Written by Brian Friend
The new team format continues to provide compelling rosters of recognizable, established athletes and teams. With only 14 total invitations available for teams this year, and winning a Sanctioned event as the only route to the Games, there’s no margin for error left for several teams who had previously been comfortable in the qualifying process. There is not a single team in this field who has already qualified; it’s winner take all for the teams in Paris.
There are 2 teams in France this weekend that have team members who were in the top 10 at last years Games in Mayhem Independence (4th place) and Invictus Boston (9th place). Both teams have made multiple attempts to qualify already this season and have repeatedly come up short.
But by no means are those the only competitive teams in the field. In fact, here are five other teams who will have a legitimate chance to compete for the podium at the French Throwdown this weekend.
OnPoint Athletics (Bartek Lipka, Bronislaw Olenkowicz, Gabi Migala, Daria Twardowska)
This is a stacked Polish team, but it features three athletes who have already qualified for the Games. What that means is, even if they earn the invite, they will likely decline it UNLESS either Lipka or Olenkowicz decide to turn down their individual invite.
Compex UK (Zack George, Will Kane, Tayla Howe, Aneta Tucker)
Many of the athletes on this team had aspirations of qualifying as an individual at various sanctioned events this season. Having not been able to do so, they’ve teamed up and will make one final attempt to get to Madison, only this time on the team side of things for this British quartet.
Nova3 Misfits (Austin Spencer, Caroline Connors, Paige Semenza, Mitch Barnard)
Semenza recently earned an invite as an individual at the Brazil CrossFit Championships. It appears she is teaming up with friends and fellow MisFit athletes in an effort to get them to the Games as well. Spencer, Connors, and Barnard have a combined 10 Regionals appearances, but have never made the Games.
RomWod Meat Squad (Brooke Haas, Kelly Baker, Dex Hopkins, Christian Harris)
Baker, Hopkins, and Harris have all been at the CrossFit Games before as members of a team. Brooke Haas is a multiple year Regional athlete and has been top 25 in the Open for three consecutive years (including this year, meaning she’s already qualified for the Games as an individual). It’s a very experienced team that will know how to handle a competitive environment well.
CRSC (Wes Piatt, Connor Schmitz, Natalie Talbert, Kelly Clark)
This exact team placed second at the Brazil CrossFit Championship behind Pro1. They come from the part of California where CrossFit originated, Wes Piatt made the Games as an individual in 2013, but in large part their success in Brazil was surprising. It will be interesting to see if they can replicate that performance in France.
In a field of only 20 teams, there are at least 8 with a legitimate competitive chance to take the invitation coming out of Paris this weekend. But, there can only be one, which means the team competition will be fierce and intense from beginning to end.
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