CrossFit Games

Semifinals Week One Team Preview: North America East and Africa

May 16, 2023 by
Photo Credit: Instagam @PRVNfitness
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The first week of Semifinals kicks off this week bringing us to the second to last stage of the CrossFit Games season. This week, we will see teams in the North America East and Africa regions take the floor and battle for one of the coveted tickets to Madison later this summer.

North America East:

After this weekend, ten teams will punch their tickets to Madison, but the battle to get there will be challenging. With the number one worldwide team, as well as four teams in the top ten and eight teams in the top twenty worldwide, NA East has the largest number of teams ranked in the top 20 worldwide after Quarterfinals.

The Power Four: With worldwide Quarterfinals rankings in the top ten, these teams have a surefire chance of punching their ticket to the 2023 CrossFit Games and potentially standing on the podium this weekend.

  • CrossFit East Nashville PRVN (#1 Worldwide): Perhaps one of the most powerful teams in the world right now, Crossfit East Nashville PRVN is the clear favorite for at least a podium finish and potentially to win the whole weekend. 
  • They are currently ranked number one in the world and won every single workout, except workout four in the North America Quarterfinals (and for good measure, placed first in three of five workouts worldwide).
  • Captained by former Mayhem team athlete, Taylor Williamson, CrossFit East Nashville PRVN also consists of three other powerhouse team and individual athletes in the sport.
  • Tola Morakinyo took second worldwide for individual men in the open following four team Games appearances, including a podium finish last year with CrossFit Reykjavik. He will be joined by five-time individual Games athlete Tim Paulson.
  • On the women’s side, former Mayhem athletes and 2022 Affiliate Cup Champions, Andrea Nisler and Taylor Williamson, round out the makings of an extremely dominant team.
  • This year, Nisler and Williamson are hoping to continue to show dominance in their post-Mayhem era and if the Open and Quarterfinals are any indication of future performance, they are a surefire bet for the top of the podium.
  • CrossFit Mayhem Independence (#6 Worldwide): With Rich Froning’s retirement from the Team Competition, the door opens for Mayhem’s second team to step into the spotlight. While Mayhem Independence trailed close behind Mayhem Freedom in the 2022 CrossFit Games, placing fifth overall, a new year and a new roster are set to shake that up.
  • While Angelo Diccico will once again captain Mayhem Independence, the other three team members are brand new to the Independence roster.
  • Sam DeMeester, Zoe Jones, and Kyra Milligan will take the place of Alexis Johnson, Luke Parker, and Sasha Nievas.
  • The team placed second in the North America East Region in Quarterfinals, placing top ten in every workout but one.
  • While Angelo Diccico has been well-known in the CrossFit space since his days as a teen Games athlete, his fellow teammates also have a strong competition background.
  • In 2022, Zoe Jones competed for 8th Day CrossFit at the CrossFit Games, where her team took 10th overall.
  • DeMeester and Milligan also have impressive backgrounds, with DeMeester finishing 15th at Granite Games in 2022 and Milligan finishing 15th and 14th in 2021 and 2022 respectively at the Mid Atlantic CrossFit Challenge.
  • CrossFit OBA (#7 Worldwide): With no one on the team under the age of 32, CrossFit OBA might be the oldest team on the competition floor this weekend, but with their age comes wisdom and a combined 37 Opens, 13 Regionals, 8 Games, and 5 Semifinals under their belts.
  • With the new addition of Emelie Lundberg, the 10th-place finisher at 2022’s Strength in Depth, they are back and hungrier than ever.
  • Last year, OBA finished 10th overall at the Games. A finish that both surprised and motivated the team to push even harder for a potential podium position this year.
  • “Last year, I learned that we deserved to be there and we deserved to be in the top ten. This year we deserve to be in the top 5, if not stand on the podium,” team member Niklas Hecht said.
  • CrossFit Krypton (#10 Worldwide): The Smith brothers are back and ready to tackle the team division. 
  • Three-time CrossFit Games athlete Alec Smith will join his brother and 2015 Fittest Man on Earth Ben Smith.
  • Not only has Ben Smith stood on the podium three times since 2009, but he is also an eleven-time CrossFit Games athlete.
  • While the two brothers have not made a Games appearance since  2019, they have burst back onto the Team scene four years later with a fourth-place finish in the North America East region Quarterfinals.
  • They will be joined by two-time CrossFit Games athlete Caroline Spencer and 2019 Games athlete Erin O’Donnell. 

The Top Five Contenders: While the four teams listed above might have spots in the top five on lock, one of these teams might have it in them to cause an upset or slide into the top five.

  • CrossFit CLT The Grit Haus (#5 North America East): After taking first in the Women’s 35-39 Age Group Quarterfinals and 5th in Semifinals, Caroline Klutz will join her CLT teammates once again for a year of redemption.
  • Last year, CLT placed second at Syndicate Crown before teammate Hunter Williamson tested positive for banned substances, disqualifying them from the season.
  • This year, the team is back with Josh Hardin replacing Williamson.
  • Hardin took seventh at Granite Games with another CLT Team (Grit Haus Black) in 2021.
  • CLT placed top ten in NA East in three of the five workouts.
  • TTT CrossFit Black (#6 North America East): While the team does not have a ton of CrossFit Games experience under their belt, TTT CrossFit Black managed to finish top ten in four of five workouts during the NA East Quarterfinals.
  • Held back only by workout two where they placed 19th overall, a few touch-ups on their weaknesses, and a strong team mentality could push this team into the top five this weekend.
  • 12 Labours Lions (#8 North America East): While their roster has changed over the years, 12 Labours CrossFit has made five Games Appearances since 2014.
    • While their last appearance was in 2021, this year they are back captained by Chelsea Espe.
    • During Quarterfinals, the 12 Labours Lions were largely held back by a 29th-place finish in workout 1.
    • Despite this, they managed to pull off a top-10 finish in two of the five workouts to secure themselves an eighth-place finish in North America East.
  • CrossFit Pro1 Montreal (#10 North America East): A staple in the team division since 2014, CrossFit Pro1 Montreal is back this year with a few roster changes.
  • While the team will still feature Maude Riopel, who helped the team earn 9th and 5th in the 2022 and 2021 CrossFit Games respectively, a broken foot for team member Frederic Dube lead to a last-minute roster change to replace him with Antoine Boyer with less than ten days to go until semifinals.
  • Riopel and Boyer will be joined by Adam Davidson and Leigha Dean.
  • While the team struggled with the weightlifting in workout 3B, they still managed to secure three top-ten finishes in workouts 1 through 3A.

The Qualifiers: While the top five will be fiercely competitive this year, with four teams in the top ten worldwide after Quarterfinals, there are still ten spots up for grabs. Here are the teams most likely to slide into those back ten spots.

  • 8th Day CrossFit (#7 North America East)
  • While they finished with a solid seventh place overall in North America East after Quarterfinals, 8th Day CrossFit struggled during workout 3A and 3B, taking 22nd overall.
  • Despite that, they still remain a strong contender for a top-ten finish, with Heather and Michael Paas once again returning to the team after they brought the team to the 2021 and 2022 CrossFit Games.
  • CrossFit Future The Brute (#9 North America East)
  • While CrossFit Future The Brute crushed the weightlifting component of Quarterfinals, finishing second overall in workout 3b, they struggled in other elements of the competition.
  • A 30th-place finish on workout one which features a longer time domain and more advanced gymnastics dragged their overall standings down to the bottom of the top ten.
  • CrossFit Move Fast Lift Heavy (#12 North America East)
    • Similar to CrossFit Future The Brute, CrossFit Move Fast Lift Heavy also had a standout workout, finishing second in workout 3A. A fifth-place finish in workout 3B would also help to keep them within the top fifteen.
    • However, two finishes in the thirties during workouts one and four made it difficult for them to crack the top ten during Quarterfinals.
    • Similar to Brute, Move Fast Lift Heavy will need to fine-tune their weaknesses if they wish to break the top ten. That being said, they could be a great candidate for a leaderboard upset on some of the workouts.
  • AB CrossFit Mayhem (#14 North America East)
  • Another representative of the Mayhem Nation, AB CrossFit Mayhem finished 14th overall in North America East after Quarterfinals.
  • Despite not finishing inside the top ten during Quarterfinals, they still remain a strong contender for a leaderboard upset or even a top-ten finish after a first-place finish in workout 4 and two top-ten finishes in workouts 3A and 3B.
  • However, if they want to crack the top ten, they’ll need to improve on the weaknesses that held them back with a 39th and 32nd place finish in workouts 1 and 2 respectively.

The Wildcards: Everybody loves an underdog. While these teams may not have cracked the top ten during Quarterfinals, they might be able to cause an upset, whether on a workout or even through cracking the top ten.

  • CrossFit Move Fast Lift Heavy 247 (#15 North America East)
  • Despite falling outside the top ten during Quarterfinals, Move Fast Lift Heavy’s second team might be the perfect candidate for an underdog finish this weekend to crack the top ten.
  • After finishing three of five workouts in the top five and four of five workouts in the top ten, they unfortunately took 75th in Workout 4.
  • With a smaller field and some more experience under their belts, we cannot overlook CrossFit Move Fast Lift Heavy 247 this weekend.
  • CrossFit Westchase (#17 North America East)
  • While they currently sit well outside the top ten following Quarterfinals, a third-place finish in Workout 2 and an eighth-place finish in Workout 4, CrossFit Westchase might be one to watch for a leaderboard upset this weekend.
  • With multiple athletes returning to their 2023 roster from their 2021 Games appearance, it’s certainly too early to count them out for a Games ticket.


With only one spot up for grabs, the competition will be fierce this weekend at the Africa Semifinal. 

Top Three Teams Coming Out Of Quarterfinals:

  • CrossFit FBDV Mayhem Africa: Representing both CrossFit FBDV and Mayhem Athlete, CrossFit FBDV Mayhem Africa will feature 2022’s Fittest in Capetown winner and Games athlete Michelle Merand.
  • Finishing first in Africa after winning three of the five workouts, FBDV Mayhem Africa is a strong contender for the single Games ticket up for grabs this weekend.
  • “After coming back from the [2022] Games, I honestly thought I was done with CrossFit. I was seriously burnt out…” said Menard in an Instagram post this past October. “But the thought of being on a team with these noobs has built such a massive fire under me,” she concluded.
  • Cape CrossFit Wolfpack: In 2011, Cape CrossFit made its first appearance at the CrossFit Games. In 2018, they would return once again. This year, they’re hoping to punch their ticket and earn their third appearance at the CrossFit Games.
  • With no finish outside the top two in every workout, Cape CrossFit is currently one of the strongest contenders for the first-place podium spot and a ticket to the CrossFit Games.
  • CrossFit Tigjer Valley Synergy: After finishing four of five workouts in third place, Tigjer Valley Synergy will have to fight, but there is a solid chance they can push for that top position and punch their ticket.


  • CrossFit Juggernaut Unstoppable: While they finished fifth overall in Africa during Quarterfinals, a look into their individual workout finishes reveals that this team would make a great candidate for a leaderboard upset this weekend.

While they finished 18th overall in workout one, they still held onto a third-place finish in workout 2 and a first-place finish in workout 4, where they beat first-place favorite CrossFit FBDV Mayhem Africa.

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