CrossFit City of Lakes 2023 Fantasy Open Preview
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Another open season is finally here! More importantly, another COL fantasy open season is officially one week away from draft day! The COL Fantasy Open League is a three week inter gym competition that features all athletes that sign up and register for the yearly CrossFit Open. All athletes that take part in the Open will be drafted on Tuesday February 14th to one of 4 COL Fantasy Open Teams. This year you’ll have 5 coaches drafting and representing your 4 fantasy teams.
Team "New Kids on The Barbell"
First, we have Coach Mark and Coach Marvin in their first year as Co-head Coaches! Both have served on teams before in assistant coaching roles, but this year they’ve been promoted to the head coaching role. Both are ready for the challenge and are trying to show the gym that they’ve got the leadership, knowledge and passion to lead their team to victory. Between Marvin’s positivity and enthusiasm and Mark’s thoughtfulness and gamer mentality it is possible that their team could make a freshman year championship run. Will the inexperience and pressure of now leading a team be Mark and Marvin's demise, or will these two rise to the occasion? We will see.
Team “Hot Mess”
Second, we have Coach Sarah. After multiple years in a row of failing to win a championship, Sarah has a fire in her belly. She’s so distraught that she has been self described as a “Hot Mess”. Hot mess or not, there are two things we can say for certain about Sarah, One, she leads by example and her team WILL get fired up for each and every week's workouts. Two, if she has to, will try and win this thing single handedly if she needs to. When the Sarah stare comes out and her eyes watch the clock start to countdown…. She makes everyone around her better and more intense. Look for Sarah’s team to have all kinds of fire to start off the Open, but will they be able to maintain the level of intensity needed for all three weeks?
Team “Gen Z”
Next, we’ve got Coach Carter. In recent years we’ve seen Carter take the money-ball approach to drafting, and this year we don’t expect that to change. After his freshman year championship in 2021, Carter ran into a Sophomore Slump in 2022. This year with his Assistant Coach Craig no longer on the staff, will this be the final piece to fall into place that will allow Coach Carter to “Open Up The Playbook”. Following the loss last year, Carter has spent the offseason scouting, running new algorithms to guess what workouts will pop up and improving his coaching and leadership skills. Algorithms, Spreadsheets and mathematical equations may set up Coach Carter’s team for a battle to the finish line but at the end of the day its not the X’s and the O’s but the Jane’s and the Joe’s. Carter still has to draft some talented athletes to battle these other tough Open Teams.
Team “The Evil Empire”
Finally we get to the reigning champ, Coach JJ. Someone has to be the bad guy and Coach Jason loves to put on his Black Hat when leading his Open Teams and relishes the Villain Role. Jason has won 2 out of the last 3 years and is licking his chops to lead another Open Team to victory. Jason has always seemed to not necessarily look to draft the most talented CF athletes in the gym but tends to draft gritty, reliable and experienced CrossFitters. We don’t expect this trend to change in 2023. One thought, this year the age of the pool of athletes Jason tends to draft are getting up there in years, this could be the year his strategy bites him in the rear end. Could this be the end of a Fantasy Open Dynasty or does Jason evolve a and switch strategy and search for youth in 2023? We shall see!
COL Athletes To Watch
New Top Spot Alert - Ty Sullivan has a great shot of winning the 2023 CrossFit City of Lakes Individual Open. Last year he took 3rd behind Sarah and Julia. Ty has consistently been one of the best athletes at COL from the day he walked in the door, but has never won the open at COL. Can he not close the door on his competition or is he distracted with upcoming fishing and hunting seasons. If the right combination of movements comes up, Ty can take it home.
Most Improved Athlete - Nick Catalano will be your most improved Open performance. This guy has been putting in WORK this offseason. Checking the Wodify leaderboard, Nick certainly likes to gravitate to gymnastics and olympic weight lifting, so the big question this season is how much has Nick’s metabolic conditioning improved this year. I’m excited to find out.
Sleeper Pick - Charlie Schmid joined the COL Coaching staff and COL community in 2022. This guy has quietly began putting up some pretty ridiculous numbers both in lifts and metcon's. A humble guy with lots of Open experience, look for Charlie to almost like a ninja sneak into a battle with some COL’s top athletes. If Charlie can get some sleep after his third daughter was just recently born and stay healthy keep an eye on this guy.
Master's Watch - Steph Engels and Sally Rodgers are two COL Master's athletes to watch in their perspective Master's divisions. These two are fan favorites who always seem to shine when the Friday Night Lights seem to get too bright for others.
Honorable Mention Athletes to Watch
Patrick Cotter - is the favorite to be rookie of the year this year. He’s still a bit green to competition, but he’s undoubtedly had a great year of consistent training under his belt.
Julia Holm - A strong performance at COL led her to the 2nd overall finish in 2022. Julia has an Engine and “Holm” grit to fight for another top spot. Look for Sarah and Julia to go head to head all Open.
Anne Brecount - This chick is STRONG. I think with the right combination of movements, we can see this girl put up some points this year. Will Anne break the top 10 this year for COL Ladies?
Ward Bowron - Ward has one of the best engines in the gym, and has consistently been improving his gymnastics, strength, Oly, and mobility. Look for Ward to make a big jump this year.
Mike Mann - Mike is another athlete that is consistently putting in extra work in the back. The ultimate “work hard even when no one is watching” kind of guy. Mike is built for these soul crushing Open Wods.
Specialists to Watch this Season
With the potential re-introduction of rowing and wall balls being thrown back into the Open Equipment List, look for a few athletes who are experts in these two movements to rock a potential workout our two. These athletes may not win every week this year but look for some serious home run potential. Jeff Wald, Caleb Sutton, Jordan Altman, Tori Lythjohan, Ashley Reut and Lacey Anderson are just a few that benefit from these equipment list changes.
A big part of CrossFit involves competition with one another. It’s generally hard to find someone that you compete with more than your siblings. Here are a few of our family rivalries that you will want to keep an eye on this year.
Jordan Holm, Julia Holm, and John Holm
Cam Sivhla and Cory Sivhla
Katie Fielen and Ellie Fielen
Kelly Rodgers and Billy Rodgers
John Miller and Molly Miller
Tony Gaffney, Sam Gaffney, and Mike Gaffney
Everyone knows that the athletes at COL age like fine wine. We have quite a bit of experience in the Open. Below are some of the most experienced COL athletes in The Open.
Billy Rodgers (12th Open)
John Miller (12th Open)
Mark Skeba (11th Open)
Johanna Moore (11th Open)
Lainey Rodgers (11th Open)
Jason Johnson (10th Open)
Molly Jasper (10th Open)
Steph Skeba (10th Open)
Samantha Johnson (9th Open)
Steph Engles (8th Open)
Nicole Meyer (8th Open)
Big Board Top 15 Athlete Predictions
- Ty Sullivan - Doesn’t get tired and doesn’t have many holes. Is it finally his year?
- Julia Holm- Julia took everyone by surprise last year. Anything is possible with those Holm genetics. Can she back up las years performance?
- Sarah Stejskal - Intensity can’t be matched. Hard to beat her on her home turf, but lots of tough competition in this years field.
- Charlie Schmid- This is technically Charlie’s rookie season at CrossF COL, he will be looking to make a statement! Charlie doesn’t have a lot of holes in his game, plus he’s got 3 kids, which means extra Dad strength.
- Carter Groskreutz - Will plan and study each and every workout and will be more prepared than anyone to attack this year's Open season. Will the Professor live up to his new nickname and have the perfect plan to win this years Open?
- Cam Sivhla - With the introduction of CrossFit back into his training plan from two years of strictly Oly Lifting, Cam might sneak up this leaderboard.
- Kyler Eid- This will be year 2 for Kyler doing the open at COL, and we know he’s spent the last year cleaning up a hole or two in his game. Kyler is definitely fighting for a top 3 finish this year.
- Sam Johnson- She’s a veteran, she’s a mom, and she can be a spitfire if needed. Sam has been doing this for some time, and even after two kids, doesn’t seem to be slowing down at all. If she can stay healthy look for Sam to still hang around for a top 5 women's finish.
- Max Meland - Max has been fighting for a top spot these past couple years. Max has spent a lot of time cleaning up some mobility and stability issues. We think year 3 Max makes a jump and we see a new Max with a little bit more poise and strategy. The raw talent is there.
- Nick Catalano - This guy has been working his butt off and it’s fun to watch, he’s going to crush it this year. The right workouts could send him right up this leaderboard.
- Mark Skeba- There isn’t another way to put this other than that Mark is a student of the game. At his ripe age of 40, what he lacks in youth, he’s gained in experience and wisdom. Don’t ever count Mark out.
- Emily Lesser- If Emily can gets the right combination of movements she could place much higher than 10th. Being 6 feet tall has some limitations in the Open but don't expect Emily to go down without a fight. She will battle every week.
- Lily Wiener - A fan favorite and a well rounded athlete. She will stick around and shake up the leaderboard this season. With some extra push from the right Coach she might find herself in a battle for one of the top female finishes.
- Steph Engels - An Open Veteran and a Master’s Legend. Steph will make these young girls look twice as she slides past them up the leaderboard.
- Molly Jasper / John Miller - Rounding out the top 15 are another two veteran siblings that you should never count out in an Open. Look for magic when they get under those Friday night lights. Like Mark their age and wisdom makes up for the achey joints and parent commitments.
We hope this Fantasy Open Preview got your competitive juices going. Whether you are looking to make the CrossFit Games this year or it is your first month at the gym, sign up for the Open. The three week community event is so much fun and challenges us all in different ways. Sure the workouts are hard and we have to suffer through them. But we suffer together. We look forward to another fun Open Season and another fun Fantasy Open Season.
Remember the Fantasy Open Draft is Tuesday February 14th. Make sure to register before that to be eligible for this years fantasy Open Draft.
Now.... go sign up for The Open HERE.