Age-Group Athletes Proving Age Don’t Matter at the North America West Semifinal
In real life, a 17-year-old doesn’t usually have much in common with a 43-year-old.
Such is not the case when it comes to the North America West Semifinal this weekend in Pasadena, CA, where 17-year-olds Olivia Kerstetter and Trisha Smith are going through the same seven tests as 43-year-old Jenn Ryan, the second fittest 40-44-year-old in the world last season.
Not only that, but all three have already earned themselves tickets to the CrossFit Games this summer. Kerstetter and Smith were first and second respectively in their age-group Semifinal, while Ryan finished second in her division.
The same is true for 36-year-old Chyna Cho, also competing in Pasadena this weekend. The six-time Games athlete who competed as an individual from 2010 to 2018 won the recent Age Group Semifinal in the 35-39-year-old division and will be heading back to the Games this summer.
Finally, two others age group athletes competing in the individual division this weekend include 35-year-old Chelsea Nicholas and 36-year-old Kelly Clark. Nicholas missed qualifying to the Games in her age group by one spot and just five points at the recent Semifinal, while Clark—sixth at last year’s Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge Semifinal—didn’t compete in the age group division but would have been eligible.
The big picture: The reason CrossFit introduced age group divisions was, of course, to provide more opportunities for teenagers and masters athletes to have an opportunity to compete at the CrossFit Games. Because, in theory, they’re not supposed to be able to challenge the fittest individuals in the sport. But not only are these age-group athletes hanging in there with the top athletes in North America West, Kerstetter started Saturday with an event win on Semifinals Linda and heads into Test 4 in fourth overall.
Another win for the age old cliche: Age is just a number.