Wodapalooza 2022: Teen Division Preview

January 10, 2022 by
Photo Credit: Ava Kitzi
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With an influx of Games teen alumni making it to the individual division and showing up in big ways, the current teen athletes show an exciting sneak-peek at the future of the CrossFit Games. As the sport grows with the youngest generation of athletes and competitive rivalries develop, we’ve compiled exciting up and comers to keep an eye on at Wodapalooza.

13-15 Boys

  • The 2021 CrossFit Games 14-15 Boys champ Ty Jenkins, is looking to continue his winning streak in Miami with training from CrossFit Mayhem. Jenkins bypassed the qualifier, receiving an invitation from Wodapalooza.
  • Kaiden Hogan, who took 8th at the 2021 Games, made a big splash by winning Event 1, the 3.75-mile run for his age group in just 22:46. Just a month later at the Pit Elite Teen Throwdown, Hogan ran away with the win in the 14-15 Boys category with five top-two finishes out of seven events. Hogan’s dynamic and charismatic performance makes him fun to watch on the competition floor whether it’s an event in his wheelhouse like running, or going after a max lift.
Photo Credit: Ava Kitzi
  • 14-year-old RJ Mestre will be the heir-apparent to the 14-15 Boys throne at the 2022 Games, as the highest-ranked of the younger end of the division last year in Madison taking 5th place. At the Pit in September, Mestre was the only athlete able to give Hogan a run for his money, showing strong potential and special promise in heavy metcons, including the Games’ finale with 135 pound/61kg thrusters, which he won by nearly 10 seconds.  

13-15 Girls

  • Lucy McGonigle, a 14-year-old rookie out of England at the 2021 Games, stunned the field with an impressive second place finish. As one of only four 14-year-olds in the division last year, McGonigle and her consistent performance last August – with no finish outside the top 12 – will look to continue the streak in Miami. 
  • A longtime powerhouse in the teen division, Gigi Sabatini, stepped out of the competition scene in place of committing to Yale University for gymnastics, but just 13-year-old little sister Caroline Sabatini, has already shown she’ll follow in her sister’s footsteps. In the Wodapalooza Online Qualifier, Sabatini placed second and demonstrated a strong aptitude for gymnastics-heavy events. 
  • Delaney Wade made history as the first female CrossFit Games athlete with Type-1 Diabetes in 2021 in the 14-15 Girls division, where she finished 12th. Wade made some big improvements over the offseason, placing 4th in the Wodapalooza qualifier in her last few months in the younger teen division. 

16-18 Boys

  • French native Victor Hoffer might not have a Games appearance under his belt, but the 18-year-old is fresh off a championship at the International Functional Fitness Federation World Championships, where he represented France in the Juniors division. Hoffer took a podium placement in every single event, including the bodyweight and mixed modality tests, and backed it up with a runaway win in the Wodapalooza qualifier over a stacked field.
  • Elias Simburger suffered a rib injury at his rookie CrossFit Games in 2021 – and still finished 5th in the 16-17 Boys division. Simburger had strong finishes in Madison across modalities, including a second place finish in the max snatch event at 255 pounds/115kg, and two third place events including Event Two, with legless rope climbs. He also finished 7th at the 2019 Games.
  • Brazilian Miguel Buzza Roo has become a local celebrity in rural Michigan, and along with varsity wrestler and 2019 Games athlete Azariah Price, the pair will travel to Miami to compete in the 16-18 division and represent the Pit Fitness Ranch. With back-to-back finishes in 7th place for Price and 8th for Buzza Roo, the Games athletes have different strengths, Price leaning more towards heavy lifting and Buzza Roo gaining more ground with longer metcons, the pair of friends will be an exciting fight to watch. 
Photo Credit: Ava Kitzi

16-18 Girls

  • Paulina Haro will make her last major competition appearance in the teen division after three years competing at the Games – including a silver medal in 2021 – and qualifying in 2020 before the season was canceled for the teens. Haro is well known for her strength, snatching 197 pounds/89kg at 17-years-old in Madison last summer. When a heavy barbell shows up in Miami, Haro is the clear choice for the event win. 
  • Emma Gardner has spent her entire CrossFit career under the eye of Comptrain coach Ben Bergeron at CrossFit New England and top athletes including Katrin Davidsdottir. At 18-years-old, Gardner is one of the training camp’s premier athletes, but an ankle injury kept her out of competing during the 2021 Games season. 
Photo Credit: Ava Kitzi
  • Sophie Shaft has recently gained traction in the CrossFit world at just 16-years-old. The Misfit Athletics athlete has PR’d just about every lift since the Games without even being on a strength cycle. In addition to her 200 pound/90kg snatch, Shaft also boasts a long background in gymnastics and American Ninja Warrior.

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