Masters Women Podium Contenders
In just a few days, the masters ladies will take the floor at the CrossFit Games for the first time in over a year. After last year’s global pandemic led to the cancellation of the masters divisions at the Games, those athletes are hungry to get back out on the floor.
- P.S. All age group divisions will be broadcast live. Here’s how to watch.
Looking at the ladies field, fans can expect to see one of the strongest years yet. With former Games athletes like Alethea Boone, Cheryl Nasso, Whitney Gelin just to name a few, the competition will be fierce. Here are our top picks for the podium in the ladies masters division.
35-39: Podium Contenders (in no particular order)
- Whitney Gelin: This will be Gelin’s 4th trip to the Games but first masters appearance, and she could end up on the podium. While she finished 17th in the AGOQ, it’s important not to overlook her three years of individual Games experience.
- Alethea Boone: In 2019, Boone took 5th in the 35-39 division. This year, the five time CrossFit Games veteran is looking to crack that podium position after a 4th place finish in the AGOQ.
- Cheryl Nasso: Cheryl Nasso has already competed at the Games three times, twice as an individual (2011 and 2019) and once on a team (2015). In 2019, the 36-year-old (34 at the time) qualified again as an individual woman in the Games, just one year before she was slated to move up into the masters division. Despite her 20th place finish in the AGOQ, her Games and competition experience cannot be ignored as she contends for a podium position.
- April Payne: Despite the chaotic season of 2020, Payne still came through to win the Masters Fitness Championship. Despite not making it the previous two seasons, she still would have qualified in a 20 person field. Not only that, but she competed in Semifinals at the Granite Games this past season, giving her the experience she needs to potentially podium.
- Briana Gaipa: While she hasn’t been to the Games as an individual, Gaipa has had an impressive past few years competing in the 35-39 division. This year, she took third place in the AGOQ after coming in second at the Masters Fitness Collective in 2020. She also has four regionals appearances under her belt from 2015-2018, making her no stranger to competition.
- Kelley Jackson: Three-time Games athlete Kelley Jackson is making her masters debut this year. Despite finishing 16th in the AGOQ, her experience on the floor makes her a strong contender for a shot at the podium.
40-44: Podium Contenders (in no particular order)
- Rebecca Voigt-Miller: While she finished outside the top three in the AGOQ this year, it’s tough to overlook the more than ten years of Games experience she brings to the table, having competed in every CrossFit Games since 2008*. All eyes will be on Voigt-Miller this year to see if she can utilize her years of experience to claim herself a podium position.
- Rachel Green: After coming in 41st in North America and 78th worldwide in the open and competing in the individual quarterfinals, Green went on to dominate the 40-44 division in the AGOQ, taking first place overall.
- Kelly Friel: In her fourth consecutive year, chasing a third consecutive podium finish, Kelly Friel was extremely dominant during the AGOQ this year, finishing just one workout outside of the top three.
- Stephanie Roy: This will be Roy’s fifth appearance and with two championships already under her belt, she is an extremely strong contender and is hungry to stand on the podium.
45-49: Podium Contenders (in no particular order)
- Annie Sakamoto: Long time CrossFit athlete and former individual Games competitor, Annie Sakamoto will be making her third appearance in the masters division this year and going for her third podium finish.
- Janet Black: Black is a seven-year CrossFit Games masters athlete and the 2019 45-49 women’s champion. After dominating the AGOQ this year, she is looking to reclaim her title this summer out in Madison.
- Jennifer Dieter: Dieter has been competing in CrossFit for over nine years now and has competed in every Games as a masters athlete since 2015*. While she has never been able to crack the podium position, 2021 might just be the year for Dieter after her third place finish in the AGOQ.
- Lynn Cassotis: This will be Cassotis’ third year competing as a masters athlete at the Games and her first year competing in the 45-49 division. While she’s never made it onto the podium in her two years competing, her 4th place finish in the AGOQ bodes well for her fighting for that podium spot this year.
- Karen McAdam: This will be McAdam’s 6th CrossFit Games and she has never finished outside the top ten. While she had an 18th place finish in the AGOQ, she’s not one to count out as a regular rival of Black and Sakamoto in this division.
50-54: Podium Contenders (in no particular order)
- Dee Dee Hoffman and Tia Vesser: Despite the absence of a formal CrossFit sponsored masters season, the masters competed at two major events that served as fill-ins for the CrossFit Games. During these two events, Hoffman and Vesser went back and forth for first place podium positions. They then battled it out again in the AGOQ for second and third place overall. While the race will be tight, they will be fighting for the podium again this year.
- Julie Rappaport: Despite only one Games appearance before this year, Rappaport is not one to be counted out for the podium just yet. Rappaport has been CrossFitting since 2008 and in 2020 took 6th in the AGOQ, which she then followed with an impressive performance at Masters Fitness Collective before ultimately withdrawing from the competition on day three. This year, she’s back and ready to fight after finishing 4th in the AGOQ.
- Kristi Lunny: While she didn’t finish in the top three during the AGOQ, it’s hard to discount Lunny’s four years of masters experience coupled with two years of regionals experience, including 2012 when she took third at the Northeast Regional with Champlain Valley CrossFit. This year, Lunny returns to competition after a brief hiatus from competing and she’s looking to step on that podium.
55-59: Podium Contenders (in no particular order)
- Laurie Meschishnick: Meschishnick has a Games record spanning all the way back to 2012 and though she’s been competing at the Games for over seven years now, she’s not slowing down any time soon. The 57-year-old Canadian dominated the AGOQ this year and is looking to step back onto the podium and take home the gold medal for the second year in a row.
- Joanne McCullough: Last year, McCullough took second worldwide in the Open for 55-59 year olds. Despite the masters division being cancelled last year, she continued to train and took third overall in the AGOQ this year. Despite the fact that she has never been to the Games before, her rookie year looks to be a promising one after only finishing two workouts outside the top ten in the AGOQ this year.
- Linda Elstun: Elstun has competed in almost every CrossFit Games since 2012, including two finishes on the podium in 2018 and 2019. This year, she’ll head back into the 55-59 division to step onto the podium again and potentially take home the first place spot.
- Karen Lundgren: Similar to McCullough, Lundgren also had a standup year last year before cancellations, finishing third overall in the Open worldwide. This year, she took third in the AGOQ and only finished two workouts outside the top ten, making her a potential wildcard contender for that podium position.
60-64: Podium Contenders (in no particular order):
- Susan Clark: Four-time masters champion Susan Clark is back for the 2021 season and she is absolutely ready to dominate the leaderboard. After almost sweeping the 60-64 division in the AGOQ with only one workout outside of first place, Clark is an obvious contender for the podium this year.
- Patricia Failla: This will be Failla’s 7th appearance at the CrossFit Games. After two podium finishes in 2017 and 2018, including a first place in 2017 in the 60+ division, Failla is ready to step back on the podium in 2021.
- Lynn Knapman: The only masters athlete to qualify for every masters competition since its inception in 2010, Knapman is ready to fight for her podium position.
- Patricia McGill: Canadian Patricia McGill will only be competing in her second CrossFit Games this year, but her first year at the Games resulted in a second place finish overall in the 60+ division in 2019. This year, she’s looking to step back on the podium after finishing second overall in the AGOQ.
65+ Podium Contenders (in no particular order):
- Lidia Beer: This will be Beer’s 6th appearance at the Games and her first appearance back since 2017. However, her second place finish in the AGOQ proved that she is ready to fight for that podium spot again.
- Mary Schwing: Schwing has competed in every Games since 2012 (except 2019). With four podium finishes already under her belt, her third place finish in the AGOQ this year means she’s ready to step back onto the podium again this year.
- Pia Gund: With three years of experience under her belt and no finish outside the top five during any of those appearances, Gund is a strong contender for a potential podium position.
- Karin Gogolsky: This will be Gogolsky’s third appearance at the Games this year and despite a 9th place finish in the AGOQ, we can’t count Gogolsky’s experience as a Games athlete out just yet. Besides Beer, Schwing, and Gund, Gogolsky is the only female in this division with at least three years of Games experience.
2021 not only brings the return of the masters, but also the return of live in person competition, complete with the addition of broadcast for the masters and age group divisions.
- This year, the age group and adaptive divisions will be fully broadcast (with a few interruptions for scheduling conflicts between divisions) on the CrossFit Games livestream (YouTube, Games.crossfit.com, Twitch, and Facebook) with commentary provided by CrossFit’s studio team.
*Author’s note: The 2020 CrossFit Games did not have a masters division.