Assessing the Depth of Field: North American West Men

April 11, 202410 min read

This is the third week of a three-part series leading up to the Individual Quarterfinals for 2024, a stage of the season which is getting a lot of attention as being one of the most critical stages of competition when it comes to the programming and administration of it in the history of the sport. While it isn’t a live competition, and there is no money at all on the line, the opportunity to advance to a Semifinal in Europe and North America is extremely limited despite an incredible depth of talent in those competitive regions. 

Each week we’ve chosen one of the fields in Europe, then North America East, and lastly North America West. This week, we’re looking at the men’s field out West to get an idea of the depth out there and what it could mean for Quarters. 

Last Years Games Athletes

Last year through the World Wide Ranking and D’Hondt distribution method for strength of field the men in the NA West field were awarded 9 total qualifying spots to the CrossFit Games. We know Chandler Smith is competing on a team this year with CrossFit Invictus leaving at least one open spot, which is important because this is a very difficult group to aim to be breaking into. 

2023 SFs2023 Qualifiers2023 QFs (NA West)2024 Open (NA West)
1Patrick Vellner22
2Brent Fikowski719
3Samuel Kwant1514
4Cole Greashaber34
5Justin Medeiros16
6Chandler Smith1116
7Nick Mathew413
8Colten Mertens163
9Cole Sager910

Every man on the above list has multiple individual CrossFit Games qualifications. None of them were surprises to qualify for the Games last year. And all of them have proven track records of fitness that are intact to suggest that it will take a special performance from the chase pack to unseat one or more of them. 

In the Hunt

Let’s take a look at a group of 12 men in the West region who have proven to be legitimate threats to upset some of the men who seem to have a pretty firm grasp on the spot out West. While spots out West are likely to be even rarer than they will be for men in Europe and NA East, the value of a clean execution in every workout in this Semi is quite high.

Athlete2023 SFs2023 QFs (NA West)2024 Open (NA West)
James Sprague11 NA East*9 NA East5
Brandon Luckett1st team2nd team1
Luis Oscar Mora11812
Bill Leahy IVWD3121
John Wood121748
Maximilian Krieg153440
Scott Tetlow1668
Chris Ibarra172151
Daniel Kuc222965
Will Bennett232422
Travon Benton242720
Tudor Magda2514291
  • James Sprague is the only man on this list who did qualify for the Games last year. 
  • Tudor Magda made the Games the year prior, and certainly cannot be taken lightly. 
  • Bill Leahy is a hot name in analyst circles who has been touted as a candidate for breakout athlete of the year, even nabbing the final spot in the latest Barbell Spin Top-25 Media Poll despite not having much of a competition resume. 
  • Brandon Luckett comes into Quarters as the top seeded man out West following the Open, and boasts three individual and one team CrossFit Games qualification in his career already. 
  • Luis Oscar Mora was two spots out of Games spot last year and all signs are that his fitness has caught up to his strength, making him an extremely intriguing candidate for a breakthrough year himself. 

Rounding out the Field?

This next group is a list of men who have distinguished themselves to the point of being serious contenders for qualifying to the NA West semis. It’s a list of 20, who could in theory “round out” the field of men in the West: 

Athlete2023 SFs2023 QFs (NA West)2024 Open (NA West)
Adam McAdams332523
Anthonee Yim475029
Arturo Torres463950
Brian Huynh31207
Drake Lewis301963
Isaac Farias514238
Isaiah Vidal184544
Jacob Marlow2735115
Jacob Schmidt3rd teamteam47
Jeremiah Bailey343761
Joel Laney482669
Justin Dewing284993
Justin Rhodes1422122
Lalo Torres8th teamDNC17
Leonel FrancoWD3657
Logan Ewing4133164
Matt Brady2961189
Rafael Sancen263246
Sam Dancer4th 35-391st 35-3936
Ty JenkinsDNQ8470

In several cases, the margins between putting someone in this group, as opposed to the previous one, were very small. In general, this is where the depth seems to be for the men of the West, that 15-50 range seems very volatile. 

This year, the ability to qualify for a Semi is a huge accomplishment. But for this particular region, it feels like even a majority of the men who make it to Carson, won’t really be in the hunt for a Games spot. Nevertheless, they will want to qualify, and to do so, they’ll have to ward off yet another group of hungry dedicated athletes:

Athlete2023 SFs2023 QFs (NA West)2024 Open (NA West)
Alessandro Zanet554432
Andrew Madrid31st teamteam35
Anton Foss3523215
Austin EvansDNQ6866
Elijah SubianoDNQ11760
Mike Evans17th teamteam49
Nyko Flores4443584
Ryan NerenbergDNQ46641
Ryley HumrighouseDNQ253112
Stephen Jones504157
Tristan HarrisonDNQ12626
Tucker McLemoreDNQ9942
Zachery BuntinDNQ132131

Thirteen more men in this group who present varying levels of intrigue. 

  • 2022 CrossFit Games teenage podium finisher Elijah Subiano enters the fray this year on the back of a decent Open finish. 
  • REPS AHEAD Undercard champion from last month Ryley Humrighouse look to extend a streak of impressive performances this year after also taking 2nd in the Rx division of WZA in January

Old Guard Still Has It

Lastly, there’s this group of veteran athletes who all still managed finishes inside the top 50 amongst the North American West men’s field: 

Athlete2024 Open (NA West)
Travis Mead9
Jason Carroll18
Brendan Willis24
Jacob Heppner25
Cody Anderson30
Christian Vega33
Irving Hernandez34
Chase Smith39
Alex Bozenhard45

Based on what we know about these men, it’s unlikely any of them actually give a run at trying to make a Semis (some of them may not even sign up for Quarterfinals), but to see this level of sustained fitness from guys who have been at it for a long time is always cool as an overall testament to the prolonged level of fitness that can be achieved and maintained.

Individual Quarters

We’re now only about a week out from the Individual Quarterfinals for this year, and the anticipation is high. If you’re paying attention on social media, or to media outlets who cover this sport, you are well aware that the athletes are dialing in for this stage to a different degree than years past. Hopefully this three-part series has helped frame at least part of the competitive landscape for this season, while also giving an understanding of how exciting this weekend can be. 

Expect a lot of athletes to travel to locations where they can do these workouts with training camps or other athletes. There will be experienced judges at some of them, media crews covering some of them, and it seems even a live opportunity to watch some of the best men in North America do them from CrossFit Crash on The Sevan Podcast, a slightly risky decision for the athletes, but absolutely worth it for the crowd entertainment. 

A part of the season which has been referred to as not a spectacle by Dave Castro, and yet something fans of this sport both know is highly important for the athletes and desire to watch and follow.

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Brian Friend

Brian stumbled upon CrossFit in the Fall of 2013. He has been a writer, data analyst, content creator, commentator, and broadcast coordinator. He's worked at a majority of the largest CrossFit competitions over the last three seasons, is a regular guest on the Sevan Podcast, and has been amongst the leading sports analysts in the sport in recent years. He has a passion for advancing the sport of CrossFit, and spreading the CrossFit methodology, by living it out in both his personal and professional life.


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