2018 Reebok CrossFit Games Regionals

The Champ Begins His Defense, & Brooke Wells Looks To Prove Herself

The Champ Begins His Defense, & Brooke Wells Looks To Prove Herself

Mat Fraser and Brooke Wells are ready for CrossFit Regionals weekend No. 2, which goes down this weekend.

May 24, 2018 by Hunter Sharpless
The Champ Begins His Defense, & Brooke Wells Looks To Prove Herself

 By Lincoln Shryack

The second weekend of Regionals has arrived, and up next to the plate are the Central, West, and Latin America qualifiers. And woo boy, is there sure some drama on tap this Friday through Sunday. The Fittest Man on Earth will try his hand at a new region, while the departure of another superstar has left the women’s qualifier in Tennessee wide open. And that’s just the Central Regional.

Let’s check in on the biggest names competing this weekend for a spot at the 2018 CrossFit Games:


Mathew Fraser, 28, Central Regional

For two-time Fittest Man on Earth Mathew Fraser, the road to what he hopes will be a third-straight CrossFit Games title begins on Friday in Nashville, Tennessee, at the Central Regional. The 28-year-old has never finished worst than second in his four appearances at the Games, so qualifying out of Regionals shouldn’t be too hard for this legend of the sport. After all, this is a man who, in 2016, compiled an incredible 670-point tally at the East region before winning a second straight Games the following summer by the largest margin in history. Fraser don’t play, and he’s bound to put on a show in Music City.

After three straight years competing in the East Regional—and, before that, the North East—the former U.S. Olympic weightlifter will bring his talents to Nashville for the Central after moving to nearby Cookeville, Tennessee, late last year. That move brought Fraser to the hometown of the GOAT, Rich Froning, and the pair have surely put in plenty of work together in the gym over the last several months. Early signs have been good from the Volunteer State for Fraser, who topped the Open leaderboard for the second straight year in 2018.

At the Central this weekend, Fraser will face a stalwart of the region, Scott Panchik. The 30-year-old Ohio native has finished top-six at the Games every year since 2012, and has twice claimed the Regional title. It would be a shocker if he somehow took down the CrossFit King in Nashville, but the former football player Panchik is as consistent as they come and will at least put up a good fight this weekend.


Brooke Wells, 22, Central Regional

Now that Third Fittest Woman on Earth Sara Sigmundsdóttir has exited the Central after a one season stint in 2017, the women’s competition in the region appears to be there for the taking this weekend in Nashville. And perhaps most prepared to do that taking is 22-year-old Brooke Wells, a three-time Games qualifier and an athlete who may be looking to prove herself after enduring a minor controversy during the Open season.

For Wells, who won the Central back in 2015, the dispute online about the quality of her hand-stand push ups in an 18.4 video submission caused a firestorm of unwanted attention for the University of Missouri student. Wells’ submission made it difficult to determine if reps were actually being achieved on her HSPU, and when CrossFit announced that they weren’t going to dock her score, Reddit went into a frenzy. 

The video may have been shot poorly, and some no reps may have been declared reps, but the benefit of the doubt was given for an athlete who has clearly proven herself legit in her career. And like the Internet does, it moved on to the next thing quickly and Wells wound up sixth on the leaderboard after the Open was said and done.

With that mess in the rearview, Wells will hope to bury it in the past with a statement performance in Nashville. Standing in her way most prominently would appear to be the woman who beat her by a place at the Games last year, 28-year-old Kristi Eramo. An eighth-place finisher at the CrossFit Games in 2016, Eramo beat Wells at Regionals last year for the first time in her career.