2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games Teen 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. The next generation of individual CrossFit athletes took to the floor in their respective gyms and battled it out. 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.
Unsurprisingly, the 2022 CrossFit Games champion Ty Jenkins came out of the final stage of qualification victorious, hanging onto two event wins in the workouts 1B and 3A. He’ll likely be making his third appearance in Madison and will attempt to be the second athlete to ‘three-peat’ in the teenage division, joining Dallin Pepper.
- “I was frustrated with a few things throughout the weekend, it was far from clean. There were a few events and moments where I thought things went pretty well,” Jenkins said. “I’m looking forward to the in-person competition aspect of the CrossFit Games. Nothing beats the adrenaline and pressure of being in a lane next to the fittest teens on Earth.”
Alongside Jenkins, there are six other veteran Games athletes above the cutline, including two podium finishers with 2021 third place Gustavo Pusch and 2022 champion RJ Mestre.
- Mestre, a PRVN athlete, placed 22nd in the last workout but was able to rally back to fifth place overall, an impressive tribute to his otherwise consistent performance.
- Pusch, who missed out on the Games in the 16-17 division last year by two places, finished in ninth place in Semifinals, likely punching his ticket to the Games for the last time as a teenager.
- Other previous Games competitors likely heading back to Madison include Kaiden Myers, Kaiden Hogan, Isaiah Weber, and Ka’eo Subiono.
In addition to Pusch, three international rookies–Conor Blycha and Brandyn Gaskill from Australia and Isaac Rojas from Costa Rica–will potentially join the Games field for the first time.
- Blycha, who barely missed qualifying last year, trained for a 100-mile race and raised over $2000 on race day before coming back to CrossFit, and will likely be a standout endurance competitor in Madison.
- Rojas is also proving to be a formidable opponent with a second place finish at the International Functional Fitness Junior World Championships in December.
The powerhouse teen division roster for the CrossFit Games is somewhat up in the air with Individual Semifinals still on the horizon for Lucy McGonigle, Olivia Kerstetter, and Trista Smith. Kerstetter and Smith, who placed first and second in Semifinals respectively, were nearly 100 points away from third place. But with or without these three, the 16-17 Girls division is packed with returning and new talent from around the world.
- “(CrossFit Games) 2023 tickets secured!” Kerstetter wrote in an Instagram caption summarizing her weekend.“Now let’s get back to it because there is officially less than a month until individual Semis and I’m excited to get back out on that *in person* competition floor!”
Eight of the athletes above the cutline have previous Games experience, including third-place Semifinals finisher Jenna Michellotti. With two appearances in Madison already under her belt at 17-years-old, she snuck ahead of McGonigle and grabbed the last podium spot.
Other Games veterans currently above the cutline include Bergrös Bjornsdottir, Rees Littlewood, Hailey Rolfe, and Rylee Beebe. Two rookies–Elia Del Olmo and Hayes Willard–will make their Games debut among a stacked field.
With not a single athlete with previous Games experience in the Semifinals field for the 14-15 Boys division, this division is full of potential and new names we may see for years to come.
One standout is Kulani Subiono, who’s older brothers Elijah and Ka’eo Subiono both have multiple Games appearances under their belts. He came out on top of the Semifinals field just two points over second place, but has won every stage of the season this far and will likely be a serious contender to win the final title in Madison this summer.
- “In the 2022 Semifinals, I made my run at the Games in hopes of being the third one in my family to do so and complete the Subiono trio. But it didn’t happen. I missed the cut line by seven spots and ended my season with disappointment,” Subiono wrote in an Instagram post. “Not this time. CrossFit Semifinalist no more–I am a CrossFit Games athlete.”
While no athletes in the field have experience at the highest level, a number of these boys have competed in-person before, giving them a leg-up.
One of two 14-year-olds now above the cutline, Akil Lopez of Mexico won the 14-15 division at the International Functional Fitness World Championships last year, and has already proven himself a formidable competitor in the gymnastics events. He got second place in the max handstand hold event with a time of 1:01, and won the bar muscle up event in Quarterfinals in his division.
Notoriously a very diverse division, 11 countries were represented in Semifinals, and seven different flags will likely be represented on the Games athletes’ jerseys, including the United States, Canada, Costa Rica, Spain, Brazil, and Mexico.
While these athletes are young, there’s a fair number of already recognizable names above the cutline and potentially on their way to the CrossFit Games. Of course, the lone veteran Games athlete Marissa Nichols showed up in Semis, with no finishes in the bottom half of the field, but new rookies are threatening to challenge her for a podium spot.
Maria Granizo, a 15-year-old from Guatemala, was able to pull out a 12 point lead over second place in Semifinals with an impressive three event wins. She also has two major competitions–the French Throwdown and Madrid Championships–under her belt, making her a formidable in-person competitor.
A few other athletes have amassed a strong resume and are likely going into the Games.
- 15-year-old Brynn Cupp just barely missed the cutline for the Games last year, but rallied for her last year in the younger division to grab a spot. Cupp, who trains at the Pit Fitness Ranch (and placed second the Pit Elite Teen Throwdown in September of 2022), secured a fourth place finish in the stacked 13-15 division at Wodapalooza in January.
- Miley Wade, who’s older sister Delaney is a Games veteran (and the first Type-1 Diabetic to compete at the CrossFit Games) has quickly gained a name for herself with a win at the Pit Elite Teen Throwdown, a second place finish at Wodapalooza, and has placed second all season long in the series of qualifiers thus far.
Interestingly, Ana Laura Cattai, the 14-year-old currently right on the other side of the bubble in 11th place, won Test 1b and logged the highest number of snatches out of every single division with 26 reps. While she may not see her name on the Games leaderboard this season, she’s one to look out for next year.