CrossFit Games

Convoluted Quarterfinals-to-Semifinals Path Complicates Potential for Backfill Invitations

April 17, 2022 by
Photo Credit: CrossFit Games
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Included in CrossFit’s Email of the Day for April 15 is an article that details Important Dates for the CrossFit Games Season

This is excellent and definitely something athletes, coaches, managers, media, and fans want and should have. 

One thing that jumps out though is the timeline for athletes who have to choose among registering between multiple divisions in the period from Quarterfinals to Semifinals; specifically in cases when an athlete has qualified as both an individual and in their age group. Let’s take a look. 

Remind Me: This year athletes who qualify for multiple Semifinal stages are only permitted to participate in one of those (Individual, Team, or Age Group). This means that following Quarterfinals they have to make that decision. However, because those three Quarterfinal stages take place on three different weekends that span just over a month, and as invitations for Individual Semifinals have been sent out, Age Group athletes were left unsure of what to do. 

Many of them reached out to CrossFit and received communication in response suggesting that they can accept and register for their individual Semifinal and then after the Age Group Quarterfinals they can choose to revoke that in lieu of an Age Group Semifinal.

  • Jenn Ryan, a Masters athlete that qualified for Individual Semifinals: “I reached out to CrossFit Games support and Kurtis Bowler the day we received the email invites to confirm the situation.”
  • She explained: “After the age group quarterfinals, once we receive (if/when) our semifinals invites, we can then rescind the Granite Games or whichever Semifinal we accepted for. I don’t know the timeline bc we weren’t told that. It’s kinda tight for sure. I would assume they’ll backfill at that point.”

Though this allows the affected age group athletes more time to make their decision, a closer look at the timeline provided by CrossFit presents a new challenge.

Potential Timeline of Events: 

  • April 13 CrossFit Individual Semifinal Registrations Due
  • April 21-23 Age Group Quarterfinals
  • May 6 Age Group Quarterfinals Leaderboard Finalized
  • May 10 Age Group Semifinal Registration Opens
  • May 20 Week 1 of Individual Semifinals Begins
  • May 23 Age Group Semifinals Registration Ends
  • May 27 Week 2 of Individual Semifinals Begins
  • May 26-29 Age Group Semifinals (14-17; 35-49)
  • June 2-5 Age Group Semifinals (50-65+)

The middle portion of the above schedule exposes a potential conflict due to how late the registration window for Age Group Semifinalists begins and ends relative to the first couple weeks of Individual Semifinals. While we don’t know for sure what the backfill process is, if there is intent to round out the finals to 30 for Individual Semifinals, the timeline to do so is extremely narrow for backfill athletes and the semifinal event teams hosting them.

May 2022 Semifinal Dates for Age Group and Individual Athletes

Who are the Age Group athletes that have qualified and accepted invitations to Individual Semifinals?

There are a total of 18 masters athletes, and 1 teenage athlete, who meet these criteria, here they are broken down by week, age, Semifinal, and Open placement.

Week 1 (May 20-22) Masters Athletes:

  • Joelenne Neville, 36 years old (Torian Pro), 79th in the Open
  • Carrie Freestone, 39 years old (Torian Pro), 131st in the Open

Week 2 (May 27-29) Masters Athletes:

  • Hayley Murillo, 35 years old (MACC), 28th in the Open. 
  • Kelly Clark, 35 years old (MACC), 28th in the Open.
  • Jason Smith, 38 years old (Cape Town), 23rd in the Open.
  • Mary Jamieson, 39 years old (Cape Town), 196th in the Open.
  • Tammy Taylor, 38 years old, (Cape Town), 505th in the Open.

Week 3 (June 3-5) Masters Athletes:

  • Ram Dover, 35 years old (Far East), 32nd in the Open.
  • Anatolii Borisenko, 35 years old (Far East), 259th in the Open.
  • Dema Zebdieh, 36 years old (Far East), 72nd in the Open.
  • Maryam Zanbagh, 38 years old (Far East), 37th in the Open.
  • Hajer Jamal, 35 years old (Far East), 125th in the Open.
  • Yuko Sakuyama, 35 years old (Far East), 9th in the Open.
  • Rebecca Voigt Miller, 41 years old (Granite Games), 7th in the Open.
  • Jenn Ryan, 42 years old (Granite Games), 2nd in the Open.

Week 4 (June 10-12) Masters/Teen Athletes:

  • Michelle Palmer, 37 years old (Atlas Games), 25th in the Open.
  • Emma Lawson, 17 years old (Atlas Games), 1st in the Open.
  • Ioannis Papadopoulos, 35 years old (Strength in Depth), 9th in the Open.
  • Andreia Pinheiro, 39 years old (Copa Sur), 169th in the Open.

Of these 19 Age Group athletes, 11 of them finished in the top 40 of their division in the Open. Only the top 30 athletes from each age group division will advance to the Age Group Semifinals, so there’s a real possibility that many of these athletes do in fact qualify for the next round of competition. And if they do, what then?

Why it matters: To qualify for the Individual Semifinal round as an age group athlete is incredibly impressive, and giving athletes the opportunity to qualify for both divisions is not particularly problematic in itself. However, the logistics involved in allowing athletes to register in more than one Semifinal are very important, and the implications of those deadlines have a ripple effect beyond just the age group athletes making the decision. Whether it’s the event teams trying to plan for a specific number of and names of athletes, or the backfill athletes and their support teams that are sitting in qualification-limbo until potentially receiving a last-minute invitation to Semifinals, the number of people affected is not small.

The big picture: The CrossFit community has voiced frustration over a number of issues already this year, between the invalid Quarterfinals scores, unchanged Semifinal payouts, unannounced rulebook changes, and international travel challenges; confusion over Semifinals registration can now be added to that list. For now, we can only hope there will be improvements as the field narrows, and to the competitive season as a whole in 2023.

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