2022 Season – UK “Ones to Watch”

Last year the Chalking Fitness Update Show brought you highlights from the leader board, spotlighting individuals & affiliates with 2021 performance of note.

This year, I thought I’d go out on a limb and give you my “Ones to Watch” ahead of the 2022 Open – but obviously with some stats behind it!

I took a look at the UK top-50 from the Open for the last 3 years (2019-2021) to see who’d consistently at the top of the UK leader board. Now obviously there are limitations with this approach, injuries happen & the 2021 season was a clusterbomb for everyone – but it’s the basis we have for now.

This is by no means definitive, think someone is missing, let me (and the community) know!

UK Men (Open Division)

  • Games veteran Elliot Simmonds is the only UK athlete to finish in the UK top-10 for the last three years. Now back in Cardiff and after solid performances at both Madrid & Madison he’s undoubtedly looking to take his season all the way to Madison
  • Reggie Fasa, Zack George, Sam Parkin & Josh Al-Chammaa can all boat top-20 UK finishes for the last three years.
    • Whilst his focus might be his JST Complete athletes, Jak Cornthwaite also holds this accolade – leading by example for sure!
  • With a nod to the disruptions the 2021 Open, we have to acknowledge that seven of the 2020 Top-20 men did not participate in the 2021
    • 2020 Games athlete, David Shorunke is one to watch despite disrupted Open performance – although his plans for the 2022 season are not yet set
  • Some additional “wild cards” to keep your eyes on:
    • Harry Lightfoot & Evander Harewood both grabbed top-5 finishes at the 2021 European Championships, with Evander also finishing on the podium at the Arnold Fitness Games.
    • Jamie Lowry finished top-100 in the 2021 Quarterfinals and has since upped the ante with a move the CrossFit Aylesbury and focused training with The Athlete Program Games team.
Images from athletes respective Instagram accounts where further credit may be given

UK Women (Open Division)

  • Perennial Games athlete Sam Briggs is joined by Tayla Howe as individual athletes with top-10 UK finishes for the last three years
    • Emelye Dwyer also has this solid performance, but is still coming back from injury this year
    • Charlotte Spence has a top-10 finish for the last three years also, but will be focusing on team – along with Maddy Harris (who’s been consistently in the top-20 these last three years). Not bad for one-and-done!
  • Helena Collins, 2021 Games Champ in the 40-44 division Kelly Friel & Aimee Cringle all have top-20 finishes over the last three years. Acknowledging also that so does:
    • Lois Smith – who’s going team with AOD Fitness this season
    • Hat Hewitt – who’s taking a step back from competing this year
  • UK national further afield we have Evie Hollis & Rachel Knox who, at CrossFit Yas & CrossFit Alioth respectively, both have top-20 finishes for the last three years as well
  • A mention has to go to Czech national Aneta Tucker – with multiple Regional appearances under her belt Aneta punched a trip to the Games in 2021 in the 35-39 division and finished 3rd!
    • Additional honourable mention to Ireland’s Aoife Burke – 2nd fittest in Ireland in 2019 & 2020 and out on the elite floor at WZA’22
  • My additional “wild card” picks have to be the following:
    • Lucy Campbell – having gone all the way to the Last Chance Qualifier last season, Lucy kicked off 2022 with a 4th place finish in the elite field at Wodapalooza
    • Carys Webster – another 2021 semifinalist who was also out on the floor at WZA
    • Janie Garret – a 2018 Regionals athlete, Janie boast top-20 UK finishes in the last two years. On the floor at WZA as part of an Elite Team, word is team will be the focus for the Games season this year too.
Images from athletes respective Instagram accounts where further credit may be given

Age Group Athletes

As with individuals in the open division, we’ll see the top 10% of all divisions progress to the AGOQ this season. Beyond which 30 will progress to a Semi Final stage before the top-10 move on to the Games in Madison.

It’s a little harder to use stats to pick these as athletes move divisions & inevitably life has a high chance of getting in the way! Predominately based on the 2021 performance, here’s my “ones to watch”:

35-39 Division

  • Men – James St Leger, having qualified in 2020 & making the decision not to compete in 2021, he’s certainly one to keep an eye on. Simon Greenwood & Chris Mason (among others) could be looking to close the gap this year.
  • Women – Czech & CrossFit Nidus co-owner Aneta Tucker finished third at the Games in this hotly contested division last year. Her main challenge may be whether to pursue the Age Group or Open Individual route this year! Under the UK flag Vicki Finn-Smith is one to watch for sure.

40-44 Division

  • Men – Spencer Whiteley capitalised on a 13th finish worldwide in the Open and qualified for the Games in 21st position last season. Spencer certainly sets a UK benchmark in this division
  • Women – Kelly Friel & Kelly Marshall both finished on the podium at the Games in this division last year making this a strong division for the UK. Here’s to Marshall building on last year and all the best to Friel rehabbing that ankle

45-49 Division

  • Women – Scotland’s Ali Crawford made her second trip to Games in 2021. Emma Leigh just missed out so is one to watch if she in the Open this year.

50-54 Division

  • Men – Superman by name, superman by nature. Simon Wilson-Storey won the 50-55 Open last year & went all the way to Madison
  • Women – CrossFit BFG’s Zoe Stewart has finished 1st & 3rd in the 50-55 division in 2020 & 2021 respectively. Helen MacLeod moves up into this division this year and having qualified for WZA’22 is certainly one to watch as well.

55-59 Division

  • Men – Chris Wardlow managed a top-100 finish in his first year in the 55-59 division, which put him 10th in Europe. Not far behind are Michael Johnson & David Doig.
  • Women – Not one, but two 2021 Games athletes from the UK in this division! Will Joanne McCullough & Lynne Watt be looking to repeat this year

60+ Divisions

  • Men – Stepping up into the 60-64 division in 2021, Reno Rippa managed 55th worldwide & 6th in Europe in last years Open.
  • Women – Topping the UK leaderboard in Open the last year, Linda Cunningham also finished first in Europe

13-15 Division

  • Boys – Harry Clift finished 1st in the UK last year & 24th in Europe – he remains in this division this year, as does Corey Duncan
  • Girls – At 14, Lucy McGonigle not only finished first in Europe in the Open but went all the way to the Games and finished 2nd overall. A dominant performance at WZA’22 put her at the top of the podium for the first big competition of 2022.

16-17 Division

  • Boys – The UK top 5 in this division, including Ed Cooke & Ed Gibson, have graduated up to the Open Division. Next UK athlete remaining in this division for this season is Oakley Lazenby.
  • Girls – 2021 Games athlete, Chiara Silva has moved up to this division this season, let’s see how she does against the likes of Erin Friel & Eve Kirk.
Images from athletes respective Instagram accounts where further credit may be given

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