Welcome everyone to the Last Chance Saloon, a tempting Parisian tavern where weary travelers and thirsty fitness fanatics can take their best shot a claiming one last piece of glory and earn their place amongst the fittest on earth…..but seriously.
The CrossFit French Throwdown this weekend will play host to the Sanctional season’s finale as they have the distinction of handing out the final three invites to the 2019 CrossFit Games. It’s been a fairly grueling first year under the new system, but we’ll finally have a picture of what the CrossFit Games field will look like after the three days of competition in France.
With the CrossFit Games looming just five weeks away the one major storyline that matters is who will be the final additions to the CrossFit Games roster once the dust settles this weekend. Here are the major individuals and teams to watch along with an analysis of how things could play out.
Overview: The team competition has relied solely on the Sanctioned events to hand out spots to the Games, and there are a handful of quality teams left from the storied affiliates fighting for the final spot. Most intriguing is the question of how Mayhem Independence will bounce back after the loss of Elly Kaboord following her recent failed drug test.
Teams to watch: Mayhem Independence, Invictus Boston, Nova3 MisFits, Team CRSC sponsored by RX Smart Gear, and Team ROMWOD Meat Squad.
Prediction: Invictus Boston gets it done in an absolute dogfight after cuts for the TBD finale narrows things down to the top 5 teams. Their roster of Tola Morakinyo, Craig “Nation” Kenney, Meg Reardon, and Kelsey Kiel is easily the strongest in the field with a barbell. That should pay dividends in the home stretch in Event 6 and Event 8, where potential event wins could be a huge catapult towards closing strong to earn their invite. Mayhem Independence puts together a strong podium performance but doesn’t isn’t quite able to keep pace with Invictus Boston despite the addition of Carolyne Prevost.
Overview: The depth of the field feels very similar to Granite Games, where a few already qualified athletes are mixed in with several hopefulls. French National Champion Carole Castellani has already earned her spot to the Games along with Eik Gylfadottir, Emma Tall, Carrie Beamer, Jacqueline Dahlstrøm, and Alice Mille, so keep these women in mind as no threat to bring home the invite. Synne Krokstad also has an invite on the Barebells Prepared team from the Lowlands Throwdown.
Athletes to watch: Rebecca Vitteson, Mikaela Norman, Manon Angonese, Melissa Herman, Alison Scudds, and Amanda Goodman.
Prediction: The Swedish women contingent have been on fire in 2019, with five different women having qualified or received invites so far. With athletes like Vitteson and Norman in the field (along with Louise Wicktsrom, Angelica Bengtsson, and Anna Viggedal), chances are high there could be another added to the list. Ultimately though the nod goes to Manon Angonese or Melissa Herman, one of which will earn some much needed consolation after near misses in both the Open and Sanctionals. Angonese finished 4th in Italy, 2nd in the Netherlands, and was the 2nd fittest woman in Belgium in the Open. Herman had a spot from the Open, lost it due to a penalty, and then finished 4th at the MACC. There is a chance that both walk away with an invite this weekend though. If Invictus Boston wins, Meg Reardon could decline her individual invite from the MACC and Herman could get the backfill invite.
Overview: It is truly an international affair with 14 different countries being represented in the men’s field and the biggest names all have their spot to Madison locked in already. Willy Georges, Roman Khrennikov, Jonne Koski, and Elliot Simmonds, earned their spots long ago, but it should be fun to watch them battle it out for the top spot. Given that this competition is likely a Games simulation weekend for them, a top-4 finish given the depth of the field should be good enough to secure an invite to the Games to close the season.
Men to watch: Spencer Panchik, Lucas Parker, Mitchel Stevenson, and Cedric Lapointe.
Prediction: The men’s invite will come down to a two horse race between Spencer Panchik, and Mitchel Stevenson, who finished right next to each other at the Granite Games a few weeks ago in 8th and 9th respectively. Panchik has been slightly better when compared to Stevenson this year given that he beat him in the Open, and Granite Games. Add in a podium finish in Brazil and Spencer Panchik could follow in twin brother Saxon Panchik’s footsteps at Regionals last year and snag the last spot to the Games at the 11th hour to make the Panchiks the second brother trio* to all qualify for the CrossFit Games as individuals.
*Z.A. Anderson, Alex Anderson, and Jacob Anderson became the first trio when Jacob qualified in 2016.