Five Storylines to Watch Heading into the Final Day of Masters Competition in Madison
With seven different masters divisions going on at once this week at the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games, there’s a lot going on, and keeping track of it all can be challenging.
So with two days down and one to go, we thought we’d highlight some storylines worth following heading into the final day of masters competition in Madison, WI today.
Tight race among the 40-44-year-old women
Four women still have a legitimate chance at the top spot in the women’s 40-44-year-old division. Only 20 points separate Sam Briggs in first and Rebecca Voigt Miller in fourth, while Andreia Pinheiro and Jenn Ryan sit in third and fourth respectively.
Briggs, who competed as an individual nine times between 2010 and 2021, is looking to top the podium for the first time since 2013 when she became the Fittest Woman on Earth, and Brazil’s Pinheiro, just 10 points behind Briggs, is competing in her first ever Games.
Meanwhile, Ryan, who is tied in points with Pinheiro, is looking to improve upon her second place finish last season, and Voigt Miller—who between individual and masters competition is competing in her 15th Games this week—is gunning for the sixth podium finish of her career.
Susan Clarke on track for six
Canada’s Susan Clarke is a bit like the Rich Froning of the women’s masters competition at the CrossFit Games: She doesn’t know how to lose.
The five-time champion Clarke—competing in the women’s 60-64-year-old division—only knows what it’s like to stand on top of the podium. That being said, she didn’t compete last season (and she’s 64 and the oldest in the age group) so we weren’t 100 percent sure where she’d be this year.
But after six events, Clarke has four first place finishes, a second and a third, and heads into the last two events in her usual first place position with a 20-point buffer on Betsy Vanderburgh.
Will Scott Panchik be left off the podium again?
Scott Panchik has long been considered the best athlete to never finish on the podium.
During his individual career, Panchik competed at nine CrossFit Games and narrowly missed the podium multiple times. He finished fourth on three occasions, fifth once, and sixth three other times.
Now 35, Panchik is competing in his first Games as a masters athlete, and he finds himself in a position he’s all too familiar with heading into the final day of competition: sixth overall.
While the podium is still mathematically possible for Panchik, he’s 60 points out of third, so he’ll likely need a perfect day of competition and some help from others if he is to finally break through to the podium.
Jason Grubb looking to take fourth title
Similar to Clark, three-time CrossFit Games champion Jason Grubb is looking strong in the men’s 45-49-year-old division in his quest for his fourth straight title.
Grubb, who lives a nomadic life and lives and trains out of an RV, has two event wins so far and leads Christopher Anderson by 40 points heading into today.
With two events to go, it’s essentially Grubb’s to lose.
Worth noting: Grubb is also the athlete whose company, Bolder Athlete, is putting up cash for masters athletes in Madison this week.
Cheryl Brost hoping to end six-year podium draught
Another CrossFit OG, Cheryl Brost has put forth an impressive showing so far in the women’s 50-54-year-old division, including snagging three event wins. She leads Nicole Abbott by 10 points after two days of competition.
Brost competed as an individual for three years—2010, 2011 and 2012—and this is her seventh time competing at the Games as a masters athlete. Through the years, Brost has finished on the podium three times, the last time being in 2017.
If the first two days are any indication, it’s looking like it could be Brost’s year to end her six year podium drought.
The bottom line: With six events down and two to go, there’s still plenty of time for the 70 men and 70 women competing in the masters divisions to make moves and shake things up. We’ll be watching closely as their stories unfold.