2022 CrossFit Semifinals Preview: CrossFit Atlas Games
The fourth and final week of Semifinals is here, and with it comes the fourth and final North American Semifinal – The Atlas Games, in Montreal, Canada. Although it’s considered a North American Semifinal, a majority of Canadian men, women, and teams who made this stage of the season have been seeded here.
- The only Canadian man not competing here is Brent Fikowski.
- Three Canadian women were at other Semis
- Sydney Michalyshen and Gabrielle Spenst (MACC)
- Emily Rolfe (Granite)
- Every Canadian team other than one was also sent to Atlas (Undefeated CrossFit competed in the Granite Games)
With nearly all of the high-level Canadian CrossFitters in this field, the question is: how many will qualify for the Games in each division?
When it comes to Shoo-Ins in the men’s field look no further than reigning second fittest man on Earth, Patrick Vellner. In a format like these he’s as consistent as they come. In the four years of this kind of format in which he’s made the Games his Regional/Semifinal finishes were 3rd/2nd/1st/1st; and his respective Games finishes in those years were 3rd/3rd/2nd/2nd. Expect Vellner to be leading the way here too.
Close behind him will likely be Jeffrey Adler. He was second to Vellner in semifinals last year, and has a good chance to repeat that this year. Adler is not necessarily flashy, but he’s tremendously efficient in the Semifinal format. He had four top five finishes out of six workouts last year, and while he was 50 points or so behind Vellner, he was also about 50 points clear of the rest of the field.
This category this year in this Semi is reserved for a couple of Alex’s. Both Alexandre Caron and Alex Vigneault stand out against the rest of this field as the next most likely to qualify for the Games.
Caron had a pair of impressive second place finishes last year: first he took second place in the Last Chance Qualifier to earn the final spot at the 2021 NOBULL CrossFIt Games. The LCQ fields are stacked, and regardless of the workouts, it’s very notable to take a top two in that competition. He ultimately took 24th at the Games and did not make the final cut down to 20, however, at Wodapalooza in the off-season he finished second (to Vellner) beating a dozen Games athletes to do so.
Vigneault seems to often fly under the radar, but he’s been performing at a high level for a long time and is a threat until we see him do otherwise. Vigneault placed 11th and 9th at the Games in 2015 and 2016, then last year he secured an 8th place- a career best finish. He was third at Semis last year, but for Vigneault the Semifinal finish isn’t too important, he just needs to get to the Games, that’s where he really shines.
While there are many athletes in this field who certainly have a chance to grab a Games spot, there are again two who stand out. Cedric Lapointe had a last place finish in the opening event of the West Coast Classic last year, he rallied with four top eight finishes including an event win and finished 8th. He’s definitely got the talent to make it happen, but he can’t afford a mistake like that this year.
The other is a young man named Jack Farlow, who we’ve featured as part of our young guns piece this season. He has experience in the teenage division from 2019 at the Games, and was 19th last year in the online Atlas Games. This year, however, he was 15th in North America in Quarterfinals. He’s part of this cohort alongside names like Pepper, and Sprague, and Greashaber, and Magda, who are making a push to unseat some of the old guard on the men’s in North America; this weekend will tell us a lot about whether that time has come yet for Farlow or not.
Dark Horse: Benoit Boulanger is coached by Caroline Lambray, (Adler’s coach). He was at Wodapalooza this year in a pretty stout elite men’s division. He did okay, finishing 22nd overall with a couple notable performances. He’s young and definitely has a lot of room for improvement, but it’s not unprecedented for athletes to struggle at Wodapalooza (Griffin Roelle and Kristine best were both 26th there before taking 7th and 8th respectively at the Syndicate Crown,); don’t be surprised if Boulanger shows up on the fringes of a LCQ spot throughout the weekend.
This women’s field really doesn’t have any athlete’s that can be considered shoo-ins for the Games. There are four women with Games experience, however, none of them have been very noteworthy in their appearances.
- Dani Horan has the most Games qualifications in the field with five, her last being in 2018 where she placed 33rd; and her best finishes being 18th in both 2013 and 2014.
- Carolyne Prevost has made the Games twice, placing 12th in 2019- the best finish of anyone on this list, but it came in a very strange year and she only did six workouts to earn that placement. Last year she placed 27th in a more traditional format.
- Caroline Conners also made the Games last year and took 33rd after earning the fifth and final qualifying spot from the Granite Games.
- Lastly, Erin Vandendriessche qualified for the Games in 2019 by winning the Italian Thowdown, she placed 50th that year and only got to do two workouts.
Games Expectations will be bestowed upon two young Canadians this weekend in Montreal. Emma Lawson is only 17 years old and has decided to forego her last year of teenage eligibility in an attempt to qualify as an individual this season. This seems to be as good of a draw for her to do so as she could have hoped for, as she is in fact among the competition favorites this weekend. She received an invite to compete in Dubai last December where she held her own against a fairly seasoned field and finished 9th overall.
Freya Moosbrugger also managed a top ten finish in a high level off season competition this year placing 10th at Wodapalooza. She had five finishes of 8th or better en route to that finish and backed that up with a 13th place finish in the North American Quarterfinals.
Bubble Athletes: This might just be the year for last year’s Demo team captain Alison Scudds. All the reports are that she’s never looked better in training, and you can be sure she knows there is a great opportunity this weekend for her. Some may not realize she placed ninth at the West Coast Classic last year, if she’s even fitter than that, against a less experienced field, there’s a really good chance for her to be back at the Games this year, only this time in the elite women’s field.
Dark Horse: Canadian, Mirakim Couvrette, has some Games experience with teams, and has finished as high as 17th worldwide in the Open (2017), and also placed 17th at Regionals that year. We haven’t seen much from her in the past couple years, but a 47th place finish in Quarterfinals isn’t too bad. This field is wide open, if a veteran like Horan is in the mix, why not Couvrette too?
There aren’t as many teams in this field that jump off the page as we’ve seen the last three weeks at North American Semifinals, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some talented teams here.
- The most recognizable team to most, is actually the fourth seed following Quarterfinals, and that’s Pro1 Montreal. However, this team was fifth at the CrossFit Games but will not be bringing back the same lineup: Chloe Gauvin-David and Frederic Dube are returning. This year they will be joined by Maude Riopel and Tristan LeClerc. Atlas Games will be our first chance to see if this team can repeat some of the impressive performances from last season when they had eight top seven finishes at the Games.
There are two other notable Canadian teams near the top of the seedings here, CrossFit PSC and CrossFit Le Repere Progfal.
- PSC features Nicholas Anapolsky who popped on the radar during the Open this year when he finished 15th worldwide. His wife Kaitlyn is also on this team, she was 67th in Quarterfinals last year, and 16th at the online Atlas Games. Being joined by Shawn Clark and Erica Folo, they aren’t necessarily the most recognizable team, but they definitely have some individual talent and are coming in as the top seed.
- Le Repere Progfal Stephane Cossette and Felix-Antoine Lemay as their male athletes. Cossette was 20th online for Atlas Games last year and has some prior team experience, Lemay is primarily a team athlete and will bring plenty of experience to this group along with Audrey-Ann Perry Dupuis, who has competed with him before. Their other female, Jessica Nadeau, has almost no experience in competition, her ability to keep up will be the critical factor in terms of how well this team can do in Montreal.
There are also two teams for the United States that feature a pretty strong composition of athletes and experience, CrossFit Omnia Black and CrossFit Milfrod Team Conquer.
- This exact Omnia team dominated at Granite Games last year beating second place Move Fast Lift Heavy by nearly 100 points. However, they then had an underwhelming performance at the Games finishing 16th, with only three top ten finishes, and got cut before the last two workouts.
- The Milford team is a name that has been in the Affiliate Game for a long time, they even took second place back in 2015 to the original Mayhem Freedom team. With all the changes in the team landscape over the last several years, the last time they were at the Games was 2017 when they finished 7th. This is a bit of different roster, but it’s a strong one. Tony Facchini, Devin O’Neil, Emma Ferreira, and Christine Middleton all have team experience in recent years. Although their Quarterfinal ranking wasn’t as good as some of the other teams in this preview, expect them to outperform that ranking at Semis.
|Atlas Men||Atlas Women||Atlas Teams|
|1||Patrick Vellner||1||Freya Moosbrugger||1||CrossFit Omnia Black|
|2||Jeffrey Adler||2||Emma Lawson||2||CrossFit Milford Team Conquer|
|3||Alexandre Caron||3||Carolyne Prevost||3||CrossFit Pro1 Montreal|
|4||Alex Vigneault||4||Caroline Conners||4||CrossFit PSC|
|5||Cedric Lapointe||5||Alison Scudds||5||CrossFit Le Repere Progfal|