CrossFit Games

Brute Strength Women Battle for Top Finish

May 21, 2023 by
Photo Credit: Ava Kitzi
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Awaiting the final event of the North America East Semifinals, Brute Strength athletes sat in 1st and 2nd place, separated by only three points. Emma Cary in 1st, with 507 points, had yet to finish outside the top ten. She came out strong in Event Six, but after slowing on the handstand push ups, she was overtaken by Danielle Brandon, who swooped in for the win, and landed in 2nd place overall with 504 points. 

Flashback: The last time two or more athletes from the same training camp stood on the podium together at the Semifinal stage was at the West Coast Classic in 2021, with Bethany Shadburne finishing in 1st, Kari Pierce in 2nd, and Danielle Brandon in 3rd. At the time, all three women were training with Underdogs Athletics in Las Vegas, NV. 

After winning her heat on Event Five, Cary reflected on how she was able to push through her discomfort and discussed her priorities leading into this weekend. 

  • “Mental toughness has been my biggest focus. I’ve always been good at suffering and just pushing myself past the limits. But mental toughness is more than that. Like, it’s the ability to take the highs and lows of competition and just keep yourself stable through it all, and trust the process,” said Cary. 

As Cary and Brandon prepared for Event Seven, a ticket to Madison was all but guaranteed for both women. However, a Semifinals win would be the ultimate cherry on top of a brutal weekend.

A six minute test doesn’t leave much time for error, and both women executed Event Seven with extreme tenacity. Trading the lead back and forth allowed for a dramatic finish with Cary taking the win in 4:05 and Brandon finishing a close 2nd in 4:11.  

When asked about the final test, Brandon shared some insight into competing alongside a fellow Brute Strength athlete. 

  • “I mean, you look at a workout like this one, I knew Emma was coming for me on that bike, she’s one of the best in the world on the bike, so I knew what I had to do to just try to keep up, and she got away from me this time,” said Brandon. 

Three Brute Strength women finished in the top 11, with Cary taking 1st, Brandon 2nd and Fee Saghafi 8th.

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