Deepest Wodapalooza Men’s Field Ever? The Online Qualifier Seems to Indicate That
The individual qualification process for the 2022 version of Wodapalooza is wrapping-up as 34 separate divisions only await final video review before invitations are sent. Phase two, for teams, will happen in early November.
While Wodapalooza is still the biggest community festival in CrossFit, it’s also one of the most prestigious off-season competitions for elite athletes in the sport. Unlike both the Rogue Invitational and the Dubai CrossFit Championships, which are invite only this year, Wodapalooza has a hybrid field for their elite division that includes invite-only plus 20 earned spots. Taking a look at the leaderboard following the individual qualifiers, the men’s field, in particular, are quite impressive and we haven’t even seen the list of invited athletes yet.
Notable Men’s Qualifiers: While final results and invites are pending video review here is where things stand so far.
- Phil Toon (1st): 6th LCQ; 9th Atlas Games online Semifinal. Toon is a young and very strong upcoming athlete in the spot and this will be a great opportunity for us to see him compete in a live competition against a host of Games level athletes.
- Peter Mason (2nd): 11th West Coast Classic Semifinal; 27th at WZA in 2019. He’s 26 years old and is making a push to qualify for the Games as many of these guys are. 2022 WZA will be a chance for us to see where he’s at heading into the season.
- Dallin Pepper (3rd) and James Sprague (8th): This pair of under 20 years olds continues to make a push to be relevant amongst the elite men in the sport. Pepper was one execution error in a D-ball workout away from making it to the Games this year, while Sprague also had moments of brilliance at the West Coast Classic. They’ve been hard at work since missing the Games and it will be fun to see them in action once again come January.
- Reggie Fasa (4th): Fasa was the European champion coming out of quarterfinals before faltering in the Semis. He was at WZA last year where he racked up an event win en route to an 18th place finish.
- Anthony Davis (5th): Anyone who watched the Granite Games will know him from his insane snatch of 340 lbs. His strength is unquestioned, but it’s nice to see him do so well across the board on these qualifiers. If he has elevated his gymnastics and cardio even a little since last spring he could be dangerous in Miami.
- Fabian Beneito Seles (6th): Like Pepper, Beneito Seles missed the Games by one spot (and only 8 points) in the German Throwdown online Semifinal last season. He was 17th in Dubai in the last year of Sanctionals and will be there once again this year; meaning we could have two chances to see where the Spaniard is at in high level competition.
- Ricky Garard (7th): We will get to see Garard in Dubai prior to WZA, but many of the top names in the sport, including the entire top six from the Games this year, will not be there. It seems probable that at least some of those names will be on the yet-to-be-released invited athletes roster for WZA. Meaning if Garard competes in Miami it would likely be a better indicator as to where he is relative to the best in the world.
Other notable men in the top 20: Devin O’Neill, Scott Tetlow, Jorge Fernandez, Drew Wayman, Josh Woodhull, Kaique Cerveny, Jake Berman, Josh Gervais, Jeremy Vigneault.
One VERY big thing: This is only a portion of the field as there are still elite invite only spots available, which could include all 2021 Games athletes and former Games podium finishers.
- That list could include athletes like Justin Medeiros, Patrick Vellner, Saxon Panchik, Guilherme Malheiros, Noah Ohlsen, Travis Mayer, Jeff Adler, Jayson Hopper, Chandler Smith and whole bunch more.
Dark Horse Pick: There’s one other name on this list in Benoit Boulanger who finished 10th that might be worth paying attention to. He’s a 22 year old Canadian who is starting to make moves in the right direction. He was 16th last year in the RX division of WZA. He was 161st in the Open last season, and 151st in the Quarterfinals (coming up just short of the semifinal cutoff at 120). This will be an opportunity for him to line up in live competition against what it sure to be an extremely impressive field and test himself in a very competitive environment prior to the 2022 season.
The big picture: Keep in mind this is only 20 of the competitors that will be on the floor in Miami. Once again, Wodapalooza is deviating from Rogue and Dubai here. While those competitions will feature a smaller, select group of 20 men and 20 women, WZA could have up to 40. As we know from past studies the men’s field in particular is constantly rotating in new and relevant athletes, which makes a possible field of 40 very enticing for an elite level off-season competition like this. It’s refreshing to see so many intriguing athletes both participate and do well in this qualifier, once again upholding the narrative of how prestigious Wodapalooza is as both a competition and festival in the CrossFit space.