2023 CrossFit Semifinal Preview: Torian Pro
The Oceania Semifinal is returning to the Torian Pro, Brisbane Australia on May 26-28, 2023, albeit missing several of Oceania’s top athletes.
In the women’s division, 2023 will be the first CrossFit Games season without either the six-time Fittest-On-Earth and new mom, Tia Clair Toomey or 10-times Games veteran and soon-to-be-mom-of-two Kara Saunders, on the competition floor since 2015 and 2012 respectively.
On the men’s side, 2022’s third Fittest-On-Earth, Ricky Gerard will also be absent due to a season-ending shoulder injury.
The Oceania teams have been putting in solid Games performances over the last two years, and the line-up for 2023 from this region looks even stronger than previous years. Can an Oceania team make it onto the podium in 2023?
Oceania has been allocated three Games spots in the Womens, Mens and Team divisions.
Don’t let the absence of Tia-Clair Toomey and Kara Saunders fool you – the competition for the three 2023 NoBull CrossFit Games spots from the Oceania region will be fierce with no obvious shoo-ins to mention.
There’s a lot of experience in the Women’s Torian Pro Semifinal line-up. Out of the 30 athletes competing for a spot at the Games, five have previous Games experience as individuals:
- Madeline “Maddie” Sturt – four-times Games athlete
- Jamie Simmonds – four-times Games athlete
- Ellie Turner– two-times Games athlete
- Laura Clifton – two-times Games athlete
- Katelin Van Zyl – one-time Games athlete
Who to Watch
Katelin Van Zyl is a seasoned veteran in the Oceania region. With an impressive first place Quarterfinal finish in Oceania this year, coupled with her previous Games experience as an individual in 2019, and in the Team division on CrossFit Urban Energy in 2021 and 2022, a strong performance at the Semis could see her punch her second ticket to the Games as an individual.
Ellie Turner is Oceania’s highest ranked athlete in 2023. She had two Worldwide Event wins in the Quarterfinals, and with two years competing at the Games as an individual Turner is a serious contender for a ticket to the Games this year.
Jamie Simmonds has had a strong start to the Games season in 2023, finishing second in the Oceania Quarterfinals. As a four-times individual Games veteran, Simmonds is an athlete to watch. After shoulder surgery in 2021 she is looking like a real contender for one of the three Games spots in the Oceania region. Simmonds is the only athlete competing at the Torian Pro this year that has stood on the podium at the Games.
Maddie Sturt is a four-time individual Games competitor. She finished a solid tenth in the Oceania Quarterfinals, despite battling a back injury. Will we see her back at the Games for 2023?
Briony Challis finished 3rd place in the Oceania Quarterfinals and competed in the Team Division in 2022 for CrossFit EFX. Can she secure her ticket to the Games this year as an individual?
Laura Clifton finished 6th in the Oceania Quarterfinals this year and with two previous Games appearances as an individual in 2020 and 2021, she is an athlete to watch.
Georgia Pryer is an up-and-coming athlete in Oceania. Pryer finished fifth in the Oceania Quarterfinals, so she is definitely an athlete to keep an eye in at the Torian this year. Will she be able to land a top three finish and a ticket to Madison?
With shoo-in Ricky Gerard out due to a season-ending shoulder injury early this year, the competition for the three Games spots in the Oceania region will be a thriller in the Men’s division.
Out of the 30 athletes competing at the Torian Pro, there are three athletes with Games experience as individuals:
- Jay Crouch, three-times Games athlete
- James Newbury, four-times Games athlete
- Zeke Grove, four-times Games athlete
We also have a two former Teen-division Games athletes making the leap to the Men’s division for the first time at the Torian Pro Semifinal:
- Johan Roberts, age 18
- Hiko O Te Rangi Curtis, age 19
Jay Crouch is a shoo-in for a ticket to Madison. He finished second in the Oceania Quarterfinals (behind the absent Ricky Gerard). As a Games veteran Crouch is the hot favorite for first place in the Oceania region.
Who to Watch
Jake Douglas, is an athlete to watch and a serious contender for a top three finish and a Games spot this year. He narrowly missed out on a spot to the Games in 2022 after finishing fifth at the Torian Pro Semifinal last year. Douglas continued his solid form into the 2023 season, finishing fourth place in the Oceania Quarterfinals.
Will Kearney, is on our radar as a top three finisher at the Torian Pro. After finishing tenth at the Torian Pro in 2021, Kearney sat out the 2022 due to an injury, but has returned in amazing form this year. Can this Prvn athlete secure a ticket to the Games this year?
Bayley Martin is another athlete to keep an eye on. In 2022, Martin finished sixth at the Torian Pro, and 13th in the Last Chance Qualifier. This year, Martin has continued to impress placing fourth in the Open in Oceania and eighth in the Oceania Quarterfinals.
John Champion has displayed a well-rounded performance so far in 2023, finishing fifth in the Oceania region in the Open and the Quarterfinals, earning him a spot in our Bubble Athletes list.
Zeke Grove hit the ground running with a cracker Open performance, finishing third in Oceania. However Grove only just scraped into the Torian Pro Semifinal, finishing 28th in the Oceania Quarterfinals. Will Grove’s experience get him over the line for his fifth Games appearance?
James Newbury is another Games veteran that shouldn’t be overlooked for a top three spot at the Torian Pro, especially with running events sprinkled into the Semifinals programming. As someone who loves to compete in front of a crowd, can Newbury pull off the biggest upset of the Torian and grab a ticket to Madison?
Torian Pro Teams
Oceania teams have been knocking at the door for a top five finish at the Games for the last two years. CrossFit Selwyn finished sixth at the Games in 2022 and Plus64 CrossFit finished sixth at the Games in 2021. Will we see an Oceania team on the podium in 2023?
Who to Watch
Led by Royce Dunne, CrossFit Torian Mayhem are looking very strong, finishing third worldwide in the Quarterfinals. They’re the team to beat at the Torian Pro this year, and have earned a spot as shoo-ins on our Games predictions list. CrossFit Torian Mayhem are real contenders for a podium finish at the Games this year.
Torian’s “second” team, CrossFit Torian Black finished third in the Oceania Quarterfinals and have a strong chance to secure a spot at the Games.
Plus64 CrossFit 64Army Endgame placed sixth at the Games in 2021 and are looking strong in the current season so far. They finished second in the Oceania quarterfinal and are a team to watch at the Torian Pro.
The bottom line: With notable absences from both the Women’s and Men’s divisions, it looks like we’re going to see an epic battle for those top three spots. In the Team division we predict that CrossFit Torian Mayhem will dominate the Torian Pro Semifinal with their depth and experience.