Masters Fitness Championship Hosts 500 Athletes, its Largest Competition to Date
Held last weekend at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, IN, the three-day Masters Fitness Championship, hosted Elite and Rx Masters competitors, ages 30 and above, competing as individuals and in male and female teams of two.
Some background: As the premier annual competition for masters, the Masters Fitness Championship, a CrossFit sanctioned event, hosts athletes from throughout the greater CrossFit community for its fourth year. Since its inception in 2020, the event has nearly tripled in size and has drawn in some big names including Anna Tunnicliffe Tobias, Jenn Ryan, Dex Hopkins and Jason Grubb.
The 2023 event saw 500 athletes competing with some tests known the athletes beforehand, and some that were revealed upon the start of the competition. Fans, spectators, families and friends completely filled the space, cheering on the athletes as they battled for the podium.
Ken Battiston competed in the 35-39 category, and won Test 4, “The Gallows.” When asked what it meant to him to have his daughter watching him from the crowd, he responded,
- “It does a lot, I love having her here, and in the gym everyday. She gets to see a lot of strong women do a lot of really amazing things. I want her to see that. I want her to see how men and women interact and how they should interact. I love being able to set that example and show her that everyday.”
Elite and Rx individuals faced seven tests, teams faced six, over the three day competition with a classic mix of strongman implements like heavy sandbags, as well as barbells, gymnastics, jump rope crossovers and a pool swim for individuals.
When asked about his first year competing at the event, Dex Hopkins shared his excitement and emphasized the unique community that is the masters athletes.
- “These are people in affiliates that I’ve spent a decade with. And so to see them out here, test themselves, the longevity of the people that are able to be in the sport that long it’s super important to keep that alive and have a spot where they can showcase. A lot of these guys are … full time people. I’ve been waiting to be a Master for 10 years, so I’m super excited to join the community,” said Hopkins.
2023 results: The winners of the Elite and Rx categories were the following individuals:
- 30-34 Elite Division: Malachi Bennett | Sarah Sullivan
- 35-39 Elite Division: Travis Flannigan | Jamie Latimer
- 40-44 Elite Division: Rudolph Berger | Anna Tobias
- 45-49 Elite Division: Jason Grubb | Sara Queiroz
- 50-54 Elite Division: Scott Williams | Erika Nordenstrom-Benninghoff
- 55-59 Elite Division: Mike Egan | Lee-Anne Greer
- 60-64 Elite Division: Gary Gaudry | Betsy Vanderburgh
- 65+ Elite Division: Jim Peeper | Theresa Demich
- 30-34 Rx Division: Michael Rosa | Kristen Hernandez
- 35-39 Rx Division: Trevor Turner | Autumn Mills
- 40-44 Rx Division: Aron Parker | Diana Smirnova
- 45-49 Rx Division: Eric Matuszak | Christine Jelenevsky
- 50-54 Rx Division: Scott Bradley | Melissa Peters
- 55-59 Rx Division: Kurt Gawne | Tracey Bailey
- 60-64 Rx Division: Joseph Babiarz | Kim Taylor-Papp
- 65+ Rx Division: Jeff Porter | Joanna Tunnicliffe
The winners of the team divisions were the following:
- 30-39 Team Division: Guns and Buns | Broadway Girl
- 40-49 Team Division: Overkill | Townies
- 50-59 Team Division: Bros with Beards | Invictus Indomitable
- 60+ Team Division: Rush Hour | Vegan Grandmas
See who else competed and their placement, by checking out the full leaderboard.
The bottom line: The future is unknown as to the status of age-group competitors at the CrossFit Games, so competitions like the IF3 Juniors and Masters World Championship, Legends and the Masters Fitness Championship are all the more significant for athletes aging up and continuing their competitive journey. Additionally, it’s the age-group athletes that arguably hold some of the most inspiring storylines in our greater CrossFit community.
Clint Russell, 14-year affiliate owner of CrossFit Coronado shared his thoughts on the significance of such a large scale masters event and the strength of the community after winning Test 4: The Gallows, in the 40-44 category:
“I guarantee you there are many many people here that have changed their lives so that they could do this. When working on these things, I don’t drink alcohol, I eat vegetables, I eat more protein. I do the things that will make me be a better grandpa someday. And I guarantee you tons of people here are in that same category. It gives them something to do a little bit more, set a good example for their kids and things like that,” said Russell.