MACC Men's Preview


The landscape for individual competition at Sanctioned events is different now that the CrossFit Open has happened. The Mid-Atlantic CrossFit® Challenge is the first opportunity to see how individuals approach these competitions knowing that other athletes in the field have already unofficially qualified for the CrossFit Games via the Open.

Who has already qualified?

It must be noted that per CrossFit HQ, no individual athletes will be officially notified of their Games qualification until May 1. This is the time period HQ has given themselves to have a thorough video review process.

At the moment, MACC men Richard (Paul) Castillo and Samuel Kwant are sitting in qualifying positions on the worldwide Open leaderboard.

What does it mean?

Given that these athletes won’t know for sure about their Games qualification until May 1, we should expect them to be competing to win in Washington D.C.

Castillo and Kwant will surely be among the favorites to win or podium, at the MACC, but because of their current Open placements, the rest of the men’s field will feel that there is a lot worth fighting for.

Remember, if their Games qualification spots are upheld, a backfill process will be enacted if one of them were to win. And, if they finish first and second, the Games Invitation would fall to the 3rd place finisher.

So, while tuning in to watch or follow along, do your best to keep all of that in mind. And remember, it’s not necessarily just the race for the top overall spot that could have major implications for the rest of the season.

Men to Watch

In addition to Kwant and Castillo, former individual Games athletes Will Moorad and Marquan Jones are in the field. They are joined by former Games team athletes Tyler Christophel (team CrossFit 417), Mitch Spjut (team Wasatch Brutes), and Christian Harris (team CrossFit Dynamix), as well.

There are also a slew of experienced Regional competitors who have continued to look impressive this season in Norman Woodring, Spencer Panchik, Adam Klink, and Niklas Hecht among them.

The big story is the return of Samuel Kwant who has been absent from the highest levels of competition for some time now. Kwant, an impressive young man from the West Regional, made a jump to the highest level by qualifying for the Games in both 2016 and 2017. He famously won Double DT under the Friday night lights as a rookie in 2016 and then went on to take 16th place that season. He regressed slightly finishing 20th in 2017, but he was still only 21 years old, and had a ton of promise going forward. Unfortunately an injury kept him out of the 2018 Regional competition, and he missed out on the Games last year.

Fans are eager to see someone challenge Mat Fraser at the Games, and most recognize that to do so will take a pack of men chasing him down. Kwant has the capacity to be a part of the pack hunting him down in several events; the MACC is the first chance for us to see him after his unplanned hiatus last season. Expect an impressive performance from him this weekend.

Who Will Earn the Games Invite?

This weekend should be a battle on the men’s side as many competitors will feel like the podium is an attainable goal, and therefore that they have a great chance to earn an invitation to the CrossFit Games.

Moorad will be seeking to find a way back to the Games which he hasn’t been at since 2014. He finished 14th that year, an impressive accomplishment for any Games rookie. The Central Region has always been tough to qualify out of, he was close in 2015 and 2016, but came up just short each season. His aerobic base is huge given his collegiate soccer background, and his weightlifting has improved tremendously in the last couple years. He has a well-rounded skill set that is certainly capable of turning heads.

Spencer is the Panchik brother you might not know yet. While his brother Scott has been among the most impressive and consistent male CrossFitters in history, and his twin brother, Saxon, finally broke through last year to get to the Games for the first time; Spencer is eager to prove that he too is fit enough to compete at the highest level. He’s been doing nothing but improving year after year. Last year was his best ever Regional finish (16th in the Central), and this year was his best ever Open finish, 43rd worldwide. Neither of his brothers are competing this weekend, so the stage is set for him to build upon the family legacy.

Norman Woodring, like Spencer Panchik, is coming into this part of the season with confidence. He cracked the top 100 (94th) in the Open for the second straight year, and he’s had successful runs at other Sanctioned events this season. He was 10th at Wodapalooza in January and backed that up with a 7th place finish at Strength in Depth in February. Both of those fields featured several previous individual Games athletes, and he hung in with them from start to finish. He isn’t coming out of nowhere either, his 9th place finish at the Atlantic regional last season was the best of his career. The MACC may be his best opportunity yet to etch his name into the minds of fans who still don’t know him.


  1. Samuel Kwant

  2. Paul Castillo

  3. Spencer Panchik*

  4. Will Moorad

  5. Norman Woodring

  6. Tyler Christophel

  7. Marquan Jones

  8. Adam Klink

  9. Nik Hecht

  10. Mitch Spjut

*Would receive the Games invitation based on current Open placements if these were the results.

Brian FriendComment