2023 CrossFit Games Preview: Teen Division
The past few years have proven that the future of the sport of CrossFit is here.
With past teen champions Emma Lawson, Emma Cary, and Dallin Pepper all preparing for another run in the individual division, there’s no doubt that the teenage division can produce future stars. This year, another set of 40 up-and-comers will take the competition floor. Here’s who to look out for in Madison, WI this year and for years to come.
14-15 Girls: With only one returning athlete from last year’s Games and nine rookies, the 14-15 division seems like a shoo-in for Marissa Nichols. But a handful of young talent might just give her a run for her money.
- Nichols is the only athlete with Games experience, and she placed ninth at last year’s Games. She recently made the switch and is now a Mayhem athlete, and says that her favorite movements are yet to come. She’s consistently placed third and fourth throughout the season, though, and will face a tough challenge if she wants to secure her spot on top.
- Miley Wade, at only 14-years-old, has quickly become a favorite this season. Second place finishes across the board in the Open, Quarterfinals, and Semifinals, as well as a second place finish at Wodapalooza in January, make an impressive resume for such a young athlete. Plus, with her older sister Delaney Wade, a Games athlete in her own right, lending her tips, the young athlete has lots of experience on her side.
- Guatemala-native Maria Granizo has placed first in every single stage of competition thus far, making her the third contender for the top spot at the Games if she’s to continue her winning streak. With plenty of years in the sport already under her belt, this first trip to the Games is sure to be a dream come true, and with some live competition experience mixed in, she’s bound to make a splash.
14-15 Boys: With a relatively unknown field of players, all rookies, the 14-15 boys division is open for any one of the ten young athletes to make a move and set themselves up for success in the years to come.
- 15-year-old Jeremie Jourdan is one of only two athletes in the division to have consistently held a top three position in each of the season’s competitions this far–third, third, and second in the Open, Quarterfinals, and Semifinals respectively. Though still untested in a live competition setting, his calm level-headed demeanor has made him a formidable competitor thus far. With a listed height of 5’2 and weight of 130 pounds, strength is evidently his weakness, but he’s able to make up for any challenges with an impressive aerobic motor.
- Canadian Dayne Indraji: On the Semifinals leaderboard, only 124 points separated first from tenth place, making the competition extremely close. However, he pulled through for a first place finish with 385 points, seven more than second place. The 15-year-old finished tenth and eighth in the last two stages of competition, so his first place finish could either signify workouts that played to his favor or great improvement throughout the season. In 2022, he finished his season with Semifinals where he placed 29th.
- Kulani Subiono, who just barely missed the Games by seven spots last year, already has a family legacy to live up to with two older brothers, Ka’eo and Elijah, both multi-year Games athletes. Luckily, he secured a second place finish in a stacked Wodapalooza field in January and has a first, first, and fourth place finish in the Open, Quarterfinals, and Semifinals so far this season. He’s likely the most experienced athlete in the field, and is a strong contender for the top of the podium. (Plus, you can watch him and his brother prepare for the Games on their YouTube channel.)
16-17 Girls: All eyes are on Individual Semifinals athletes Trista Smith and Lucy McGonigle, who took 26th and 45th at the North America West and European Semifinals respectively. The two powerhouses are expected to be in a fight all weekend for the top spot, especially after Olivia Kerstetter booked her ticket as an individual.
- At 17-years-old, Smith has another year of competition under her belt. Plus, a star-studded support squad with the CrossFit Fort Vancouver crew of Justin Medeiros, Ellie Turner, and Adam Neiffer. Smith has yet to finish on the podium at the Games, but got second in both Quarterfinals and Semifinals behind only Kerstetter. At the North America West Semifinal, she secured a second-place finish in Test 6, which featured high-skill gymnastics work over a long time frame.
- Riding her individual Semifinals high as a newly minted part of the CompTrain crew, McGonigle already has two podium finishes at the Games behind her, including a gold medal last summer. However, having now moved up to the older division, the question for McGonigle is whether she can handle the heavier barbells and larger amount of volume. Thankfully, McGonigle has shown no signs of struggle thus far and consistently posts new PRs from her garage gym in true Ben Smith fashion.
- 2023’s 14-15 Girls second-place finisher Rylee Beebe just barely made the cutline this year, getting Kerstetter’s backfill spot. However, with two years of Games experience already behind her at 16-years-old, she’s not one to count out of the running just yet. With her family having just moved to Tennessee, Beebe has enjoyed some quality time with the PRVN crew this summer, ensuring that she’s game-ready by August.
16-17 Boys: With a super stacked field, the 16-17 Boys’ leaderboard has been going back and forth between a few different athletes all season, making for an exciting show come Madison. A group of well-seasoned 17-year-olds with Ty Jenkins, Isaiah Weber, and Kaiden Hogan are looking to end out their teen division chapter with a podium spot, but a few 16-year-olds and dark horses are likely to give them a run for their money.
- As the two-time reigning CrossFit Games champion, Ty Jenkins is the obvious choice to take home a third and final gold medal. While he’s already shown his prowess this season in the online competitions, his expertise extends to the in-person style workouts as a swimmer and football player.
- A group of 17-year-olds making their return to Madison after missing out in 2022, Kaiden Hogan, Isaiah Weber, and Gustavo Pusch are all looking for revenge. Hogan endured a two-year bulking phase to make himself ready to battle with the heavyweights of the older division and was able to secure a first and third-place finish in Quarterfinals and Semifinals, respectively. Pusch and Weber were both on the podium in the 14-15 division in 2021 but failed to make the jump last year. Now, though, they’re back with another year of training under their belts.
RJ Mestre and Ka’eo Subiono are the only two 16-year-olds in the field, and both are returning to Madison for the third time in a row. Mestre won the 14-15 division last year, and has since been training with a group of teen athletes, giving him another edge on the competition.