2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games Masters Semifinals Recap
Age Group Semifinals has officially come to a close and while the event didn’t take place in person, the competition was still just as fierce. With legendary names like Rich Froning, Chyna Cho, and Stacie Tovar dotting the leaderboard, the masters divisions might be the most competitive they’ve ever been. Here’s a look at what went down this weekend and who may have punched their ticket to the 2023 CrossFit Games.
- Note: All scores currently remain unofficial until finalized by CrossFit on May 10th. We recognize that there have been errors in the CrossFit Games leaderboard and are currently reporting off the unofficial scoreboard.
- Rich Froning proved once again that he’s not one to mess with. After placing second in Quarterfinals behind Sam Dancer, he came back to Semifinals and currently sits in first place.
- Other individual Games veterans who managed to land themselves inside the cutline include Scott Panchik, Frederik Aegidius, and Elijah Muhammad.
- We will likely also see the return of last year’s 35-39 division champion, Bryan Wong, who finished third overall this weekend.
- After placing tenth in Quarterfinals, Chyna Cho came back to the top of the current leaderboard in Semifinals trailed closely behind by former Games individual Stacie Tovar who currently sits in fifth.
- Another look at the women’s leaderboard shows former Ocean State CrossFit team athlete Amy Morton will likely be returning for her second Games appearance.
- Finally, former individual Games athlete Dani Horan was also able to slide herself just inside the cutline as it now stands, finishing ninth overall.
- While Samer Zaarour missed the chance last year to be Lebanon’s first-ever Games champion, he’ll likely get another shot this year, currently sitting in first overall in Semifinals.
- Guido Trinidad, a staple of the South East regionals in the mid-2000s, will also likely be making his first appearance back at the Games since 2021 where he finished 11th.
- Perhaps one of the most competitive divisions within the Age Group Semifinals, the women’s 40-44 division featured well-known names like Samantha Briggs and Rebecca Voigt Miller.
- However, one of the most impressive feats to come out of this division at the conclusion of Semifinals, was Voigt Miller’s sixth-place finish, which will likely earn her a fifteenth trip to the CrossFit Games.
- Former Invictus team athlete Jenn Ryan will potentially be making her sixth trip back to the Games, alongside Sam Briggs who apparently has a very different definition of “retirement” than the rest of us.
- 2022’s 45-49 champion will likely once again be returning to the competition floor to defend his title. 46-year-old Jason Grubb sits in first in Semifinals this year, just ahead of FITERNITY athlete Christopher Anderson.
- Also potentially headed back to the 45-49 division will be 2022’s silver medalist Mike Kern, while bronze medalist Vald Liasshkevich, unfortunately sits just outside the cutline now.
- Brazil dominated the women’s 45-49 stage, with three Brazillian athletes likely qualifying this year. Gabriela Azevedo, Carolina Gutierrez, and Luciane Macias will potentially all represent Brazil at the Games this summer in the 45-49 division.
- Also likely headed back to the 45-49 division this summer, is Finnish athlete Merituuli Kallio who finished second at the 2022 Games in the 45-49 division.
- Last year’s champion Sean Patrick will likely be returning to the Games to defend his title after finishing second in Semifinals ahead of multi-year masters veteran Bob Ruano, who will likely be heading back to the Games for the first time since 2021.
- Matt Cia will also potentially return to the Games for the first time since 2021 along with Giulio Silvino, who placed first to punch his ticket back for the first time since 2021 as well.
- Multi-year Games individual and masters athlete Cheryl Brost has been making Games appearances since 2010, where she placed 13th in her first year as an individual athlete. This year, she should be returning to the 50-54 division for the second time after finishing third.
- Also possibly headed back to the Games, is last year’s 50-54 champion, Kim Purdy. She will be joined by 2022’s silver medalist Tea Gebbie and fifth-place finisher Nathalie Connors.
- Earlier in the season, Kevin Koester declared that his goal this year was to dominate. So far, he’s made true on that promise, finishing first in the Open, Quarterfinals, and now sits atop the leaderboard in Semifinals. The three-time masters champion is currently looking like a solid contender for the top of the podium this summer.
- Last year’s seventh-place finisher, Mark Sewell, was also likely able to slide in just under the cut line, finishing tenth overall after the weekend.
- 2022 silver medalist Leigh Coates is in first overall in Semifinals, likely earning herself a spot back on the competition floor this year. She was followed by last year’s fifth-place finisher Alexia Fineman in second.
- We will probably also see the return of bronze medalist Kim Stambaugh, who finished fifth overall after this weekend.
- Last year’s champion, Shanna Bunce, also likely earned herself a ticket back to the Games after finishing third this weekend.
- Multi-year Games veteran Kristi Lunny also potentially punched her sixth ticket back to the Games, sliding in just under the cut line in tenth place.
- 2022 silver medalist Tony Turski should be returning to the competition floor this year after finishing sixth this weekend.
- He will likely be joined by last year’s bronze medalist Tom Fameree, who finished fourth overall this weekend.
- We should be seeing 2022 bronze medalist Debbie Downing on the floor this summer after her fifth-place finish this weekend. The New Zealand native has been making appearances in the masters division since 2012 and has competed in three different age divisions.
- 2022 silver medalist, Patricia McGill, will also potentially make a return trip after finishing fourth this weekend. She will be joined by last year’s fifth-place finisher Lynne Knapman, who finished seventh this weekend.
- Betsy Vanderburgh may have retired from her long career as a physician, but her Games career is not over. She will likely be making her second trip back to the Games after finishing first, ahead of multiyear Games athlete Susan Clark. Both ladies should be making their first trip back to the Games since 2021.
- Perhaps most exciting for the 2023 season, will likely be the return of Games legend Dave Hippensteel. Hippensteel has been competing in the masters division since 2013 and earned himself four gold medals over the course of his career. While he took last year off, he’s ready to stir up the competition this summer after finishing fifth in Semifinals.
- Last year’s silver medalist and multi-year Games veteran John Mariotti will also likely be making a return trip to the Games after finishing second this weekend.
- Thomas Ackerman also managed to secure his first trip back to the Games since 2021 after sliding in just under the cut line in tenth place overall.
- Last year’s champion, Julie Holt, should once again be returning to the Games this summer, alongside silver medalist Marcia Yager and sixth-place finisher Patti Walkover.
- Page Lockhart will also likely be returning for the first time since 2018 after finishing ninth this weekend.