TYR Wodapalooza 2023: Women’s Preview

December 19, 2022 by
Photo Credit: Sara Sigmundsdóttir|furyphotography|Dani Elle Speegle(@ sarasigmunds|furyphotography| dellespeegle)
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With many perennial podium athletes competing solely in the team division, the door is wide open for up and coming elite women competitors to make a breakthrough on a the big stage at TYR Wodapalooza this January.

Several big names are competing on teams, including Mal O’Brien, Annie Thorisdottir, Laura Horvath, Brooke Wells, Gabriela Migala, Kristi Eramo O’Connell and Amanda Barnhart, just to name a few. What this does is create the perfect opportunity for individual athletes who have been knocking on the door for a while to break through and earn a spot on the podium, and a piece of the $500,000 prize purse, including $75,000 for first, $35,000 for second and $25,000 for third. 

While there’s still many yet to be announced, here’s a preview of who we’ll see in Miami for the female side based on what we know so far.

The big names

Sara Sigmundsdottir: The Icelandic veteran has to be considered the biggest name competing in Miami, FL, but she’s far from being the obvious favorite.

  • After tearing her ACL and sitting out the 2021 season, Sigmundsdottir returned to competition last season and competed at Wodapalooza, but withdrew partway through the competition after aggravating her knee on a Bear Complex event. Sigmundsdottir healed up and went on to compete at Semifinals, but narrowly missed qualifying to the CrossFit Games when she placed sixth overall. She went on to place 12th in the Last Chance Qualifier. 
  • So after being away from the CrossFit Games for the last two seasons—and placing a disappointing 21st the year before at the 2020 online pandemic Games—this year’s TYR Wodapalooza will be a chance for Sigmundsdottir to show whether or not she’s still a contender.

Emma Cary: Teen star Emma Cary, 16th in her rookie year at the 2021 CrossFit Games, will be making her debut back to competition in Miami after suffering a season ending injury last season. She will be looking to prove that she’s 100 percent again, and we can’t imagine she has her eyes on anything less than a podium finish.

Dani Speegle: Four-time CrossFit Games athlete Dani Speegle has been in the mix for a while now, but at big competitions she tends to finish in the middle of the pack. Her best CrossFit Games finish was 13th in 2020, and her lowest was 35th in 2021.

  • Always dominant on strength events, TYR Wodapalooza is the perfect test for Speegle to improve upon her fifth place finish last year and finally break through to the podium at a major off-season competition. 

Emily Rolfe: Fresh off a podium finish at the recent Dubai Fitness Championship, the three-time Games athlete showed she has completely recovered from emergency surgery for a blood clot that caused her to withdraw after the first event at last summer’s Games, and that she’s hungry for more. She’ll be looking for another podium finish in Miami.

Athletes to watch

Olivia Kerstetter: She’s only a teenager, but Olivia Kerstetter is already a two-time CrossFit Games teen champion, who recently made her individual debut at the 2022 Rogue Invitational. She placed 16th overall and proved that at 16 she can hang with women 10 to 20 years older than she is. While a podium finish might be out of Kerstetter’s reach just yet, TYR Wodapalooza should be a great learning experience for this talented teen whose career is just getting started.

Freya Moosbrugger: Another young athlete, 21-year-old Moosbrugger punched her ticket and competed at her first CrossFit Games last summer, placing 35th in her rookie debut. Most recently, Moosbrugger gained valuable competition experience—and looked a whole lot more confident—at the Dubai Fitness Championship, placing ninth overall. TYR Wodapalooza should be another great opportunity for this young Canadian to move up a few more spots and prove she belongs with the best. 

Katelin Van Zyl: A 2019 CrossFit Games athlete, Katelin Van Zyl then turned her attention to team competition for two years, competing at the Games in both 2021 and 2022 with the Australian team, CrossFit Urban Energy. TYR Wodapalooza will mark a return to individual competition for Van Zyl and a chance to showcase herself against other individual Games competitors. 

Looking for a breakthrough

Oihana Moya Oliver: For two straight seasons—2021 and 2022—the Spanish competitor Oihana Moya Oliver narrowly missed qualifying to the Games through Semifinals and went on to compete at the Last Chance Qualifier. More recently, she proved she’s a true contender when she placed fifth at the Dubai Fitness Championship, so TYR Wodapalooza might be her time for a long awaited breakthrough. 

Hanna Karlsson: Similarly, the Swedish athlete and 2019 Games competitor Hanna Karlsson, will be looking for a breakthrough in Miami after a recent strong performance at the Dubai Fitness Championship. She placed eighth overall and snagged an event win along the way. 

Sydney Wells: Although she’s best known for being eight-time CrossFit Games athlete Brooke Wells’ twin sister, Sydney, a former track and field athlete at the University of Missouri, has been slowly writing her own journey and climbing through the ranks in recent years. She was 14th at the CrossFit West Coast Classic Semifinal in 2021 and 16th at the Granite Games Semifinal in 2022, and she might just be due for a breakout performance in Miami.

Brittany Weiss: This long-time CrossFit Invictus team athlete who was third with her team at the recent CrossFit Games will be trying her hand as an individual at TYR Wodapalooza. While a totally different game competing without teammates, the 27-year-old clearly has the fitness to hang out with the field.

Lexi Neely: 19-year-old Lexi Neely is a 2018 CrossFit Games teen athlete, who went on to compete with a team in 2021 before making her individual debut in 2022. She placed a respectable 20th in her first Semifinal competition in 2022 and should be looking to make waves in Miami.

The Bottom Line: TYR Wodapalooza this season looks like the perfect opportunity for many athletes to have a big breakthrough. For Speegle, Rolfe and Loewen, it’s about a chance to possibly win a big competition. And for others, like Kerstetter, Wells, Van Zyl, Moya Oliver and Weiss, it’s an opportunity to prove that competing in Madison, WI is within their reach.

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