Athletes to Watch at the Pit Elite Teen Throwdown

September 2, 2021 by
Photo Credit: Ava Kitzi
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The Pit Fitness Ranch is gearing up to host over 150 athletes this weekend – the largest teen-exlcusive CrossFit competition in the world. With a US Army sponsorship added to their name, the Elite Teen Throwdown was able to add six new divisions and nearly triple last year’s roster, making for some star-studded fights to look out for this weekend. 


The Throwdown has taken up a rookie division this year, aimed at teens with less than a year of experience. While it will be most athletes’ first recorded competition, there’s still some standouts that could make a big splash in the future

  • Lia Murphy, out of CrossFit Humidity in South Carolina, had an impressive 11th place finish in 21.2 in the 16-17 girls division, completing all 225 reps of burpee box jump overs and dumbbell snatches. With just a single year of CrossFit under her belt, Murphy could be a formidable competitor in future years. 
  • Porter Benninghoff and Isabella Mestre, both younger siblings of formidable teen division athletes, have the competitive blood. At 14-years-old, both Benninghoff and Mestre have a year left in the youngest division, and could make serious headway on the leaderboard both at the Pit and in the Open.  
  • On the subject of sibling duos, Eliana Price not only has Games experience in her house with older brother Azariah Price, but also has been an integral part of planning for the Throwdown, as Azariah and mother Stephanie Price are a joint-team in creating the entire event.  


As part of their initiative to include more athletes and make their roster more robust, the Throwdown has added an 18-19 division to showcase athletes that have aged out of the Games teen division. Not only will this be a chance for 2020 Games qualifiers, who were cut due to COVID, to finally get some elite competition under their belt, but will also present an interesting race , as these athletes are currently in their attempt to bridge the gap between teen and individual division, a jump that very few teens make. 

  • Jack Hoffmister and Marcello Clairzio tied for 6th in the 16-17 division of the Elite Teen Throwdown last year, and now will face off in the oldest division. 
  • Out of CrossFit New England, Emma Gardner is a long-time AGOQ athlete who, after recovering from a broken ankle, could make headway in the individual division in the coming years.
  • Maggie Pairan has top-notch mentoring at CrossFit Cornerstone in Sam Briggs. The 18-year-old placed 23rd in the Individual division at the 2021 Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Championship, and could have a bright future ahead of her under the watchful eye of the seven-time Games vet. 


  • Logan Jeune just narrowly missed Games qualification in 2020 – he placed 22nd in the AGOQ, but has since made training approach changes, potentially giving the known big names in the division a run for their money. Jeune trains at CrossFit New England, and showed impressive improvements between 2020 and 2021, from 838th in the 2020 Open to 27th in 2021. 
  • RJ Mestre is the biggest name in the 14-15 age bracket, coming off of a 5th place finish at the CrossFit Games, the highest placing 14-year-old, and a final event win in the Coliseum. With one year left in the youngest division, Mestre needs to set a new precedent for the 2022 season, and the Pit gives him the perfect opportunity to do so. 
Photo Credit: Ava Kitzi
  • Emily Meyer has recently started worked under the watchful eye of Jacob Heppner with training partner and 2021 14-15 Games champ Olivia Kerstetter, and has a newly minted 5th place finish at the Games. With a background in high school swimming and a 1st place finish in the Games swim event, Meyer is a force to be reckoned with at the Pit. 
  • Emma Heck has powerhouse potential, boasting a 215-pound clean at just 14-years-old. With a 63rd place finish in her first year of Games qualification, Heck has room to grow and a big stage for the first time since the AGOQ in May. 


  • Nate Ackermann might just be the biggest story to come out of the Pit, straight out of a top of the podium finish in the 16-17 division. While Ackermann originally planned on taking a training break following the Games, he jumped straight back into training after just two days, keeping up the momentum for the Throwdown. As he ages out of the teen division, Ackermann is looking to set a precedent for his future in the individual division. 
Photo Credit: Ava Kitzi
  • Miguel Buzza Roo has made a big sacrifice, leaving behind his home in Brazil and staying in Three Rivers, MI to train for the Pit. While the change in surroundings has assuredly been a transition, there’s something to say for teen training camps. Buzza Roo placed 13th in the 16-17 division at the Games, with a fourth place finish in Event 7, with bar muscle ups, double unders, and ski-erg. 
  • Chloe Honaker has a long history with the teen division, with two Games appearances and a representing athlete for the USA Functional Fitness Federation. At her last Games in the teen division, Honaker placed 9th in the 16-17 division of the 2021 Games with two top-5 finishes. 
  • Rebekah Devine is competing on familiar turf in her home state of Michigan, and has veteran experience from a 3rd place finish at the Pit last year. Coming off of a 10th place finish in Madison this year, Devine took some needed time off and is now back and ready for a tight competition at the Teen Throwdown. 

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