Quarterfinals Preview: Europe
The Quarterfinals, which are the newest part of the CrossFit Games season, are upon us this week. We want to preview each of the Continents and provide some insight into what to expect. The number of athletes who have qualified for Quarterfinals is vast, particularly in certain regions, but the number of athletes who have a good chance to advance to the Semifinals is far fewer.
Today’s focus is on Europe where there are 2,344 women and 3,594 men who are eligible to compete in the Quarterfinals. From this large group of athletes, only 60 women and 60 men will be eligible to qualify for the two European Semifinals this spring. That means that after whittling the continent down to the top ten percent through the Open, this weekend is going to significantly narrow the focus: only 2.5% of the remaining women and 1.7% of the remaining men in Europe will make it through to the next stage.
In trying to identify who these top 60 might be, it’s easiest to break it down into a few distinct categories. The athletes listed in all five of these groups (for both men and women) found themselves inside the top 60 after the close of the Open.
The battle-tested: There are a slew of perennial Games athletes on the front page of the Open leaderboard who are expected to be there after the Quarterfinals as well: Katrin Davidsdottir, Kristin Holte, Thuri Helgadottir, Sam Briggs, and Annie Thorisdottir highlight this group.
Newer athletes verging on elite:Behind that group is another contingent of athletes, who may not have the number of Games appearances, but likely will soon: Emma McQuaid, Gabriela Migala, Karin Freyova, Laura Horvath, and Camilla Salomonsson Hellman are amongst this grouping.
National champs from Sanctional seasons: This group of athletes either has Games experience, or would have if not for COVID in 2020, and have therefore become slightly recognizable names recently: Manon Angonese (Belgium), Sara Alicia Fernandez Costas (Spain), Emilia Leppnanen (Finland), and Nienke van Overbeld (the Netherlands) fall into this category.
Sanctional participants: These are athletes with Sanctional experience from the last two years, though they haven’t had particularly notable performances at them: Sarah Massoni (currently 11th amongst European women), Antea Longo (12th), Martina Krysiak (31st), and Lidia Bartozzewicz (41st).
Relative unknowns: This group has no Regional or Sanctional experience, but did very well in this year’s Open, and some of them have done well in past Opens too, which could potentially bode well for them since the Quarterfinals is also an online competition: Maria Langfors (currently 16th amongst European women), Lucy Campbell (29th), Tatiana Membre (30th), and Chiara Salandra (44th) are a few of the higher placing names in this category.
The battle-tested: Just like with the women, there are several recognizable male Games athletes on the front page of the Open leaderboard who are expected to be there after the Quarterfinals as well: Jonne Koski, Elliot Simmonds, Frederik Aegidius, and Bjorgvin Karl Gudmundsson highlight this group.
Newer athletes verging on elite: On the men’s side we have a rather large contingent of athletes who may not have the number of Games appearances, but likely will soon. Some of them we have covered in the build up to the Open and they certainly did not disappoint: Giorgos Karavis, Alex Kotoulas, Lazar Dukic, Andre Houdet, Bronislaw Olenkowicz, Sam Stewart, and Haraldur Holgersson being among those.
National champs from Sanctional seasons: This group of athletes either has Games experience, or would have if not for COVID in 2020, and have therefore become slightly recognizable names recently: Fabian Beneito (Spain), Uldis Upenieks (Latvia), Joshua Wichtrup (Germany), and Piotr Szczyciński (Poland) are amongst the most notable in this group.
Sanctional participants: These are athletes with Sanctional experience from the last two years, though they haven’t had particularly notable performances at them: Lukas Grouleff (currently 10th among European men), Reggie Fasa (11th), Lucas Heuze (12th), Victor Ljungdal (19th), and Fellaneau Romain (24th) head this group of men.
Relative unknowns: This group has no Regional or Sanctional experience, but did do very well in this year’s Open, and some of them have done well in past Opens too, which could potentially bode well for them since the Quarterfinals is also an online competition: Oleg Lascenko (currently 1st amongst European men), Guillaume Brillant (13th), Felix Rehder (23rd), and Daniel Camacho (26th) are the highest ranking following the Open.
Outside the Top 60:
The thing to remember about this year’s Open is that it absolutely does not matter at all for Quarterfinals. And certainly there are some names outside the Open’s top 60 who are legitimate contenders to qualify for the Semifinals.
Women: Sabrina Caron (62nd), Julia Hougard (63rd), Lisa Ebla (72nd), Solveig Sigurdardottir (84th), Sanna Venäläinen (97th), Synne Krokstad (110th), Andrea Solberg (124th), and Eik Gylfadottir (232nd).
Men: Kristof Horvath (65th), Jamie Headon (68th), Adrian Mundwiler (83rd), Nicolay Billaudel (85th), PD Savage (94th), Klaus Uggerhoj (110th), Michael Smith (132nd), Jak Cornthwaite (175th), Linus Bresander (295th), and Lukas Hogberg (340th).
The bottom line: With such a large contingency of athletes competing, it’s almost a guarantee that there are going to benew faces and new names cracking the top 60 in Europe on both the men’s and women’s leaderboards. However, for the most part, we can expect a lot of household names and familiar faces to dominate the leaderboards in Europe once the Quarterfinals are said and done.