TYR Wodapalooza 2023: Women’s Team Preview

January 2, 2023 by
Photo Credit: Joseph Somakian (@lifeofjosii)
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At most competitions, the team event can feel like broccoli: A side dish to accompany the ribeye main event.

But not at Wodapalooza, which has long attracted big names in their three-person, same sex teams. And this year is no exception.

In fact, the women’s teams who will be competing in Miami, FL this year include 10 women who finished in the top 15 at the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games, whereas at the time of writing the individual division has only one athlete who finished in the top 15—Arielle Loewen, who is also competing on a team.

The top-15 Games finishers competing on teams this year at Wodapalooza include Mal O’Brien, Laura Horvath, Danielle Brooke Wells, Gabriela Migala, Alexis Raptis, Emma McQuaid, Kristi Eramo-O’Connell, Amanda Barnhart and Jacqueline Dahlstrom.

Eight Teams to Watch

Annie Thorisdottir, Mal O’Brien and Katrin Davidsdottir: On paper at least, this team looks like the one to beat. Each of them has finished on the podium at the CrossFit Games, two of them in the last two seasons (oh yeah, combined they have four Games titles too). Together, they boast 10 Games podium finishes. The question at Wodapalooza will be how they put their individual talents together in a team format.

Jamie Simmonds, Laura Horvath and Gabriela Migala: This team of Games veterans, including two who have finished on the podium, have to be considered another favorite for the top spot.

  • Horvath, third at last summer’s Games, turned around in the fall and dominated the Rogue Invitational, winning the competition and snagging four event wins along the way. And the best part about being on a team for Horvath is there’s a good chance her two teammates will be able to help her hide the one weakness she has: handstand push-ups.

Brooke Wells, Amanda Barnhart and Kristi Eramo O’Connell: Another team we expect could contend is this all-American team made up of three Games veterans. Together they have 19 individual Games appearances.

  • All three fared well last summer in Madison, WI. Wells was fifth in a huge comeback competition after she spent much of the year rehabilitating from elbow surgery, while both Barnhart and Eramo O’Connell also had top 15 finishes. 

Sydney Michalyshen, Andrea Nisler and Taylor Williamson: If there’s another team that can rival for a podium spot, it just might be the combination of two-time Games athlete Sydney Michalyshen and two women who have won the Games the last two seasons with Rich Froning and the CrossFit Mayhem Freedom team. And they have a potential advantage: Williamson and Nisler’s extensive experience competing on a team.

Sara Sigmundsdottir, Emily Rolfe, Katelin Van Zyl: All three of these women have plenty of Games experience, with Van Zyl offering team experience, and Rolfe coming off a podium finish at the recent Dubai Fitness Championship. The biggest question for them is how fresh they will be by the time the team competition begins, as all three are also competing as individuals in Miami.

Emma McQuaid, Jaqueline Dahlstrom and Solveig Sigurdardottir: This all-European team another women’s team competing in Miami boasting three 2022 individual Games athletes. McQuaid placed the highest at the Games in 12th, while Dahlstrom was 15th and Sigurdardottir 34th as a rookie. 

Christine Kolenbrander, Alexis Raptis and Fee Saghafi: Both Kolenbrander and Raptis made their individual rookie debuts at the Games last summer, with Raptis snagging a top-10 finish and Kolenbrader finishing 27th, while Saghafi has come close to punching her ticket to the Games two years in a row. She placed seventh at Semifinals in both 2021 and 2022. 

  • It’s also worth noting that Kolenbrander also has team experience at the Games, which could bode well for them in Miami. That being said, this team’s biggest weapon might just be their hunger to show they can hang with the top teams in the competition.

Kari Pearce, Arielle Loewen and Alex Gazan: Another team we can’t overlook is this one, made up of 2022 Games rookie Gazan, two-time Games competitor Arielle Loewen, 11th at the recent Games, and the now retired seven-time Games veteran and 2020 podium finisher Kari Pearce.

  • But two big question marks about this team remain: How fresh will Loewen be, as she is also competing in the individual competition in Miami, prior to joining this team on the third day of competition? And how fit is Pearce now after retiring from the sport after the 2021 season?
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