Training Camps Represented at 2023 TYR Wodapalooza
The presence and popularity of training camps was made very clear at the 2023 TYR Wodapalooza this past weekend. The rise of training camps for elite individual and team athletes has been a topic of much discussion in the CrossFit community as we see elite athletes jumping ship or making decisions to join competing camps.
Below is a breakdown of the representation each training camp had at Wodapalooza. The analysis is as comprehensive as possible, however it is not a complete list of athletes or camps.
One of the highlights of the weekend was witnessing longtime Invictus athlete Sam Dancer hit a two-rep-max front squat at 435 pounds, while competing with his teammates Joshua Al-chamaa and Jorge Fernandez. The team placed tenth overall and gave the audience a serious show. On the women’s side, fan favorite Dani Speegle looked ready to compete, hitting a 255 pound clean and jerk and winning the final elite individual event “Dirty Isabel.” Speegle finished on the podium in second place.
Brittany Weiss held her own as an individual finishing 11th overall and then as a teammate, alongside Devyn Kim and Jessi Smith. The team finished in 9th place with their best event being “Start Fast, Finish Faster” where they got fifth place. Also on the women’s side Invictus represented team “Invictus Chicks,” which included Lauren Stallwood, Emily Rethwill and Allison Weiss.
Mayhem Athlete’s monster list of athletes represented well across all divisions, including Masters 45-49 winner Jason Grubb, who had zero finishes outside the top four and ended the weekend with a 164-point lead. Paige Powers also had an impressive top-place finish with a 28-point lead over second place Dani Speegle. Powers’ weekend may qualify as a breakout performance, showing great improvement over her Games appearance. Also in the women’s field, Andrea Nisler showed up as an individual, though she’s usually a regular on team Mayhem Freedom. She placed lower than 20th in multiple events, but pulled through at the end of the competition for an 8th place finish overall.
On the men’s side, new Mayhem athlete Roman Khrennikov fought for a silver medal at the end of two days of competition behind only Ricky Garard. Khrennikov had four top-five finishes, all of which were event wins. Only a few weeks into training in Cookeville, Khrennikov’s potential under new coaches and programming is endless. Gui Malheiros had a lackluster start to his competition, finishing three of the four events of day one in the bottom half. However, he predictably brought the thunder for the heavy lifting on day two, setting the record for the heaviest clean and jerk ever recorded in CrossFit competition.
The ladies of HWPO ran the show in the team division, with Mal O’Brien leading the show. O’Brien, who placed second at the Games in August, looked steady, focused, and confident on team “The Dottirs and MOB,” a deadly combination with the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Open around the corner next month. Audiences got their first look at new camp recruits Katrin Davidsdottir and Amanda Barnhart since their switch from Comptrain. With such a strong background in swimming, Barnhart easily won her team – All American Girls – Chasing Waterfalls. Davidsdottir, along with O’Brien and Barnhart, showed massive improvements in weightlifting technique with the help of Aimee Everett.
With a relatively young batch of talent, Brute Strength athletes showed up strong in Miami. 18-year-old Emma Cary is the clear standout, making a comeback after a season-ending injury with a third-place finish in the women’s elite individual division. Also on the individual side, 2021 teen CrossFit Games champion Nate Ackermann ended his competition in 29th place, an impressive debut in the individual division where most teen male Games athletes fall down the leaderboard.
Also, Cece Pieper snuck in an event with a 256 lb clean and jerk over Dani Speegle. On the team side, James Sprague and Dallin Pepper teamed up with HWPO’s Jayson Hopper on team Good Dudes and ended in fourth place. Also, Fee Saghafi showed up in the women’s team division with five top-five finishes on team “The Girls.”
The training program led by Justin Colter had 11 athletes on the podium, according to an Instagram post on their profile. Ricky Garard, who got first place at Wodapalooza, is one of the more notable Underdog athletes. Garard, who finished third at the Games in 2022 after a four-year suspension, has been on a comeback kick ever since. On the women’s side, Underdog Athletics athletes Kari Pearce and Alex Gazan teamed up with Arielle Loewen for a female elite team. They finished on the podium in third place after a hard fought weekend. Pearce had previously announced she’s retiring from the sport after a 7 year run. Gazan made her debut at the Games last year and is an athlete to watch out for as she continues in the sport.
While the Fittest Woman on Earth was not present, Tia-Clair Toomey, there were plenty of other PRVN athletes that came to play. Sydney Wells had a strong weekend finishing in 12th place in the women’s elite division out of 35 athletes. Her sister, Brooke Wells, an 8-times CrossFit Games athlete, competed on a team with Amanda Barnhart and Kristi O’Connell who took fourth place overall.
On the men’s side Nick Mathew had a solid performance finishing in sixth place. Mathew’s, who was the 2022 Games Rookie of the Year had three top five finishes over the weekend, with his best event being“Rings and Squats” where he placed second. 15-year-old Rylee Beebe got first place in the teen 13-15 age division and had an impressive weekend before she ages up.
Training Think Tank
Wodapalooza’s biggest advocate and TTT athlete Noah Ohlsen, competed on a team this year with Travis Mayer and Chandler Smith to reprise their team “The Boys” for another year. Ohlsen and Mayer are TTT athletes and had a good performance alongside Smith. Ohlsen’s miscount on a synchro burpee over the dumbbell though cost the team some points on the final event and knocked them down to third place overall. Another TTT athlete was Alexis Raptis, who was on a team with Christine Kolenbrander and Fee Saghafi. The team “The Girls” had a very strong weekend finishing in fifth place overall with two first place finishes– one of them being “3, 2, 1 Lift Off” where they hit some massive numbers.
TTT athlete Lydia Fish got first place in her 16-18 age division and had six first place finishes, which is an impressive feat. She also hit a solid 200 pound clean & jerk during the event “We Have Lift Off.” Altogether TTT said they had 19 athletes who follow individual programming at the competition.
The training camp led by Ben Bergeron had a year of some big changes in athlete representation, however CompTrain athlete Sydney Michalyshen looked very strong this weekend placing 4th overall in the elite female division. She had three top 5 finishes and didn’t finish outside of top 20 across all of the events. The two-time Games athlete is definitely one to watch going into the season. Another CompTrain athlete who did well in the Rx female division is Emma Gardner. She finished in ninth place overall and performed well over the weekend, hitting a clean & jerk at 205 pounds. Gardner did very well on “Rings and Squats” and “Finish Strong” finishing in second place in both events.
The Training Plan
CrossFit icon and fan favorite Annie Thorisdottir hit some big numbers with team “The Dottirs ft. MOB,” which was made up of Thorisdottir, Katrin Davidsdottir and Mal O’Brien. The stacked team took second place overall and put on a show throughout the weekend.
On the men’s side, team “King B.K. & friends” featured Bjorgvin Karl Gudmundsson, Khan Porter, and Tola Morakinyo. The trio placed sixth overall and they had a strong fight to the finish. Their best event of the weekend was “Sync Up and Squat,” for which they got third place.
The bottom line: Training camps are only becoming more prevalent, so keeping an eye on where athletes end up heading into the season is always a good idea. It’s also important for affiliate owners who may be interested in new programming options or individual athletes looking to follow a specific program.