CrossFit Games

2023 Age Group Semifinals Preview

April 26, 2023 by and
Photo Credit: Ava Kitzi
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2023 marks the second year that the top 30 athletes in each division will battle it out for the ten available spots at the CrossFit Games during the Age Group Semifinals. With close to twenty divisions of teens and masters competing on the virtual stage, here’s what you need to know heading into this weekend.

Teens: With the ten year anniversary of the teenage division coming up, there’s no doubt the youngest ranks have become a breeding ground for up-and-coming contenders for the Fittest on Earth. There’s a great deal of new talent coming through the pipeline this year, ranging from some well-known powerhouses in the older divisions to a wide open field of potential in the younger division. 

14-15 Division

Girls: With only one previous Games athlete in the hunt for a qualifying spot, the youngest division of girls is full of potential that we’ll see grow to fruition in the coming years. 

  • 15-year-old Marissa Nichols is the only athlete in the 14-15 Girls field with a Games appearance under her belt, where she placed 9th, and is an easy pick for the podium at the Games. Known for her iconic victory screams, Nichols is coming off a third-place finish at Wodapalooza and a first-place finish at The Fittest Experience. Her wide expanse of in-person competition experience makes her a shoe-in for the Games with veteran knowledge on her side. 
  • Miley Wade is quickly making a name for herself in the division, placing second at Wodapalooza and first at the Pit Elite Teen Throwdown, following in her older sister Delaney’s footsteps.
  • The rest of the field is largely unknown: There are a few offseason competition qualifiers in Brynn Cupp and Marley Francis, and a young Underdogs Athletics athlete named Maia Burrows, all of whom will undoubtedly make a run at qualifying. 

Boys: Similar to the girls’ side, the 14-15 Boys division is full of relatively unknown names itching to get their first ticket to the CrossFit Games and start their careers. 

  • Following a trend set in the last couple of years, the division is very diverse, with six countries represented in the top ten on the quarterfinals leaderboard. 
  • Kulani Subiono comes from a long line of CrossFit teens–his older brothers Elijah and Ka’eo have four Games appearances between them–and the next in line Subiono sibling is only going to continue the family legacy. Kulani also recently placed 2nd at Wodapalooza in the 13-15 division and was the top ranked athlete still eligible for the 14-15 division. 

16-17 Division 

Girls: Traditionally the powerhouse division with the most eyes on it for potential individual stars, the 16-17 Girls division doesn’t disappoint this year. 

  • Olivia Kerstetter, Lucy McGonigle, and Trista Smith all qualified for both Individual and Age Group Semifinals, following in the footsteps of Mal O’Brien and Emma Cary (among others). They’re all poised and ready to make a run for a Games qualifying spot as an individual, but if not, they’ll certainly show off in the teen division as they fight for the top spot on the podium. 
  • A number of athletes–Rylee Beebe, Bergros Bjornsdottir, Rees Littlewood, and Annah Belisle–competed at the Games last summer in the 14-15 division and will try to make the jump and qualify again without a gap year in between. 
  • There are also a few athletes pursuing a comeback season after missing Games qualification last year: Delia Moises, Chiara Silva, and Delaney Wade. These Games veterans will be among the 30 athletes competing for the coveted ten invitations to the final stage of competition. 

Boys: A strong crop of boys are taking on the older division this year, both return athletes after last season and new faces. 

  • 2022 Games champions RJ Mestre (14-15 division) and Ty Jenkins (16-17) will face off as the clear favorites to take the top spot at this year’s Games. Both athletes represent major training camps–PRVN for Mestre and Mayhem for Jenkins. 
  • 17-year-old Isaiah Weber can’t be counted out as an athlete that’ll go far in Semifinals and the Games. While he missed qualification last year, he’s had double the time to build his fitness back up (as well as taking time to play high school football) and finished third at Wodapalooza in January. 
  • A large number of Games alumni: Kaiden Hogan, Caden Poulin, Rafael Candeias, Rodrigo Candeias, Kaiden Myers, Ka’eo Subiono, Gustavo Pusch, and Ari Tomas Hjalmarsson are all knocking at the door of a ticket to back to Madison. 

Masters: This year, the masters field is more stacked than ever. With a number of individual and team competitors aging into the masters division, those top ten spots are getting harder to cinch every year. Here are three athletes to watch in each division as you head into the weekend.

35-39 Division: The 35-39 division is absolutely stacked with a full roster of legends from the sport of fitness. 


  • Sam Dancer: While Games Veteran Sam Dancer went into the 2022 CrossFit Games a top contender for the podium, he unfortunately withdrew after just one event due to a bicep tear. This year, he is back and ready to redeem himself. He currently sits 11 points ahead of Games legend Rich Froning and 57 points ahead of last year’s division winner Bryan Wong.  
  • Rich Froning: One of the most recognizable names in the sport of fitness, Rich Froning has multiple championship titles across the team and individual divisions. Now, he’s ready for his next challenge, the master’s division. All eyes will be on Rich as he fights to stand on top of the podium for the fifth year in a row.
  • Bryan Wong: After finishing ninth in the worldwide Open, Wong went on to finish third in the Age Group Quarterfinals, beating multiple individual Games legends, including Scott Panchik and Frederik Aegidius. Wong was the 35-39 champion last year and his strong performance thus far in the season makes him a strong contender for the podium once again.


  • Caroline Kluttz: Last year, Kluttz, unfortunately, lost her invitation to the Games along with Team CLT after one of her teammates tested positive for performance-enhancing substances. This year, she’s back for redemption, finishing a full 35 points ahead of the next highest finisher in the Age Group Quarterfinals. 
  • Amy Morton: While this is Amy Morton’s first year in the masters division, her track record as an individual and team athlete precedes her. In 2017, she came in 14th at the Games with Ocean State CrossFit. After that, she would go on to finish 15th in the 2021 Granite Games and 10th in the 2022 Atlas Games.
  • Chyna Cho: Games veteran Chyna Cho, is no stranger to competition. With Games appearances as both an individual and on teams since 2010, Cho’s experience as a competitor will serve her well this season. She currently sits 10th overall going into the Age Group Semifinals.

40-44 Division: Similar to the 35-39 division, the 40-44 division is absolutely stacked with former individual and team competitors for the CrossFit Games.


  • Rudulph Berger: Last year’s 40-44 champion has continued his reign, finishing 1st overall in the Age Group Quarterfinals. 
  • Tony Kurz: While the former regionals athlete missed last year’s Games by just 4 spots, he’s heading into Semifinals this year ready to take his spot back. The 2020 and 2021 Games qualifier earned himself a podium finish at the 2020 Masters Fitness Collective, which replaced the Masters’ CrossFit Games that year due to the pandemic.
  • Ryan Woodall: A longtime individual and team athlete, Woodall is no stranger to the competition floor. In 2017, he qualified for the CrossFit Games with Team Injustice CrossFit and in 2021, the same team came in 9th at the Torian Pro. Last year, Woodall struggled to qualify for the Games, not even making it to the Age Group Quarterfinals. This year has been a major comeback for him, with a seventh-place age group finish in the worldwide Open and a fourth-place finish in Age Group Quarterfinals.


  • Jenn Ryan: The multiyear team athlete is once again back in the master’s division. At 43 years old, Ryan has five Games appearances under her belt, including a second place finish in the 40-44 division last year, making her a solid contender for 2023’s 40-44 women’s champion.
  • Rebecca Voigt Miller: Arguably the most consistent athlete in the sport of fitness, Voigt Miller has been a staple in the competitive CrossFit community since 2008. After Quarterfinals, she currently sits in 11th place and there is no doubt that she can turn on the gas for Semifinals to earn herself a spot at what will be her 15th appearance at the CrossFit Games.
  • Deanna Posey: Last year’s third-place finisher currently sits fifth overall. Prior to her time as a masters athlete, the Canadian athlete qualified for two Semifinals in 2021 and 2022 with CrossFit Resurrection.

45-49 Division: While Jason Grub has dominated the men’s division thus far this season, there are still nine other openings for a number of solid contenders to make a move during Age Group Semifinals.


  • Jason Grubb: Four-time CrossFit Games masters athlete and three-time masters champion, Jason Grubb has never stood atop the podium in his division since 2018. He currently sits in first after Age Group Quarterfinals, a solid 43 points ahead of the rest of his competitors.
  • Mike Kern: After making his masters debut with a second-place finish in 2016, Kern has gone on to stand on the podium two more times, including last year in 2022 where he took second in the 45-49 division. He currently sits second overall behind last year’s champion Jason Grubb and is a solid contender for the podium at the 2023 CrossFit Games.
  • David Johnston: While this will be his first year in the 45-49 division, the two-time masters Games veteran took second in the 40-44 division last year. He currently sits in third heading into Age Group Semifinals.


  • Gabriela Azevedo: While she qualified in 2021 for the 45-49 division, she failed to make it back in 2022. This year, she’s back for redemption, finishing 1st in her division in the Open and first overall in the Age Group Quarterfinals.
  • Merituuli Kallio: The 48-year-old Finnish athlete stood on the podium in the 45-49 division after the 2022 CrossFit Games. This year, she’s proving herself a solid contender to get back on that podium, with a second-place finish in the Age Group Quarterfinals.
  • Danica Rolf: While she barely missed qualifying for the 2022 Games, Rolfe is back this year and ready to prove herself. In 2021, she came in seventh in the 45-49 division. She currently sits in sixth heading into the Age Group Semifinals.

50-54 Division: One of the more unique things about the 50-54 division has been the longevity of the athletes. Many of the athletes competing in this division have competed across multiple divisions for several years, most notably, Cheryl Brost, who has been a staple on the Games floor since 2010.


  • Giulio Silvino: A staple in the masters community since 2017, Silvino has four Games appearances under his belt. While he did qualify for the Games last year, finishing fifth in Age Group Semifinals he did not attend. This year, he currently sits tied for first overall with Jason Leeves.
  • Matt Cia: While he finished 13th in 2021, in 2022, he failed to make it back. This year, the multi-year masters veteran sits in fifth overall after Age Group Quarterfinals and is poised in a prime spot for a return trip to the 2023 CrossFit Games.
  • Eric C. Smith: After finishing second in last year’s 50-54 division, Eric C. Smith currently sits in ninth place after Age Group Quarterfinals, giving himself a tough fight to hang inside the top ten during Age Group Semifinals and earn himself a trip back to the Games.


  • Kim Purdy: The 51-year-old Canadian stood atop the podium in the 50-54 division last year and if the beginning of this season is any indicator of future results, her first place finish in Age Group Quarterfinals makes for a promising start to a trip back to the top of the podium in 2023. 
  • Cheryl Brost: Since 2010, Cheryl Brost has qualified for the CrossFit Games more than ten times across three divisions. Last year, Brost took fourth in the 50-54 division and her recent third place finish in Age Group Quarterfinals makes her a solid contender for a podium finish in Semifinals, if not the Games.
  • Julie Ackermann: 2022 marked Julie Ackerman’s fifth CrossFit Games. Her record includes appearances in both the Team and Masters division. The former collegiate diver is currently eighth after Age Group Quarterfinals and is one to watch heading into Semifinals.

55-59 Division: On the men’s side, Kevin Koester looks to dominate in this division, but there are several other contenders further down on the roster who are also looking to carve out a spot for themselves in that top ten during Age Group Semifinals.


  • Kevin Koester: Masters legend Kevin Koester has already begun his dominant reign over the 55-59 division, finishing first by 49 points and securing a top-five finish in four of the five workouts. While he took last year off, he has returned this year with a fire to win.
  • Antonio Boldrini: The two-time 55-59 competitor came in third place overall last year. He currently sits in fifth overall heading into Age Group Semifinals.
  • Ron Ortiz: While he sits in 15th after Age Group Quarterfinals, Ortiz is not one to be overlooked. The 57-year-old has made eight appearances at the CrossFit Games since 2012 and has finished top five in five of the eight appearances (including two first-place finishes).


  • Leigh Coates: After finishing second in the 55-59 division, Coates remains a top contender for a podium spot at the Games after her first-place finish in the Age Group Quarterfinals.
  • Alexia Fineman: While the four-time Games athlete has never stood on the podium, her first place finish in the worldwide Open followed by a second-place finish in Age Group Quarterfinals makes her a top contender for the 2023 season.
  • Kim Stambaugh: With two Games appearances already under her belt, including a podium finish in 2022, Stambaugh finished third in Age Group Quarterfinals and has posed herself as a solid contender for the 2023 season.
    Editor’s Note: Stambaugh’s accolades were incorrectly identified under Amy Simpson’s name in the original publishing. We apologize for the error, and it has since been corrected.

60-64 Division: With numerous masters veterans in this division, the top ten spots will be a hard fight for everyone heading into Age Group Semifinals.


  • Stuart Swanson: While Swanson missed out on qualifying last year by just eight spots, he’s back and looking for redemption. The 60 year old finished first in the Open and first in the Age Group Quarterfinals.
  • Tom Fameree: Last year’s third-place finisher in the 60-64 division, Fameree is looking to make his fourth trip back to the Games. After finishing tenth in the Open this year, he went on to finish third in Age Group Quarterfinals.
  • Tony Turski: Since he first took the field in 2014 in the 50-54 division, Turski has made three more trips to the Games. When he tested positive for banned substances in 2017, he received a four-year ban. However, his resilience and persistence lead him to his return to the sport in 2022 after the completion of his sentence. He finished second in the 60-64 division last year and is currently sitting in a solid spot to be a contender for the 2023 CrossFit Games.


  • Susan Clark: Since 2014, Clark has made five appearances at the CrossFit Games, consistently finishing in first place in each one of her appearances. While she took last season off, the 64-year-old athlete took first in both the Open and Age Group Quarterfinals, proving she’s ready to stand on top of the podium again.
  • Judith Tynan: While the Australian athlete has not been back to the Games since her second appearance in 2019, after a sixth-place finish in the Open and a fourth-place finish in Quarterfinals, she is poised to be a solid contender for the 2023 season. 
  • Debbie Downing: Since 2012, Downing has appeared at the CrossFit Games six times across three masters divisions. In 2022, she took third place overall in the 60-64 division and is ready to fight her way back into the Games for another shot to stand on the podium.

65+: Perhaps one of the more unique aspects of the 65+ division, is the variety in age. Both divisions contain athletes older than 70 competing heading into the Age Group Semifinals.


  • Tom Muhlbeier: While Muhlbeier qualified for his fourth Games appearance last year, finishing first in Age Group Semifinals, he did not make the trip out to the Games. This year, he currently sits in second going into Age Group Semifinals.
  • Dave Hippensteel: One of the most decorated athletes in the sport, Hippensteel has been at almost every CrossFit Games since 2013. In 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2020, he placed first overall in his respective division and is a prime contender for the 2023 podium.
  • Thomas Ackerman: The 69-year-old from Massachusetts was the 2021 65+ champion. Since then, he’s returned two more times and is a strong contender for a Games spot this year.


  • Pauline Sciascia: New to this division, but not the Games, 65-year-old Pauline Sciascia already has three Games appearances under her belt, including a podium finish in 2019, and finished first in Age Group Quarterfinals.
  • Marcia Yager: Last year’s second-place finisher, Marcia Yager, is back to make a run at her fourth CrossFit Games appearance. She finished Age Group Quarterfinals in second overall.
  • April Kitagawa: Since 2013, Kitagawa has made four appearances at the CrossFit Games. While she hasn’t returned since 2018, the 66-year-old placed fifth in the Open and fourth in the Age Group Quarterfinals, making her a strong contender for a place at the 2023 CrossFit Games.

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