A Look Back: What Did We Learn from the 2023 CrossFit Games Teen Division?
The ninth year of the Teen Division at the CrossFit Games season is behind us and it’s become clear that the division is making an impact on the sport. The past (almost) decade has showcased hundreds of the fittest teens on Earth, and the competition gets more and more stacked each year.
Here are a few takeaways from the stellar teenage competition from the 2023 CrossFit Games.
With two events–the Cross-Country 5K run and Olympic Total–programmed as exact replicas of those completed by the Individual divisions and every other age group, we’re able to see some consistencies and standouts from the teens.
- 16-17 age group athlete, Hailey Rolfe, recorded the highest Olympic Total out of any female age group athlete at 430 pounds. She would have placed eighth in the Women’s division competition, coming between former competitors and teenage champions Emma Lawson and Emma Cary.
- 17-year-old Kaiden Hogan logged a 17:46 5K time, tracking exactly with his win in the 2021 run event (both of which he ended with a cartwheel over the finish line). This would have secured him a 14th place finish in the Individual Men’s competition, and was the second fastest time out of all non-elite divisions.
Next in Line
Emma Lawson. Alexis Raptis. Dallin Pepper. Emma Cary. James Sprague.
These are just a few of the 2023 Individual Games athletes that came from the Teenage Division. They’ve all risen to become sensations from their somewhat humble beginnings in the old Age Group Pavilion in the Alliant Energy Center, and a new wave of teens is set to follow them in the coming years. Here are a few names to watch out for in 2024 and beyond:
- Lucy McGonigle, who won the 16-17 Girls division, is no doubt a name that will be heard throughout the community in a few years. Having recently joined the Comptrain crew and spent the last part of the summer in New England, McGonigle has a solid training and support group behind her. Plus, an Individual Semifinals performance under her belt already doesn’t hurt. McGonigle racked up wins in three of the eight tests and had zero finishes outside the top five. Consistency, a great team, and a good head on her shoulders will make McGonigle a force to be reckoned with in the European region next season.
- Likewise, runner-up Trista Smith just barely missed out on standing atop the podium by thirty points, and a second place medal could be just the motivator to help Smith make the jump to the Individual division next year. Smith grabbed up almost every point available where McGonigle lacked, including two event wins in Farmers Field and Gymnastics Chipper.
- While the 16-17 Boys championship was locked up pretty early (more on this later), second place Hugo Jansson and third place RJ Mestre had a race to the finish, separated by only 10 points, that could indicate a bright future. 17-year-old Jansson, from Sweden, competed in the Open for the first time this year, so the potential for growth still to come for him as he ages up into the adult division is immense. Mestre, at just 16-years-old, has another year of growth before needing to make the big jump, and considering his second place finish in the Olympic Total with 565 pounds, his strength is undoubtedly there.
A few 14-15 athletes stood out as potential superstars for years to come–whether they landed on top of the podium during Games week or not, the growth they’re setting themselves up for could make them household names.
- Maria Granizo and Miley Wade fought it out all weekend for the top spot in the Girls 14-15 division, and Argentinian Granizo edged out Wade in the end by 10 points. The girls, both 15-years-old, shared the top spot in almost every test, claiming six out of the eight event wins over the weekend. Both will age up to the 16-17 division next year and will undoubtedly be names to remember.
- In a classic Justin Medeiros way, 15-year-old Jeremie Jourdan didn’t win a single event until the finale on day three of competition. But, with only one finish outside the top five, his consistency led him to eke out a gold medal, sliding into the top spot by 20 points. Jourdan placed second in the Olympic Total (450 pounds), a positive sign as he prepares to move up to the 16-17 division next year and contend with bigger, stronger athletes.
After three years of competition in the teen division, Ty Jenkins has three gold medals. This pattern has only been repeated a few other times in the division’s history, most notably with Dallin Pepper. This year, Jenkins won the 16-17 boys division by 170 points, claiming five of the eight events. On the men’s side, making the jump to the Individual division is notoriously difficult and can take years to successfully traverse, but Jenkins said in his post-win interview that he’s got his eyes set on a seamless transition.