The Young Guns of the 2023 CrossFit Games
At the 2023 CrossFit Games, 79 men and women competed for space on the podium, a mixture of veterans and rookies. As is the case every year, a handful of young, fresh-faced competitors graced the competition floor, leaving their mark on the event.
The bottom line: Of all the athletes, there were eight particularly young men and women who inspired young CrossFitters worldwide, and electrified fans with their performances in Madison.
- At 18 years old, second-place finisher Emma Lawson took home two test wins, on “Ride,” and “Intervals.” She had four top-five finishes and ten out of twelve finishes in the top ten. In 2022, she took home the “Rookie of the Year” award, and the previous year, she competed as a teen, and won the 16-17 Teen Division.
- Alex Gazan, at age 21, finished in 5th and racked up four top five finishes as well, and six top ten finishes. Her best performances were seen in “Ski Bag” and “Muscle Up Logs,” where she earned 2nd place in both. Gazan also took home the award for “Most Improved.”
- “Rookie of the Year” award winner Olivia Kerstetter, the youngest athlete in the field at 17 years old, finished in 16th place, and earned an event win on “Echo Thruster Final.” Kerstetter competed as a teen and in 2021 won the 14-15 division and in 2022 won the 16-17 Teen Division.
- Another former Teen Division competitor and champion, Emma Cary, at age 19 finished in 8th place with two second place finishes in “Helena” and “Intervals.” Cary won the North America East Semifinal earlier this spring and after taking 2022 off due to an injury, fans were excited to see her back on the competition floor.
- At age 20, Mayhem athlete Paige Powers returned to Madison, her second year competing as an individual, after competing as a teen in 2018 and 2019. Powers finished in 10th place and had a third-place finish in the “Inverted Medley.” She had three finishes in the top five, and six finishes in the top ten.
- Finishing 5th on the men’s side was 21-year-old Dallin Pepper. He took home a test win on the “Echo Thruster Final,” had four top five finishes and seven in the top ten. Like many of the women mentioned, Pepper competed as a teen, and was a three-time champion, amongst two different age divisions.
- James Sprague finished in 25th, and placed 9th on Test 1, “Ride.” This was Sprague’s rookie season as an individual, but the 21-year-old competed in 2017 and 2019 as a teen.
- At 21, Jack Farlow put on a show on Test 9, “Olympic Total”, with a total of 701 pounds and gained him a test win. He also placed 2nd in “Alpaca,” giving him two finishes in the top five.
Looking ahead: As the 2023 season closes, it’s worth keeping an eye on teen competitors Trista Smith and Ty Jenkins, as they are about to age up and will potentially be competing as individuals in 2024. In the 16-17 Teen Division, Smith earned second place overall and finished all eight tests in the top five. Jenkins won five tests out of eight, and is a previous three-time teen champion in various age divisions.
The big picture: Regardless of age, the performances by all athletes in Madison were full of grit and effort. Veterans battling alongside rookies, former teen competitors making the jump to compete as individual athletes: it all just adds to the storyline and excitement that is the CrossFit Games each year. As we move forward, eyes will be on the young guns of 2023, and the potential newcomers, to see how they will grow as athletes and who could potentially be the next champion.