Six Sensational Masters Stories From the AGOQ
The Masters Divisions are littered with incredible performances and mind-boggling achievements. But even amongst those, there are a few special individuals, accomplishments, and storylines which shine even brighter. On the heels of the Age Group Online Qualifiers, we are highlighting six of the most intriguing things happening in the Masters divisions this year.
Ron Ortiz and Will Powell on the Precipice of History
- Both Ron Ortiz and Will Powell could accomplish something no other Masters athlete has yet to do. If either, or both, men win the Games this summer they will become the first Masters athlete to win in three different age divisions.
- Ortiz has been to the Games eight times (also qualified for the CFG20). He’s a two time champion, winning the 45-49 year old division in 2013 and the 50-54 year old division in 2016. He is the young man in his division this year and sits in first place following the AGOQ.
- Powell, like Ortiz, is a Masters stalwart. He’s been to every Games (with a Masters competition) since 2013. He won his first title in the 50-54 age group in 2014, his last year of eligibility in that division. He aged into the 55-59 year old division the following year and won there in both 2015 and 2016. Last year was his first year of eligibility for the 60-64 year old division (which he qualified for the CFG20), so he missed this opportunity then. He’s in second place following the AGOQ, but he’ll be the one to beat come the week of the Games this summer.
Janet Black vs Annie Sakamoto vs Karen McCadams… Again
- These three women are probably just as sick of competing against each other as they are grateful for the way they have pushed each other to be better throughout their careers. Currently Black is in first, Sakamoto is in second, and McCadams is in 17th following the AGOQ, but history at the Games tell a different story.
- Sakamoto has only competed as a Masters athlete twice at the Games, 2016 and 2017. In 2016 she took second place (behind Helen Harding who was the most dominant athlete in this division but is not competing this year). Black was third that year while McCadams took sixth. In 2017, it was McCadams who placed second, while Sakamoto took third, and Black placed sixth (Harding also won that year).
- Despite the fact that Sakamoto beat Black in both of those seasons (and it should also be noted that Sakamoto is two years younger than Black), she has never won at the Games, while Black is a two time champion (2015 and 2019 both in the 45-49 year old division). Could this be the year Sakamoto finally wins at the Games? Or will one of her closest rivals keep her off the top spot yet again?
Shaun Havard and David Hippensteel Poised to Bolster Career as Inaugural 65+ Masters Champs?
- With the introduction of the new Masters division this year (the 65+ age group) we have a new opportunity for two historically dominant athletes to not just become the inaugural champions of this division, but to add to their already illustrious career accomplishments.
- Shaun Harvard is currently first following the AGOQ, and in her last three Games appearances (2018, 2017, and 2016) she placed first, second, and first respectively (all in the then 60+ age division).
- David Hippensteel might be well-known for his long hair and impressive muscle-ups by some, but he is also a back-to-back to back Games champion spanning the 2016 to 2018 seasons. He’s currently in second, but like Powell will line-up as the favorite in Madison later this year.
The Oldest Games Athletes: Mary Schwing and Clarke Holland
- On the other end of the spectrum in this division are the athletes who get to help us (yet again) redefine what the limits of age are. At 69 years old Mary Schwing and Clarke Holland are the oldest athletes in qualifying spots following the AGOQ this year.
- Schwing has been in this position before. In fact, she’s qualified for the 60+ age division seven previous years, including winning the division in 2012, taking second in 2014, and placing third in both 2013 and 2015. She likely won’t add another podium finish to her resume this year, but she is making a strong case for a 70+ age division in the future.
- Holland is a six-time Games veteran himself with a career best finish of sixth in 2013. Like Schwing, he’s only ever qualified in the 60+ age division and his first year was in 2012.
The Undefeated Susan Clarke Sets Out to Make it 5 for 5
- No other Games athlete has lined up as often as Suan Clarke at the CrossFit Games and never lost. She’s only been to the Games four times (2014, 2015, 2017, and 2019), but she is an unprecedented four for four in terms of championships. The first three wins were in the 55-59 year old division, her most recent one (2019) was in the 60+ age group which makes her the defending champion of that division. In her most recent championship, she also happened to win every workout and score a perfect 700 points. Speaking of defending champions…
Here to Defend Their Titles Two Years Later: Jason Grubb, Kevin Koester, Janet Black, Susan Clarke, and Laurie Meschisnick
- Due to the global crisis surrounding COVID last year we lost a year of Masters competition to history. What that means for this year is that the champions from 2019 are the defending champions. In some cases the winners from 2019 have aged up, and a couple others (Black and Clarke) we’ve already mentioned. Like those two, Jason Grubb (Men 40-44), Kevin Koester* (Men 50-54), and Laurie Meschisnick (Women 55-59) they are all poised to try and defend their title.
- Of the three only Meschisnick sits in first place following the AGOQ, and she’s probably the most likely to pull off the repeat. In addition to her 2019 title, she was second in 2018 and 2011, and third in 2015.
- Grubb currently sits in fourth, while Koester is in fifth, but both men will rely on their experience at the Games to help propel them back to the top of the podium in Madison.
(*Koester is actually the two time defending champion in this age division having also won it in 2018.)