get to see the second fittest woman on earth compete on a team for the first time.

  • It’s less exciting for the Mayhem Independence team that is starting to run out of time to try and snag a spot to the Games just one year after finishing 4th in Madison. Independence has come up short in a handful of Sanctionals this season and, looking at the field, this weekend at the Lowlands is by far their best shot.
  • A team that might be flying under the radar at the moment is the Barbells Prepared team out of CrossFit Alioth in Dubai. The team includes 2015 Individual Games athlete Phil Hesketh and powerhouse Mia Akerlund — who has already earned an individual invite to the 2019 Games. Alexander Elebro, who has been to the Games twice on CrossFit Sport’s affiliate cup team, adds some team experience to help round out the bunch.

Mark Your Calendar: Action for the Granite Games kicks off Thursday, May 30 at 9:15 AM CDT (GMT -5), and will span four days of competition in St. Cloud, MN. The Lowlands Throwdown will run three days of competition in Apeldoorn, Netherlands starting Friday, May 31 at 9:00 AM CEST (GMT +2).

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