2020 CrossFit Games Age Group Preview: Men and Women Ages 50-54
The men and women of the 50-54 Masters division are next up in our preview of the 2020 CrossFit Games Age Groups. These standings are unofficial after the Age Group Online Qualifier (AGOQ) scores were submitted and could change due to score adjustments as the top-25 athletes in each division must submit videos to CrossFit HQ for review. The video review period concludes on April 13 with the top ten athletes in each division receiving an invitation to the Games.
Chad Schroeder dives into the numbers of the AGOQ even more, breaking down all the divisions with his statistical analysis.
Men’s 50-54 division: All ten athletes in qualifying spots after the AGOQ are from North America, including nine from the United State. Just three athletes have competed in the division including the returning AGOQ champion and a former Games champion. Seven athletes make their division debut while three are making their first Games appearance.
- Gregg Geerdes repeats as the AGOQ champion in the division after making his debut in the 50-54 age group last year. This will be his fourth Games appearance overall and second-straight. Last year he podiumed for the first time in his Games career, placing second just ten points behind the champion Kevin Koester. He recorded five top-three finishes in six events including two event wins in Madison. In this year’s AGOQ, he recorded five top-ten finishes including an event win. Geerdes competed at Wodapalooza in February, placing third.
- Steve Hartle makes his division debut after placing second in the AGOQ, 12 points behind Geerdes. This will be his third Games appearance after competing in the 45-49 division in 2016 and 2018. In this year’s AGOQ he recorded four top-ten finishes including two third place finishes.
- Ron Ortiz returns to the Games after taking the season off to recover from an injury. This will be his ninth trip to the Games as a Masters athlete, the second-most all-time within the Age Group divisions. Ortiz is a two-time Masters champion and four-time podium finisher. He won his first Masters title in 2013 in the 45-49 division before winning the title of “Fittest 50-54 year old” in his debut in the division in 2016. Ortiz has nine career event wins at the Games. In this year’s AGOQ, he won the max clean and jerk event with a lift of 293 lbs.
- Charles Russo qualifies for his second-straight Games and third overall. Last year he finished eighth at the Games in his debut in the division after placing eighth in the AGOQ. This year he placed fourth, recording two top-ten finishes. He made his Games debut in the 45-49 division at the 2014 Games.
- Todd Burgess will make his Games debut this year. Burgess recorded two top-ten finishes in the AGOQ including an eighth place finish in event six.
- Logan Clarke will be a 50-year old Games rookie this year after placing sixth in the AGOQ. Clarke won the opening event of the AGOQ and finished with four top-ten finishes to secure his trip to Madison.
- Scott Tasaka is the lone athlete not from the United States in the field. The Canadian makes his debut in the division after being a perennial Games competitor in the 45-49 division. Tasaka has four Games appearances, three in the 45-49 division and one as a member of a team. He has two career event wins at the Games. In the AGOQ, Tasaka recorded two top-five finishes including a runner-up finish in event three.
- Jarrod Newman receives his second Games invitation after placing eighth in the AGOQ. His first Games appearance was in 2017, when he competed in the 45-49 division, placing 12th. Newman recorded an event win in event three of the AGOQ.
- Ken Whitlock will make his Games debut this year after tying for ninth in the AGOQ. Whitlock, a former Regionals team athlete, recorded three top-ten finishes in the AGOQ including a second place and third place.
- Kevin Becker tied Whitlock for ninth, earning him his second Games invitation. He will make his division debut after competing in the 45-49 division at the 2017 Games, placing tenth. Becker recorded two top-ten finishes in the AGOQ.
Outside looking in: Lon Allen, Jody Hendrix, Michael Ives, Jeffrey Tincher and Mike Wassmer are the next five athletes outside the cutline. Hendrix, a two-time Games qualifier in the division, placed fourth in Madison last year. Tincher is also a two-time Games athlete competing in the 45-49 division, finishing second at the 2014 Games. Lon Allen, who recorded an event win in the AGOQ, is the next person in line for a Games invite if anyone falls below the cutline.
Women’s 50-54 division: The women’s division will see seven new faces including five making their Games debut. The field is mainly made up of athletes from North America, including seven Americans.
- Joyanne Cooper captured her first AGOQ title after tying for second last year. The Canadian was consistent throughout the AGOQ, placing in the top-ten in five of the six events. Cooper receives her fifth Games invitation and second-straight in the division. Last year she placed third in Madison where she had three top-three finishes to propel her to her first career podium finish. From 2014-2016 she competed at the Games in the 45-49 division.
- Tia Vesser returns for her second-straight Games appearance. Last year she placed seventh at the Games in the division where she recorded three top-five finishes, including tying for the event win in the “2-Rep Overhead Squat” event. Visser finished just eight points behind Cooper in the AGOQ standings. Her second place finish this year improved on her fourth place AGOQ finish in 2019. She won the final event from the AGOQ for the second straight year, winning event six this year. Along with the event win, she also recorded two second place finishes in the AGOQ.
- Deanna Hoffman receives her first career Games invite after placing third in the AGOQ. She recorded four top-ten finishes in the AGOQ including a fourth place finish in event four.
- Zoe Stewart will represent the United Kingdom in her first Games appearance. She already has a championship in the division after winning this past February at Wodapalooza in dominating fashion, winning three of the seven events. In the AGOQ she recorded two top-five finishes.
- Laurie Granata finished second behind Stewart at Wodapalooza in the 50-54 division. Like Stewart, she will also make her Games debut. At Wodapalooza she recorded five top-five finishes in her runner-up performance. In the AGOQ, she finished with two top-ten finishes.
- Erika Benavides makes her Games return after a four year hiatus. She placed sixth in the AGOQ thanks to three top-ten finishes including an event win. Benavides had back-to-back Games appearances in 2016 and 2016, competing in the 45-49 division, placing eighth both times.
- Cindy Hinkle joins Stewart and Granata as athletes in the division who are making their Games debut after competing at Wodapalooza. Hinkle placed fourth in Wodapalooza thanks to four top-five finishes. In the AGOQ, Hinkle won event four.
- Marianne HØjbjerg will represent her home country of Denmark in her Games debut. She recorded two top-ten finishes in the AGOQ, including a sixth place finish in the opening event.
- Tara Blankenship returns to the Games after last competing in the 45-49 division in 2015. She placed 13th in her only Games appearance.
- Claudia Jacober tied for the final Games spot but gets the invitation due to the tiebreaker. The tiebreaker was her third place finish in event six which was higher than any of Maricruz Prieto’s finishes. Jacober competes for the second time at the Games in the division. In 2018, she placed 18th at the Games. In the AGOQ, she recorded two top-ten finishes.
Outside looking in: Prieto, Alexia Fineman, Chris Nelson, Kristi Lunny and Annamaria Lopez are the next five athletes outside the cutline. Prieto is the next athlete up if any of the top-ten fall below the cutline after the video review. She has competed in the last two Games in the 50-54 division, placing fifth last year after a seventh place finish in the AGOQ. Fineman is in the same position as Prieto, just one point behind Jacober. Fineman has appeared in the last three Games in the division, finishing eighth last year. Nelson was the runner-up in the division at the Games last year, her second silver medal finish in as many appearances. At the 2015 Games, Nelson placed second in the 45-49 division. Lunny has four Games appearances, her last trip was at the 2018 Games.