CrossFit Games

Pack Mentality: Training Camps to be Represented at the 2023 CrossFit Games

June 21, 2023 by
Photo Credit: Ava Kitzi @avakitzi
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Over the last several years, the emergence and growth of training camps has increased in the CrossFit space as more athletes are seeking to train together, share common goals and coaches, compete side by side, and learn from one another.  The rosters of the camps shift from year to year as athletes change geographical locations, realign their focus and as new camps arise and gain greater following. 

The big picture: During this year’s Semifinals, there were five training camps that held a very strong presence, and in turn are sending a significant number of individual athletes and teams to Madison this August. 

1. Underdogs Athletics

The Las Vegas based training camp led by Head Coach Justin Cotler was represented on multiple continents, with four individual athletes punching their tickets to the Games. Notable Underdogs athletes that competed at Semifinals, but failed to qualify for the Games were Sara Sigmundsdottir, Katelin Van Zyl, and Alison Scudds.

Before Semifinals, Cotler posted words of praise and encouragement for his team.

  • “Effort doesn’t go unnoticed and words cannot describe how proud we are of all of you and the ones that are just getting started,” he said on Instagram.

The following Underdog athletes are slated to compete in Madison as individuals:

  • Alex Gazan
  • Shahed Budebs
  • Bronislaw Olenkowicz
  • Bayley Martin


The HWPO crew, led by none other than five-time Fittest Man on Earth, Mat Fraser, saw a number of their athletes qualify for Madison, many of whom are seasoned Games veterans. While Mal O’Brien is a name synonymous with HWPO, and one many had thought would be a podium contender this year, she withdrew from competition mid-May

Amanda Barnhart, a new addition to the training camp this season, shared her gratitude for her HWPO community.

  • “…It’s really important to make sure the people you surround yourself with fill you up. With that being said, I’m so incredibly thankful for the group that supports me every single day. I truly could not do it without them,” said Barnhard on social media

The following athletes will be representing HWPO at the Games in August:

  • Katrin Davidsdottir
  • Christine Kolenbrander
  • Amanda Barnhart
  • Jayson Hopper
  • Cole Greashaber
  • Samuel Kwant
  • Jake Douglas


Coached by Shane Orr, the PRVN training camp is sending five athletes to the Games, including a few individual rookies. Notably missing from the list is six-time fittest woman on earth, Tia-Clair Toomey, as she just gave birth to her and Orr’s daughter in May. 

Orr, with years of coaching wisdom and experience, shared his perspective on the strength of a team and the never-ending journey of an athlete.

  • “The challenges we face are not roadblocks, but opportunities to rise higher. I own my journey and am determined to reach new heights with my uplifting team by my side.” 
  • “When we encounter challenges or obstacles on our journey towards our goals, it can be easy to get discouraged and feel like giving up. But if we shift our perspective and see these challenges as opportunities to learn and improve, we can actually use them to our advantage and become stronger, more resilient, and more capable,” said Orr via social media, earlier this spring. 

The PRVN roster for the 2023 Games will be made up of the following individuals:

  • Sydney Wells
  • Olivia Kerstetter
  • Will Moorad
  • Nick Mathew
  • Kalyan Souza

4. Mayhem

Under the oversight of Rich Froning, the Mayhem training camp will have, by far, the greatest showing at the Games of any training camp this year. While not all their athletes live and train in Cookeville, ten individuals will be heading to Madison under the Mayhem umbrella.

Those athletes are as follows:

  • Baylee Rayl
  • Victoria Campos
  • Paige Powers
  • Emily de Rooy
  • Lazar Djukic
  • Luke Parker
  • Morteza Sedaqat
  • Uldis Upenieks
  • Alex Vigneault
  • Samuel Cournoyer
  • Roman Khrennikov

Upon winning the European Semifinal, two-time Games veteran Lazar Djukic thanked his Mayhem camp and all the coaches that have helped him along the way. 

  • “…the coaching team that helped me bring the best version of Lazar that you’ve seen until this point. Thank you… for everything that you’re doing for me and for other Mayhem athletes,” Djukic posted on Instagram

5. Brute Strength

Out of Naples, FL, Matt Torres’s Brute Strength squad made a major splash at the North America East Semifinals with multiple podium finishes on both the men’s and the women’s side. 

Leading up to Semifinals, Torres shared some insight into his methodology and coaching mindset.

  • “Before my athletes go onto the competition floor, we talk about pace and then I often find myself telling them, ‘Be an athlete.’ That phrase means in the final minutes you need to move faster, push harder, hold on longer… only if you believe you can. Every workout has a pace to it that my athletes must uphold. You set the pace beforehand to be able to make that innate decision to be an athlete,” Torres wrote on Instagram. 

We can expect to see the following five Brute Strength individuals competing in Madison: 

  • Danielle Brandon
  • Emma Cary
  • Fee Saghafi
  • Dallin Pepper
  • James Sprague

Other training camps worth noting include Training Think Tank, Invictus, Comptrain and No Shortcuts, all of whom will have the representation of multiple athletes and/or teams in Madison this summer. 

The bottom line: Spectators are beginning to see an increasing number of athletes aligning themselves with training camps and shared programs. As these grow in number and new camps form, it will be worth noting if we will see patterns emerge, and data that could suggest that those training with camps are placing higher in competition and are more likely to podium.

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