Four Teens Crowned Champions at The Pit Elite Teen Throwdown
It wasn’t originally planned out this way, but the CrossFit Games teenage division got their closure on Sunday in an officially licensed event. Those who were able to travel to the sprawling complex of the Pit Fitness Ranch in Three Rivers, Michigan to participate in the Elite Teen Throwdown were given exactly that over three days and 11 scored events. Keegan New and Olivia Kerstetter were the winners of the boys and girls 14-15 year old division while Tudor Magda and Mal O’Brien took home their respective titles in the 16-17 year old division.
Boys: New, a local kid who trains at the Pit Fitness Ranch, held just a one-point lead over Dillon Cannon heading into the final event of the afternoon, appropriately named “The Pit”. The workout consisted of a calorie buy-in on the Rogue Echo Bike before doing five rounds of ten devil presses and ten dumbbell squats. Cannon was the first off the bike and held a slight lead over New after two rounds. New didn’t break form and maintained his frantic pace, chipping away before overtaking Cannon in the third round. New ended up finishing second behind Landen Ryan while Cannon finished fourth, securing New’s title.
- The 15-year old New earned himself an early birthday present with his first career CrossFit competition title thanks in part to three event wins and nine top-two finishes. His worst finish during the weekend was a fifth place.
- Among New’s event victories was a final deadlift of 435 pounds to win the deadlift ladder. New also won the “Death by Weightlifting” event which included a combination of max snatch and clean and jerk.
- Cannon finished in second place, three points behind New. He had three event wins and eight top-three finishes.
- Ryan finished third in the competition’s most closely contested division, finishing just five points behind New. Ryan had five event wins to lead the division.
- Canadian Andrew Martin, who traveled nearly 24 hours to attend the competition, was named the division’s “Spirit of the Competition” recipient.
Girls: Kerstetter might have had her first career trip to the Games cancelled due to the pandemic but showed she is a future force to be reckoned with in the teen division for the next three years. One of the youngest athletes in the field, she was able to stand atop the podium in a stacked field that included 2019 Games athlete Sophie Shaft. A protege of Jacob Heppner, Kerstetter completed her successful season with the competition win after a fourth place finish at Wodapalooza, fourth place in the Open and sixth place in the AGOQ.
- Kerstetter had four event wins including winning the deadlift ladder with a lift of 335 LBs. She ended the competition with an event win in “The Pit” to beat Shaft by eight points.
- Shaft bounced back after struggling during the first day of competition to string together five event wins in the last seven events.
- Jadzia Onorati-Phillips overcame Rebekah Devine in the final event to gain the final spot on the podium by one point.
- Devine had two event wins, including a tie with Shaft on the “Boot Hill Cemetery” event which was highlighted by a 200-meter run up a steep hill with a 30 LB sandbag.
- Devine was also named the recipient of the division’s “Spirit of the Competition”.
- Emily Meyer finished sixth on the heels of winning both endurance events.
Boys: Magda had to work to earn his final competition victory as a teen athlete. Anthony Re held a two point lead heading into the final day of competition despite a momentus charge by Magda on day two. Magda had four-straight event wins over the course of Saturday and Sunday. A 12th place finish by Re in the opening event of Sunday coupled with a Magda victory was the deciding factor in the division race.
- Magda finished with five event wins and ten top-three finishes. Among his victories were a 485 LB deadlift to win the ladder and winning the “Death by Weightlifting” thanks to a snatch of 276 LBs.
- Re won the final two events to give him four overall for the weekend.
- Daniel Kuc, a 2018 Games qualifier, rounded out the podium finishing just one point behind Re. He finished with two event wins.
- Will Campbell was named the recipient of the division’s “Spirit of the Competition”.
Girls: O’Brien stood atop the leaderboard after the second event of the competition and never looked back as she won by 20 points over runner-up Paulina Haro. The two-time Games athlete won five events and looked fully recovered from injuries that kept her from competing in this year’s Open.
- O’Brien won three of the final four events, not easing up as she won the last event of the competition.
- Haro had four event wins including a victory in the “Death by Weightlifting” event.
- Haro along with Dariana Rosales from the 14-15 year old division had to quarantine with their families in Michigan for 14 days prior to the competition.
- Chloe Honaker used a runner-up finish in the final event to overcome Lexi Neely for the final spot on the podium.
- Sarah Schaefer tied O’Brien for the win in the deadlift ladder with a lift of 335 LBs.
- Sophia DiGregorio won the opening event, “The Tri”, finishing the 250 meter swim and 2.5 mile run in 24:09.
- Jordan Szewc was the top finisher in the division in one of the most grueling events of the weekend, the “Strongman METCON”, which consisted of a run, sled pulls, farmers carries and a paddleboard.
- Grace Lochner was named the recipient of the division’s “Spirit of the Competition”.
Final Thoughts from the Winners
- O’Brien: “This competition was very similar to the Games. Four events a day for two days in a row is definitely rough. My body is feeling it and it felt very similar to how my body felt when I competed at the Games. I feel we were tested in everything that we would have been tested if there was a Games this year.”
- New: “This was a very enjoyable competition. It was a great balance in the programming. I enjoyed the heavy lifts obviously because I won those events. I think this competition showed me that I’m ready for the Games next year. I can’t wait for next year and earn my way there.”
- Shaft: “It was a really good test of fitness. A lot of different movements were thrown in which is good compared to the Games last year. Overall this event was set up pretty well.”
- Magda: “What a great competition. The environment the organizers created really was catered to the teen division and they definitely knew what they were doing. The Athlete Village they created for us was relaxing and forced us to get to know each other outside the competition floor. This was an exclamation mark to the season for all of us who worked hard to get to this point.”