Wodapalooza Gathers the Best CrossFitters for Annual Miami Festival
A who’s who of the top CrossFit athletes in the word will be converging on Miami, Florida for the Wodapalooza CrossFit Festival for fun, sun, fitness and a chance to earn an invitation to the CrossFit games. The four-day competition will be held February 20-23 on Miami’s Bayfront Park.
What’s on the line: The coveted 2020 Games invite awaits elite individuals and teams competing who have yet to earn that honor. Also on the line is one of the Sanctional season’s top prize purses for top finishers. A total prize purse of $400,000 awaits the top-ten finishers for elite individuals and team divisions.
Individuals | Teams
- $50,000 | $20,000
- $30,000 | $12,500
- $20,000 | $10,000
- $15,000 | $8,000
- $10,000 | $6,000
- $4,000 | $5,000
- $3,000 | $3,000
- $2,000 | $2,500
- $1,500 | $2,000
- $1,000 | $1,500
Individuals will also receive $2,020 for event wins.
Who to watch: A stacked field awaits in both the men’s and women’s divisions. Nineteen of the 35 women athletes have appeared at the Games either as an individual or on a team. On the men’s side 17 of the 37 athletes have competed at the Games.
- Including the team division, four athletes in the elite field have been crowned the “Fittest on Earth” as individuals, combining for nine total championships. Tia-Clair Toomey (2017-2019), Ben Smith (2015), Rich Froning (2011-2014) and Samantha Briggs (2013).
- Of the 72 athletes competing in the individual divisions, 24 have already received their invitations to the 2020 Games. Seven national champions makeup that field to give Wodapalooza an international feel. Toomey (Australia), Kari Pearce (United States), Sara Sigmundsdottir (Iceland) and Larissa Cunha (Brazil) represent the women national champions and Willy Georges (France), Zack George (United Kingdom), Fabian Beneito Selles (Spain) represent the top men from their respected countries.
The women’s division:
- Arguably the biggest storyline is Toomey against Sigmundsdottir. Toomey holds a 2-0 advantage in Sanctionals against her Icelandic rival. Last year, Toomey won the first Sanctional of her career at Wodapalooza, Sigmundsdottir finished third. Toomey also got the better of her at the 2019 Rogue Invitational. In fact, Toomey has won all three Sanctionals she has entered.
- Last year at Wodapalooza, Toomey placed no worse than second in any of the seven events on her way to winning by 110 points overall. She won the final three events to secure the dominating win.
- Sigmundsdottir has dominated the early part of this season, winning two Sanctionals in less than a month against tough competition at the Filthy 150 and the Dubai CrossFit Championship. Her three career Sanctional titles tie her with Toomey for the most in the women’s division.
- Six of the top-ten finishers at the 2019 Games will be competing as Toomey, Kari Pearce (fifth), Haley Adams (sixth), Amanda Barnhart (seventh), Thuri Helgadottir (ninth) and Danielle Brandon (tenth) all battle for the championship. Overall thirteen of the top-30 female athletes from the 2019 Games are competing.
- Helgadottir leads a group of 2019 Games qualifiers that have yet to secure an invite to this year’s Games. Also looking for the Games invite includes Alice Mille, Cheryl Nasso, Colleen Fotsch, Emily Rolfe and Paige Semenza.
- Fotsch and Semenza are in familiar territory as they competed at Wodapalooza last year. Fotsch placed sixth while Semenza finished 11th.
- Games veteran Jessica Griffith is looking for her individual Games invite after declining her invitation last season to compete on a team with CrossFit Krypton. That team received their invite after winning Wodapalooza last year as Team ROMWOD/WIT.
The men’s division:
- Patrick Vellner is returning to defend his 2019 Wodapalooza championship and comes into this year’s competition as the early favorite. The three-time Games podium finisher and 2018 runner-up won the 2020 Open to start the season and followed that up with a second place showing at the Dubai CrossFit Championship in December.
- The 2019 Games runner-up, Noah Ohlsen looks to take back his Wodapalooza title after finishing third last year. The hometown favorite has competed at the festival every year since 2012 and has won three individual titles.
- Led by Ohlsen, ten of the top-30 Games finishers from last year will be competing. Adrian Mundwiler (eighth), Saxon Panchik (ninth), Cole Sager (11th), Logan Collins (14th), Vellner (16th), Casper Gammelmark (20th), Willy Georges (21st), Smith (28th) and Ryan Sowder (30th) make up the stacked field.
- Mundwiler, Panchik, Gammelmark and Sowder have yet to secure their 2020 Games invitations.
- Look for two other siblings to compete for the invite, as Saxon’s twin brother Spencer Panchik looks for his first Games berth. Spencer just missed out getting his Games invite through the Open, finishing 36th. Alec Smith, the younger brother of Ben Smith, makes his return to individual competition after competing with CrossFit Krypton last season. The younger Smith is a two-time individual Games competitor and was a member of the Krypton team that finished as runner-ups at the 2019 Games.
- Some other athletes to watch include Christian Lucero, Jean-Simon Roy-Lemaire, Sam Stewart, Travis Williams, and Zack George. Lucero’s last Games appearance was in 2016 and just missed out on an Open invite this season after finishing 40th worldwide. Roy-Lemaire already has his Games invite but looks to push fellow countrymen Vellner for first place. One of six Canadians in the field, the 2019 national champion placed eighth in this year’s Open. Stewart is just below the Open cutline at 39th and is competing in his third Sanctional of the season. George is also competing in his third Sanctional but has his invite already secured as the United Kingdom’s national champion. Williams also has a Game’s invite secured but in the team division. The three-time Games individual competitor, qualified at the Dubai CrossFit Championship with Misfit P10 Performance.
The team division:
- After a win at Strength in Depth to secure their Games invite, Mayhem Freedom returns to the competition floor looking to continue their dominance of the team competition. The two-time defending Fittest Team on Earth will look for redemption in Miami as they struggled last season at Wodapalooza, finishing fifth.
- ROMWOD Meat Squad has also earned their invite to the Games after winning at Filthy 150. The team will be without Dex Hopkins as he awaits the birth of his child. Tim Paulson will step in for Hopkins and team up with holdovers Christian Harris, Kelly Baker and Brooke Haas.
- A huge, stacked field will push the early favorites, Mayhem Freedom and ROMWOD Meat Squad for the Games invite. Team Victory Grips, consisting of Elijah Muhammad, Alex Parker, Meredith Root and Ethan Helbig, is among those teams with all four athletes with both Games experience as individuals and Sanctional experience on a team.
- Team GOWOD reunites past OC3 Black teammates Taylor Williamson, Andrea Nisler and Luke Schafer while adding Games veteran Streat Hoerner. Williamson and Nisler will be competing at the Games with Misfit P10 Performance after winning at the Dubai CrossFit Championship. Schafer earned his first career individual Games after finishing second at the Mayhem Classic. Familiarity with each other and experience competing at a high level makes Team GOWOD an early favorite.
- Samantha Briggs joins Team Wit to make them instant contenders for the Wodapalooza team title. Briggs overcame an injury during the Open to finish third at the Dubai CrossFit Championship and the Games invitation. Joining Briggs on Team Wit are Harriet Roberts, Michael Smith and Joshua Al-Chamaa. Roberts has two trips to the Games as a member of a team, she won the Pandaland CrossFit Championship to earn her first individual Games invite. Smith finished 26th at the Games last year as a rookie.
- JST Compete is another familiar name in the field, finishing 10th last year at the Games. This year’s team returns Steven Fawcett captaining newcomers Mikey Steele, Aneta Tucker and Tayla Howe.
- Another team with name recognition and a history of success makes their 2020 Sanctional debut is CrossFit Mayhem Independence. The team has seen many rosters since finishing fourth at the 2018 Games. The lone holdover from that team is Kristin Miller. Australian Royce Dunne competed with Mayhem Independence last year at the French Throwdown and brings a wealth of Games experience, having made three appearances including two on a team. Chase Hill competed on Independence at all four Sanctional last season, the only team member to do that. Feeroozeh Saghafi will fill in for Taylor Streid as the newest member of the team. Saghafi plans on competing as an individual after earning her invite at the Mayhem Classic.
- The US Army Warrior Fitness Team makes their first-ever Sanctional appearance. Based out of Fort Knox, Kentucky, the team features four US soldiers who are no strangers to CrossFit competition. Brian Harris and Jacob Pfaff have CrossFit Regional experience and are joined by Kaci Clark and Rachel Schreiber.
What to watch for: Wodapalooza has always been a popular competition for CrossFit athletes and fans even before it became a Sanctional last season. The warm Miami weather, aesthetics and festival setting makes it unique among other competitions. The flagship competition of Loud And Live Sports five Sanctionals, the event increased in size and scope every year.
- The Sanctional will be broadcast live on FloSports as part of their partnership with Loud And Live.
- The Morning Chalk Up will have Tommy Marquez and Joe Genetin-Pilawa on the ground in Miami to bring you daily updates, recaps, interviews and analysis. You can follow our exclusive coverage on the Wodapalooza Sanctional Page.
Update: This piece has been corrected to include Sam Briggs 2013 CrossFit Games championship.