2024 TYR Wodapalooza: Women’s Indy and Women’s Team Podium Picks and Dark Horses

January 9, 2024 by
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Just as the men’s side of the 2024 TYR WZA is likely going to be an intense three-way battle for the individual crown with no clear favorite, the women’s side is expected to turn out similarly.

Without Laura Horvath, Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr, or Emma Lawson in the field, this week is our first chance to see who’s the “best of the rest.”

Along with that discussion, we will also take a look at the elite teams and make some predictions about who has the best chance to win against a stacked field.

  • Podium Picks: Athletes we believe have the best chance to finish on the podium.
  • Dark Horse Picks: A few athletes we believe might perform much better than expected.

Let’s dive in.

Podium Picks: Women’s Individual Division

Gabi Migala: Migala has been on an upward trend over the past five years, averaging a sixth-place finish at the CrossFit Games through the past three years and an all-time best finish of third overall last year.

She also won the European Semifinal last season and is coming off of a great fourth-place performance at the stacked 2023 Rogue Invitational, finishing only 20 points behind Lawson in third.

Here at TYR WZA, she is sure to place high in the first event, “Double or Nothin’,” and will look to capitalize later in the day on Friday.

In fact, by looking at the workouts, this programming is perfect for Migala.

There’s a good amount of heavy barbells, sandbags, and running, all of which she excels at. Her only weak points may be high-rep gymnastics and potentially swimming.

Overall, we believe Migala is in a perfect position to win 2024 TYR WZA.

Arielle Loewen: The athlete who might give Migala the hardest time is Arielle Loewen, who finished ahead of Migala and took the last podium spot at last year’s Games.

Loewen didn’t have the best showing at the Rogue Invitational, where she finished eighth overall, but the Rogue style of programming was not suited to her skillset as much as the programming at Wodapalooza.

And the last time Loewen was at Wodapalooza, she finished in third overall, just 24 total points behind second.

Loewen is an all-around solid athlete who will place high in most events, but she may have to do a little bit of damage control during the max snatch.

Loewen can find herself on the podium at the end of the competition, but she may need a mistake from Migala, as well as an event win of her own, to take the top spot.

Emma Cary: Emma Cary is like a silent assassin that many people still tend to overlook. 

She had the best comeback of the year at the 2023 CrossFit Games. She overcame two event finishes in 39th and 40th out of the first four events, but ultimately ended up finishing in eighth overall, only 10 points behind Katrin Davidsdottir in seventh.

Cary finished third at Wodapalooza last year and also recently had a great weekend at Rogue, where she finished sixth overall.

Cary is already at the top of the sport at 19 years old, and in the next couple of years, we expect her to start seriously striking for the current champs. This could potentially be the year that she shocks people, and it could even begin with an overall win here.

Dark Horse Picks: Women’s Individual Division

Dani Speegle: Not only do we see Dani Speegle sitting firmly in the top five overall, but she may even be able to fight for a podium position, considering she finished second overall last year, ahead of Emma Cary.

If she would’ve simply had a slightly better finish in event one instead of the 19th-place finish she had, she likely would’ve even won it all.

In 2022, Speegle finished fifth overall, just 10 points behind third-place Arielle Loewen. WZA and Speegle seem to mesh well, so she is our first pick to upset things at the top.

Olivia Kerstetter: While she did finish down in 14th at last year’s Wodapalooza, she made big changes in her training and even won Rookie of the Year at the 2023 CrossFit Games.

With a year of experience training at PRVN and a new confidence proving that she can hang with the best in the sport, we believe she’ll have a top-10 finish here at minimum.

Podium Picks: Women’s Team Division

Team Ice Barrel: On paper, this is the team that should dominate, and we have them pegged as the clear favorite in this competition.

Paige Powers and Baylee Rayl are best friends who train together practically every day at CrossFit Mayhem. The duo also has a strong relationship with Brooke Wells. This will make communication during events easier, which is perhaps the most important part of team competitions.

All three of these women have at least four years of experience at the Games, and Rayl even competed as a team athlete twice, with her best finish being fifth back in 2018.

The makeup of this team also gives them a good mixture of strength, gymnastics, and conditioning that essentially eliminates any major weaknesses for each athlete.

This should be the squad to beat, but they’re going to have some trouble with this next team.

Stronger Than a 90s Trend: If any team is going to steal the title from Team Ice Barrel it’s going to be this team.

All three members on this team, Kelsey Kiel, Kelly Baker, and Emelie Lundberg have Games experience in the team division, with a combined eight years between them.

This experience is going to be a massive advantage when it comes to figuring out strategies on the fly as well as how to effectively communicate.

Kelsey Kiel is coming off her best finish ever at the CrossFit Games, where her team ‘CrossFit OBA’ recently finished eighth overall.

Kiel will likely be the captain of this squad and I expect she’ll have them in championship contention.

Team Scandinavian: The athletes on this team may not be as well known as some of the others above (yet), but don’t let that fool you.

Both Matilde Garnes and Rebecka Vitesson have multiple years of experience at the Games, including a combined three years of experience competing there on a team.

Vitesson also happens to be coming off of her best year yet as she just debuted as a rookie in the individual division, finishing 25th overall.

Although Anikha Greer has yet to make the Games, she was only a mere three points away from qualifying this year through the North America East Semifinal. She has also performed well at WZA in the past and made Miami her home.

With direction from two experienced team athletes, Greer should be plugged in easily and this team should be contending for a second or third-place position throughout the weekend.

Dark Horse Picks: Women’s Team Division

Reebok Crew: The top two positions are most likely locked up, but this team comprised of Elisa Fuliano, Emily Basnett, and Alison Scudds could cause some problems for Team Scandinavian.

All three of these women have Games experience and Scudds’ team even finished fifth at the Games in 2019.

If they can stay consistent and avoid any major mistakes, they may just finish on the podium.

Team Frog Grips: While this team may not have the experience or bond that the other teams have, they may be able to make up for it with athletic talent. 

Two of the women on the team, Emily De Rooy and Victoria Campos have Games experience. Although they didn’t have great finishes at the 2023 Games, qualifying from the respective Semifinals is impressive on its own.

The third member of this group, Grace Walton, missed out on qualifying for this year’s Games by just 35 points at the Oceania Semifinal.

They will have an uphill battle, but they have a shot at a top-five overall finish.

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