Masters Fitness Collective Championship Steps Up With Four-Day Competition

August 18, 2020 by
Photo Credit: CrossFit Games
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Over 100 masters division athletes will converge on Fort Wayne, IN August 20-23 for the Masters Fitness Collective Championships hoping to put a bow on their 2020 CrossFit season. With the cancellation of the Age Group divisions at this year’s CrossFit Games, the organizers of the Collective came together in May to start planning to hold an event for those athletes who were denied a chance to compete.

The divisions: Athletes are spread across 13 divisions with six divisions each for men and women. The organizers are also introducing a 65+ division which will feature both men and women.

35-39 divisions

  • Men: Kevin Jones heads into the competition as the favorite after placing ninth in this year’s CrossFit Games Age Group Online Qualifier. In 2018 he made his Games debut, finishing 18th. Kyle Ruth is a four-time individual Regional athlete, placing as high as fourth at the 2013 Mid-Atlantic Regional. Rhin Bourgeois (39 years old) and Ryon Anderson (38 years old) are among the older athletes in the division but were successful in the AGOQ finishing 57th and 74th respectively.
  • Women: Six of the eight women competing placed in the top-50 of the AGOQ. Briana Gaipa is a four-time Regional veteran who placed seventh in the AGOQ. Rachel Green just missed out of a top-ten AGOQ finish, placing 12th. Shannon Zimmerman has competed in five Regionals including three as an individual before becoming a Masters athlete. April Payne competed in the 2018 Central Regionals as an individual before finishing 14th in this year’s AGOQ. Samantha Stine also competed at the 2018 Central Regionals but on a team. Ashley Watkins finished 46th in the AGOQ.

40-44 divisions

  • Men: Three athletes in this field have competed as masters athletes at the Games. Tony Kurz is among the favorites after a strong 2020 season. A member of the Army Warrior Fitness Team and an Army Special Forces Lieutenant Colonel collected two Sanctional titles this year in the 40-44 Masters division, winning at Strength in Depth in London, England before taking the title at the Wodapalooza CrossFit Festival. Last year he placed eighth at the Games in his debut after winning the 2019 AGOQ. Heath Moody finished third in this year’s AGOQ after a runner-up finish in 2019 to Kurz to earn his first Games invite. Mike Kern is a three-time Games masters athlete, placing second at the 2016 Games. Art Hamilton was the United States champion in the age group in this year’s CrossFit Open. Danny Hale placed second behind Hamilton in the Open.
  • Women: This division features three Games veterans led by Jenn Ryan. Ryan has appeared at the Games twice on a team and competed in the 35-39 division in 2019. This year she won the divisions AGOQ. Laura Nielsen earned her first Games invite at the 2018 Games. Like Nielsen, Sara Blunck has appeared at the Games once, she competed at the 2017 Games in the 35-39 division. Both Nielsen and Blunck placed in the top-five in this year’s AGOQ. Michelle Benedict placed 14th in the AGOQ.

45-49 divisions

  • Men: This division features nine men looking to earn their way unto the podium. Michael Paesano highlights the group thanks to his 98th Open placing in the division. He later placed 16th in the AGOQ.
  • Women: Julie Rappaport competed at the 2017 Games before placing sixth in this year’s AGOQ. Kelly Edelmann appeared at the 2015 and 2017 Games. April Lowe trumps them both with multiple Games appearances as a masters athlete. Mollie Pate is a veteran of two Regionals as an individual competitor. Carol Mezen placed 12th in the AGOQ.

50-54 divisions

  • Men: This division features another stacked field led by two-time Masters champion and four-time podium finisher Ron Ortiz. Ortiz has eight Games appearances under his championship belt. 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. Kevin Becker made his lone Games appearance in 2017, competing in the 45-49 division. Logan Clarke saw his first Games appearance taken away due to the cancellation after finishing sixth in the AGOQ. Like Clarke, Lon Allen was preparing for his first Games appearance after finishing tenth in the AGOQ.
  • Women: This division could be the most competitive as all eight women finished in the top-35 of the AGOQ. Tia Vesser was atop the AGOQ leaderboard, building upon a 2019 season that saw her earn her first Games appearance. Deanna Hoffman finished third in the AGOQ and was preparing for her first trip to the Games before it was cancelled. Rose Wall placed seventh at the 2018 Games in the division.

55-59 divisions

  • Men: Jeff Goebel is a two-time Games athlete in the 50-54 division before winning the AGOQ this year. Jody Clements, who placed third in the AGOQ, also competed alongside Goebel at the 2015 Games in the 50-54 division. Chris Podesto, Tom Fameree and Patrick Sprague have all made Games appearances as masters athletes.
  • Women: Laurie Meschishnick is the lone 2019 Games champion in the entire field. The Canadian and seven-time Games qualifier won the 55-59 division in dominating fashion, winning two events enroute to a 90-point victory. For her career, she has four podium finishes and has finished in the top-ten in all seven of her Games appearances. Linda Elstun has appeared in six Games as a masters athlete. Elstun comes off her best finish at the Games, placing second in her division debut at Madison last year. It was her second-straight podium finish after she placed third at the 2018 Games in the 50-54 division. Elstun has competed in three divisions after making her Games debut in 2012 in the 45-49 division.

60-64 divisions

  • Men: David Hippensteel has won three Masters titles at the Games which stretched from the 2015-2017 Games. He has finished in the top-ten in all seven of his Games appearances. Carl Giuffre made his Games rookie debut last year  and placed third in the division. Dave Hardie also competed for the first time at the 2019 Games. Ivan Blumberg, Steve Marino and Keith Williams are all top-15 finishers in this year’s AGOQ.
  • Women: Donna Bruce leads the division with four Games appearances from 2015-2018. Theresa Demich, Susan Prevoznak, Patricia Claro and Jackie Budd all placed in the top-40 in the AGOQ.

65+ Division: Mary Schwing has appeared in seven Games including winning the 2012 title of “Fittest” in the 60+ division. She has four podium finishes at the Games in her career. Ken Ogden competed at the 2018 Games.

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