Reps Ahead Pro Showcase 2 Preview

March 29, 202416 min read

When: Saturday March 30, 11 am EST – 1 PM EST

Where: CrossFit Tailwinds; Jacksonville, Florida

How to Watch: BFriendly Fitness YouTube channel

Format: Think of this as a “Fight Night”. There will be four head-to-head matchups featuring the same sequence of movements and format. The goal is to get a pre-designated number of Reps Ahead of your opponent. 

The flow will be 2:00 of work, followed by 1:00 of rest, and the athletes will always start over from the beginning of the sequence. 


36 double unders

6 hang squat cleans (165/110 lbs)

6 bar muscle ups

How to win: get 40 Reps Ahead of your opponent.

Undercard Match #1 (11:20 am): Lee Pinkham vs Alexander Richard 

Lee Pinkham

30 years old and trains at CrossFit Tailwinds. Has been doing the Open since 2019 and has improved his worldwide rank every year. This season he placed 1441st Worldwide, 454th in the United States, and 364th in the North America East competitive region. He had a stand out performance of 700th worldwide with a score of 903 reps on 24.2 indicating efficiency with double unders and the ability to go long if needed. 

Alexander Richard

31 years old and trains out of CrossFit 386 in Port Orange, Florida. Richard checks in as likely one of the taller athletes you’ll ever see in CrossFit; he’s listed at 6’5” and 215 lbs. He’s done the Open each of the last three seasons, but made his big jump from year one to year two. This season he finished 1645th worldwide, 511th in the US, and 407th in North America East. His Quarterfinal finish of 205th in NA East last season was highlighted by a 93rd place finish in workout 2 which featured the crossover single unders. He didn’t do quite as well as Pinkham on 24.2, but he finished 1868th with at time of 12:34 on 24.3, almost two minutes faster than Pinkham- so the barbell cycling and gymnastics plus some skill with a jump rope could make Richard a formidable opponent for this sequence. 

Undercard Match #2 (11:40 am): Ryley Humrighouse vs Malachi Bennett

Ryley Humrighouse

26 years old and listed at 5’8” Humrighouse trains out of Backcountry CrossFit West in Littleton, Colorado. He had a very impressive second place finish in January in the men’s RX division of Wodapalooza where he took 1st or 2nd on six of the eight workouts including showing some serious capacity to go to the dark place on a few of the workouts he ended up getting the wins on including both parts of deja vu (intervals of cal row, wall ball, chest to bar, box jump over, db snatch), and the RX finale, Just Bead It, which including double unders, burpees, thrusters, and burpee clusters. 

He has made marginal improvements over the past three seasons in the Open, always being inside the top 900 worldwide, but logging his best finish this year of 790th worldwide, 242nd in the US, and 112th in the North America West region. Like Richard, his best finish came on 24.3, he was 523rd worldwide with a time of 10:54 once again showing that ability to hurt in a workout with a barbell and some gymnastics pulling. 

Malachi Bennett

31 year old Bennett checks in at 6’0” 200 lbs and is coming off a 2554th place worldwide Open finish which was also good enough for 801st in the US and 408th in the NA West region. We have records of Open performances dating back to 2012, when he was 2125th worldwide.. Meaning over the the course of more than a decade he’s managed to achieve and maintain a pretty similar level of fitness against an increasingly more fit demographic of competitors. 

Bennett was somewhat active in the offseason last fall too. He first showed up at the Nor Cal Classic where he finished third behind individual Games veterans Sean Sweeney and Tim Paulson. His best finish of that competition was on a workout called ‘Death Grip’ which included kettlebell swings and rope climbs. The sequence for this weekend certainly demands some grip stamina with three movements that involve holding various objects (jump rope, barbell, pull up bar), which could be a plus for Bennett. 

He also competed in the 30-34 year old age division of the Masters Fitness where he took home the championship on the back of 4 event wins and two second place finishes out of seven total workouts. 

Maincard Match #1 (12:05 pm): Fee Saghafi vs Alexis Raptis

Fee Saghafi

29 years old, checking in at 5 ‘2 “, Saghafi is a two time CrossFit Game individual athlete (24th in 2019 and 32nd in 2023). Last year she was 63rd worldwide in the Open, this year she’s coming off a career best Open finish of 18th (beating her previous best of 24th in 2019… yes, the exact same spot she finished at the Games that year). 

In this year’s Open Saghafi was 4th on 24.1 and 14th on 24.3, but in particular the combination of movements in 24.3, which include some barbell cycling and upper body gymnastics pulling is one she has found success with a few times throughout her career:

  • 9th worldwide on 22.3 (pull ups, chest to bar, bar muscle up progression with double unders and thrusters)…. That bodes really well for the sequence this weekend.
  • 6th (and 1 rep shy of 3rd) out of 22 female athletes on event 2 during the last chance qualifier in 2022 (thrusters and bar muscle ups)

Fee also has a pretty good track record on MWG triplets in her career having taken a top ten finish on 10 out of 23 workouts in her elite competition career. But the best mark on her resume relative to this particular workout is a 67% top ten finish rate on interval style workouts. 

Alexis Raptis

25 years old, checking in at 5’5”, Raptis was a two time teenage CrossFit Games athlete, and then after a six year hiatus returned to the Games as an individual in 2022 with a very impressive 10th place rookie finish. She backed that up last year with a 6th place finish and has firmly cemented herself in every top 10 worldwide conversation. She hasn’t competed during the offseason as she worked with her team to try and understand the best course to set her up for success during the Games season after learning about having Colitis. 

Although she’s pretty young, Raptis is absolutely a veteran in terms of experience. She competed at two different Regionals (19th at the Central in 2017, 10th at the South 2018) before we changed formats. And since the Quarterfinals have been introduced she has been in contention at Semifinals. The first year, 2021 she took 6th at the West Coast Classic and went on to take 11th at the LCQ. Even though she’s had success these last two years, it’s good to keep in mind that the battle just to get there can be long and with some close calls for many athletes before we see the success at the biggest stages.

As far as this sequence goes, Raptis has pretty good stats across the board with these movements: 

  • Across her last 11 events with muscle ups her worst finish is 16th
  • The last five times she’s done a live workout with double unders she has finished between 8th and 14th
  • On all in person events with cleans she averages a 9.1 finish since 2019. 

The only potential blip for Raptis on this workout is the 37th place finish on Ski Bag at last year’s CrossFit Games. We’ll see if it correlates at all, but with the margins being small on paper between these two, the speed with which they are able to stand the squat cleans up could end up being an opportunity for Saghafi to eek out a little time. 

Maincard Match #2 (12:30 pm): James Sprague vs Dallin Pepper

James Sprague

22 years old, checking in at 6’2” Sprague is coming off a breakthrough season. After being heartbreakingly close to qualifying for the Games in 2022 (fell from 3rd to 6th on the final event at the Syndicate Crown in 2022, then went on to finish 7th at the LCQ that same season) he punched the second to last qualifying spot in Orlando at the North America East Semifinal last year. He had three top seven finishes against a very talented field there (2nd on event 1, 6th on event 3, 7th on event 7) and backed that up with three finishes of 13th or better at the Games out of 9 events he competed in before getting cut on Saturday evening. All three of his best finishes at the Games came on longer, out of the box style workouts (9th on Ride, 12th on Pig Chipper, and 13th on the Cross Country 5k).

Sprague does have experience in this format however, something none of the other main card athletes can say. Last October 7 at Black Goat Fitness in Liberty Lake, Washington Sprague took on Tyler Eggiman in the Reps Ahead Pro 1 Showcase. It was an epic match that is worth watching if you haven’t seen it yet. Besides being both close and exciting, it gives you insight into the unique nature of this style of competition including the nuance of strategy that can absolutely determine the eventual winner. 

Sprague had a phenomenal Open finishing 27th Worldwide, improving on his previous best of 29th from 2022. His 20th place worldwide finish on 24.2 is particularly notable here because the man he’s going against was second worldwide on that workout (and it seems double under cycle rate was a critical factor amongst the elite on that one). Similarly, sneaking a few reps on the early rounds of double unders could add up, Sprague’s ability to mitigate that could prove to be important.

Dallin Pepper

Pepper is also 22 years old, and checks in at 6’0”. His competition resume is becoming scary as an adult much in the way Sprague likely remembers it from their teenage years. 

Pepper is the most dominant teenage athlete we’ve ever seen, he was undefeated in three appearances as a teenager taking home the title in 2017, 2018, and 2019. 

As far as successful teenage male athletes go, he has made the transition to the elite individual division as quickly and impressively as any of them. His 2022 CrossFit Games season was actually an exact duplicate of Raptis (6th at West Coast Classic, 11th on the LCQ), and the margin he missed by that year basically came down to experience and efficiency with a d-ball. 

The following year Pepper left no doubt taking 2nd at the MACC Semifinal, before having a respectable 19th place finish as a rookie at the Games. And most notably, last season he took third in a very talented North America East Semifinal where he had all finishes of 9th or better and a world record on event 7. He would go on to have an exceptional final five events at the CrossFit Games (8th or better, ending again with an event win on the final event) to surge to a fifth place finish in only his second season. 

Pepper is coming off an Open season that bodes really well for this format. He got the opportunity to compete live in a one v one format on Taylor vs the World week one. He had the second best score in the world on 24.2, on the back of a very fast double under cycle rate. And, overall he finished 16th, which is the third consecutive Open finish he’s had of 16th or better. 

Considering that these two were only separated by :02 on 24.3, and they could not see each other while doing so, it is difficult not to be excited about what kind of gamesmanship will occur round to round between them once that match begins. 

Renovo and New You Cares Donations

REPS AHEAD LLC continues to be a proud partner of Renovo. All participating athletes have chosen to donate a significant portion of their earnings for this event to Veterans as part of the non-profit New You Cares Foundation, which is set up to provide veterans with free access to professional fitness and nutrition support. Visit https://www.newyoucares.org/veterans to join in on the donations!

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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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