Photo credit: Instagram @samdancing
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Much has been said about Week 2 of the NOBULL CrossFit Games Semi-Finals as the Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge and Fittest in Cape Town take center stage. However, a major online competition is kicking off, with the same at stake, an invitation to the 2022 Games in Madison, WI, this weekend.
Three hundred athletes across 10 divisions will tackle six training sessions over four days in the first-ever online age group semi-finals.
Teens in the 14-15 and 16-17 age groups will join their counterparts in the 35-39, 40-44 and 45-49 divisions in the all-new stage of the Games season and the road to the Games. The top 10 will receive invitations to the Games.
Age group 35-39 years old
We’ll have an all-new champion and podium contenders this year as three-time division champion Kyle Kasperbauer “aged” then retired from competition and podiums Adrian Conway and James Hobart are not competing this year. Regardless, this year’s division is filled with Games veterans who will make for an exciting race.
Three-time Games veteran and fan favorite Sam dancer is among the favorites to win the semi-finals after winning the Open and Quarter-final titles for the division. Roy Gamboa is just a year away from competing at last year’s Games and finished seventh in the quarter-finals. Other Games veterans to watch are Justin Ahrens, Paul Tremblay, Austin Malleolo, Craig Kenney and Frederik Aegidiuswho like Dancer and Gamboa are in their first year in the division.
Third place last year Aneta Tucker is the only one to return to the podium, but she will have her hands full as the women’s depth is on par with the men’s. Chyna Cho is an early favorite due to her Games and championship pedigree. Emilia Leppanen competed individually at the Games last year, finishing 29th in his second appearance at the Games.
Other Games veterans who will push for the vacant crown are Kelley Jackson and Carleen Mathews. April Payne and Colleen Le Hane fourth and fifth respectively at last year’s games in the division.
Age group 40-44 years old
All the podium returns for this division as champion Maxim Guyon looks to defend his title at the Games with second place David Johnstone and third place Alexandre Jolivet are looking to punch their tickets to Madison.
Justin King “aged” in the division after two Games appearances in the 35-39 division. He won the quarterfinals with three top-10 finishes. Michel Laverriere is in a similar position to King with two Games appearances in the previous division and a second-place finish in the quarterfinals.
Like the men, the three finalists from last year’s Games return with Kelly Friel looking to defend their title after finishing second in a row. Rebecca Voigt Miller declined his invitation to the semi-finals of the Granite Games to try to win his first career title. Kelly Marshall finished third last year at the Games but took the quarter-final victory over fellow Briton Friel.
Like Voigt Miller, jenn ryan declined his invitation to the Granite Games to compete in the divisional semi-final. Last year, Ryan captained the CrossFit Invictus team at the Games.
Age group 45-49 years old
Returning Champion Jason Grubb has two titles to his name in the division, a division he topped at the Games in 2021 with a 90-point victory, the most of any age group men’s division. The other podiums Mike Kern and Justin Lasala respectively finished second and third in the quarter-finals.
Belarusian Vlad Lyashkevich won the quarter-finals by one point over Kern.
The top three women from last year’s Games will advance to this weekend’s semi-finals with last year’s champion Annie Sakamoto lead the charge in what will be a close race for ten places at the Games. Ali Crawford and Jennifer Dieter finished behind Sakamoto with Crawford but stood out in the quarter-finals with a victory.
Age group 14-15 years old
Look nowhere else than RJ Mestre for a promising teenage athlete – Mestre has already clinched first place in the first two stages of qualification by a long shot – an eight and 23 point lead over the next finisher in the Open and quarter-finals respectively.
Ka’eo Subiono caused a stir at the Open and the quarterfinals with a third-place finish, his highest finish ever in a CrossFit Games competition. The 15-year-old competed in Madison last year and finished in 9th place.
Australian strange josh could be a force to be reckoned with this weekend, with another Torian Pro Boys 14-15 Division second place medal under his belt, a second place finish at the Open and a fourth at the Online Qualifier. At just 15 years old, Strange lifted 225 pounds in the individual semifinal barbell complex.
15 years old Lucy McGonigle is the heir apparent to the gold medal in the girls 14-15 age group, after finishing second in the division last year and posting impressive statistics all season. With second-place finishes across the board in 2021 and already a first-place finish in the Open and Age Group quarter-finals in 2022, the Irish teenager will be looking to continue her trend of ultra-consistency this weekend.
Rylee Beebewho started CrossFit during her quarantine as a supplement to gymnastics and then found herself in 15th place at the CrossFit Games last summer, showed huge improvements throughout the offseason, including a medal in bronze in the girls’ 13-15 stacked division at Wodapalooza in January.
Caroline Sabatini she may be a rookie, but she has CrossFit talent in her blood. Older sister Gigi Sabatini, now set to join Yale’s gymnastics team in the fall, was a force to be reckoned with in the teen division, and Caroline is hot on her heels. On the youth side of the age group, Sabatini placed sixth at her first elite competition – Wodapalooza.
A generic choice, longtime CrossFit athlete Brooklynn Sittner could finally fight his way to a qualifying position this year. The 15-year-old Montana native has been doing CrossFit virtually from diapers and could finally have her name on a Games jersey after a 16th-place finish in the quarterfinals.
Age group 16-17 years old
Elijah Subiono and Aaron Merrit come as a forfeit on every ranking – sixth and ninth at the 2021 CrossFit Games, first and second at the 2022 Open, fifth and third in the quarterfinals, respectively. They even placed side by side at Wodapalooza this year.
Ty Jenkins held a master class in the Boys 14-15 division last year at the Games, and now moving up to the older division he looks set to continue that streak. Jenkins placed ninth in the quarterfinals and took advantage of his size and strength against the older guys, racking up a CrossFit total of 1,057 pounds.
Landen Ryan has always been in the running for a spot at the CrossFit Games, but his traveling lifestyle and Covid hurt his qualification. Until very recently, Ryan’s family traveled the country in an RV, but throughout the 2022 season Ryan had a home gym to support him through qualifying, which propelled him in the standings to eighth place in the quarter-finals.
Of course, the names Sophie Shaft and Olivia Kerstetter are absolutely at the top of everyone’s mind to not only make it to the Games this year in the teenage division, but to eventually follow in the footsteps of Mallory O’Brien and Emma Cary and become the next big stars in the sport. Shaft, in her final year of qualifying for the teenage division, will be the biggest threat to Kerstetter’s podium hopes, and both teenagers appear to have a substantial lead in third place.
16 years old Trista Smith stormed the Open this year with an 87th place in the world, in the women’s individual division. After finishing fourth last year in the girls 14-15 division, Smith appears to have learned some tips and tricks from fellow Fort Vancouver CrossFit athlete Justin Medeiros during the offseason and climbed the standings to third in the division. girls 16-17 years old. in the quarter-finals.
Hailey Rolfe placed 14th in the quarter-finals, but should not be counted for a Games qualification spot. With an impressive focus on heavy lifting, but also strong combinations in cardio, and no stranger to gymnastics, Rolfe is a strong athlete all around, and could be a force to be reckoned with in her first year in the sport. the older division.