The Unstoppable Women of CrossFit: 14 Masters Athletes to Watch in 2021

May 4, 2021 by
Photo Courtesy of CrossFit LLC
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As the sport of CrossFit has aged, so have the original athletes who once dominated the field at the CrossFit Games. However, perhaps one of the more unique elements of the sport of fitness, is its prominent and active community of masters competitors, giving athletes the ability to continue competing in the sport as they age.

One big thing: In the past three years, one of the most exciting developments in the masters division, is the return of popular Games athletes from the early days of CrossFit to the competition floor. 

  • Most notably, however, seems to be the women who have proven over the years that age is just a number. 
  • As they’ve aged out of their individual careers and moved on to other ventures in their life, many have still returned each year to the competition floor to prove their fitness once again in their age division. This year is no exception. 
  • A quick glance at the list of athletes registered for the Age Group Online Qualifier (AGOQ) reveals several former top level Games competitors ready to make their mark in the masters division.

The details: Each of these women experienced success as athletes in the individual division (and some continue to do so). Here’s a quick snapshot of each women’s competitive resume:

Carleen Matthews: Age 37 (35-39 Division)

  • Open Finish: 84th
  • 3 Individual Games Appearances
    • 2015: 36th
    • 2016: 23rd
    • 2017: 38th
  • 1 Masters Games Appearance
    • 2019: 2nd (35-39)

Alessandra Pichelli: Age 35 (35-39 Division)

  • Open Finish: 7th
  • 7 Individual Games Appearances, 1 Team Appearance
    • 2012 (Team): 3rd
    • 2013: 4th
    • 2014: 23rd
    • 2015: 32nd
    • 2016: 9th
    • 2017: 11th
    • 2018: 14th
    • 2019: 13th

Annie Sakamoto: Age 45 (45-49 Division)

  • Open Finish: 2nd
  • 2 Individual Games Appearances, 1 Team Appearance
    • 2009 (Team): 33rd
    • 2011: 9th (Spirit of the Games Recipient)
    • 2012: 23rd

Kelly Jackson: Age 37 (35-39 Division)

  • Open Finish: 6th
  • 2 Individual Games Appearances, 1 Team Appearance
    • 2014: 27th
    • 2015: 37th
    • 2016 (Team): 23rd

Kristin Holte: Age 35 (35-39 Division)

  • Open Finish: 1st – Not Yet Registered For AGOQ
  • 7 Individual Games Appearances
    • 2014: 16th
    • 2015: 17th
    • 2016: 12th
    • 2017: 7th
    • 2018: 7th
    • 2019: 2nd
    • 2020: 6th

Samantha Briggs: Age 39 (35-39 Division)

  • Open Finish: 3rd – Not Yet Registered For AGOQ
  • Individual Games Appearances, 2 Masters Appearances
    • 2010: 19th
    • 2011: 4th
    • 2013: 1st
    • 2015: 4th
    • 2016: 4th
    • 2017: 9th
    • 2018: 2nd (35-39 Division)
    • 2019: 18th
    • 2020: 25th

Whitney Gelin: Age 36 (35-39 Division)

  • Open Finish: 39th – Not Yet Registered For AGOQ
  • 3 Individual Games Appearances
    • 2015: 19th
    • 2017: 26th
    • 2018: 28th

Rebecca Voigt Miller: Age 40 (40-44 Division) – All Time Record Holder For The Most CrossFit Games Appearances 

  • Open Finish: 2nd 
  • 10 Individual Games Appearances, 2 Masters Appearance
    • 2008: 7th
    • 2009: 20th
    • 2010: 7th
    • 2011: 3rd
    • 2012: 10th
    • 2013: 11th
    • 2014: 24th (Spirit of the Games Recipient)
    • 2015: 31st
    • 2016: 35th
    • 2017: 3rd (35-39 Division)
    • 2018: 27th
    • 2019: 3rd (35-39 Division)

Val Voboril: Age 42 (40-44 Division)

  • Open Finish: 6th – Not Yet Registered For AGOQ
  • 6 Individual Games Appearances
    • 2009: 44th
    • 2010: 5th
    • 2012: 3rd
    • 2013: 3rd
    • 2014: 5th
    • 2017: 32nd

Jennifer Smith: Age 34 (35-39 Division)

  • Open Finish: 26th – Not Yet Registered For AGOQ
  • 3 Individual Games Appearances, 3 Team Appearances
    • 2010: 44th (Team)
    • 2012: 19th (Team)
    • 2013: 22nd
    • 2016: 36th
    • 2018: 36th
    • 2019: 6th (Team)

Alethea Boon: Age 37 (35-39 Division)

  • Open Finish: 23rd – Not Yet Registered For AGOQ
  • 3 Individual Games Appearances, 1 Team Appearance, 1 Masters Appearance
    • 2014: 6th (Team)
    • 2015: 20th
    • 2016: 40th
    • 2017: 21st
    • 2018: 5th (35-39 Division)

Anna Tobias: Age 38 (35-39 Division)

  • Open Finish: 24th – Not Yet Registered For AGOQ
  • 5 Individual Games Appearances, 2 Masters Appearances
    • 2013: 9th
    • 2014: 22nd
    • 2015: 22nd
    • 2016: 10th
    • 2017: 25th
    • 2018: 1st (35-39 Division)
    • 2019: 1st (35-39 Division)

Stacie Tovar: Age 36 (35-39 Division)

  • Open Finish: 36th – Not Yet Registered For AGOQ
  • 7 Individual Games Appearances
    • 2009: 36th
    • 2010: 14th
    • 2011: 37th
    • 2012: 12th
    • 2013: 20th
    • 2015: 11th
    • 2016: 28th
    • 2017: 27th

Cheryl Nasso: Age 35 (35-39 Division)

  • Open Finish: 191st – Not Yet Registered For AGOQ
  • 2 Individual Games Appearances, 1 Team Appearance
    • 2011: 42nd
    • 2015: 17th (Team)
    • 2019: 39th

Cheryl Brost: Age 49 (50-54 Division)

  • Open Finish: 2nd – Not Yet Registered For AGOQ
  • 3 Individual Games Appearances, 5 Masters Appearances
    • 2010: 13th
    • 2011: 7th
    • 2012: 15th
    • 2014: 2nd (40-44 Division)
    • 2015: 4th (40-44 Division)
    • 2016: 1st (45-49 Division)
    • 2017: 1st (45-49 Division)
    • 2019: 7th (45-49 Division)

Beyond the numbers: Perhaps what is most impressive about these women is not just their history or notoriety in the sport, but their drive to keep competing despite not only changes in their personal and professional lives, but also major changes to the landscape of competitive CrossFit.

  • Not only do the CrossFit Games look incredibly different from when athletes like Val Voboril and Stacie Tovar first competed in 2009, but their lives look incredibly different as well.
  • Since beginning their careers, they’ve had children, started businesses, and inspired and coached hundreds of people in their fitness journeys.

The big picture: Perhaps the most important thing we can learn from these women is perseverance and determination. Despite many of them moving on to other priorities in their lives as the years progressed and their individual careers came to a close, they all have managed to keep a slice of that competitive spirit within them and persevered through training, even if they had to squeeze in 1 session a day at 5:30 am to accommodate their now busy lives, to return to the floor each year for another round under the bright lights.

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