Age-group athletes will compete in the inaugural Age-Group Quarterfinal (AGQ) from Thursday to Sunday, April 21-24. The competition is the result of an effort to streamline the age-group competition season to match the individual athletes, who progress from the Open to Quarterfinals, then Semifinals, and ultimately, the Games.
Approximately 10% of athletes from the Open in each age division qualify for the online Age-Group Quarterfinal. From there, 30 athletes from each age group will advance to the Age-Group Semifinals, to be held online in late May and early June. The top 10 athletes from each age group will compete at the CrossFit Games in Madison this August.
Masters Men at the 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games | Photo by flsportsguy photography
Last year, the 10% cutline was used to set the number of athletes from each age group eligible to compete in the AGOQ. In 2022, a minimum of 200 athletes from each age group are eligible to compete in the AGQ, regardless of Open age-group participation numbers. Before 2021, 200 athletes from each age group were invited to the AGOQ.
Also new to this season: Athletes may only compete in one Semifinal division — age group, individual, or team. In the past, masters and teenagers could use the AGOQ as a fallback for Games qualification if they were unable to qualify out of the Semifinals or Regionals as an individual or on a team. Now, age-group athletes must declare their route to Games qualification at the Semifinal stage.
We won’t know for sure who's competing in the AGQ until the first leaderboard results come out on Friday. This article will go over highlights of those athletes eligible to compete in the AGQ, noting that some will choose to compete as individuals, on teams, or not at all.
Lynn Knapman at the 2021 Age-Group Online Qualifier | Photo by @wykieetsebeth
Masters Divisions Numbers Breakdown
The below table provides a breakout of past Games results for this year’s Age-Group Quarterfinal qualifiers. Statistics from the 2021 AGOQ are shown in parentheses for comparison.
As shown in the table above, the number of eligible masters increased from last year, which generally correlates to the increased overall Open participation. The number of past Games athletes also generally increased across all divisions. The average ages for each division varied only by a couple decimal points, in keeping with historical averages.
Notable Masters Storylines for the 2022 Season
Below are some of the masters storylines to follow this season pertaining to historical records/achievements and other significant interests.
- Mary Beth Prodromides and Ron Ortiz will try to become the second and/or third masters athletes to win a championship in three different age-group divisions. Last year, Will Powell became the first masters athlete to do so.
Ron Ortiz at the 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games | Photo by Charlotte Foerschler
- Kyle Kasperbauer and Kevin Koester will seek to continue their unbeaten streaks at the Games. Both have won each of the Games they’ve competed in as masters. Only four masters with three or more masters Games appearances have yet to lose at the Games.
Kyle Kasperbauer at the 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games | Photo by Charlotte Foerschler
- Lynne Knapman will attempt to compete in her 12th consecutive Games (and qualify for her 13th, as she qualified for the 2020 CrossFit Games). She is the only masters athlete to compete in every CrossFit Games masters competition.
Lynne Knapman at the 2021 Age-Group Online Qualifier | Photo by @wykieetsebeth
- With athletes only being able to compete in one Semifinal division this season, it will be interesting to see which path notable athletes — such as Rebecca Voigt Miller, Samantha Briggs (depending on whether a Semifinal backfill spot opens up for her), Jenn Ryan, Jason Smith, and Rob Forte — will take. Currently, a total of 19 women and five men will have to decide whether to compete in Semifinals as a master or individual. Note: There are some masters-aged athletes presently in potential backfill positions for the individual Semifinals.
Jason Smith at the 2021 Fittest in Cape Town Semifinal | Photo by @southafricansportsimages
- Each year, there is a new crop of newly minted 35-year-old masters who have competed previously at the Games as individuals or on teams. Some of this year’s notables include:
- Women: Emilia Leppänen, Charlotte Spence, Emily Bridgers, Chyna Cho, Heather Paas, Tara Jenkins, Angelica Bengtsson, Brandi McGoldrick
- Men: Sam Dancer, Rob Forte, Adam Mansy, Rogelio Gamboa, Ben Stoneberg, Paul Tremblay, Austin Malleolo, Justin Ahrens, Christian Harris, Craig Kenney, Frederik Aegidius, Jeremy Meredith, Michael McGoldrick. Although Rich Froning Jr. will be 35 years old at the Games this year, he just missed the age cutoff by roughly a week.
Chyna Cho at the 2018 CrossFit Games
CrossFit Games Career Masters Category Leaders (2022 AGQ-Qualified)
Note: Parentheses indicate all-time ranking
Appearances: Lynne Knapman, 11* (1st); Ron Ortiz, 9* (2nd); David Hippensteel, 8* (T-3rd); Laurie Meschishnick, 8* (T-3rd); Will Powell, 8* (T-3rd); Mary Beth Prodromides, 8 (T-3rd); Mary Schwing, 8 (T-3rd).
*Indicates qualified for the 2020 CrossFit Games (2020 not added to total).
Championships: Mary Beth Prodromides, 4 (T-2nd); Will Powell, 4 (T-2nd); David Hippensteel, 3 (T-5th); Kyle Kasperbauer, 3 (T-5th); Kevin Koester, 3 (T-5th).
Podiums: Mary Beth Prodromides, 6 (1st); Will Powell, 5 (T-2nd); Ron Ortiz, 5 (T-2nd); Laurie Meschishnick, 5 (T-2nd); David Hippensteel, 4 (T-6th); Mary Schwing, 4 (T-6th).
Event Wins: Will Powell, 15 (2nd); Mary Beth Prodromides, 14 (3rd); Ron Ortiz, 12 (T-5th); Cheryl Brost, 11 (7th); David Hippensteel, 10 (T-8th); Patty Failla, 10 (T-8th); Laurie Meschishnick, 8 (T-12th); Kyle Kasperbauer, 7 (T-16th); Jolaine Undershute, 7 (T-16th); Stephen Angove, 7 (T-16th).
Past Individual Champions Who Qualified for the AGQ: Samantha Briggs (2013), Graham Holmberg (2010), Kristan Clever (2010), Tanya Wagner (2009).
Past Championship Team Members Who Qualified for the AGQ: Adrian Conway (2017, 2013, 2012), James Hobart (2016, 2015, 2011), Chyna Cho (2019), Mandi Janowitz (2017), Nuno Costa (2014), Mel Ockerby (2011), Adam Neiffer (2010), Nathan Loren (2010).
Multiple Podiums (Masters, Individual, and/or Team): Kyle Kasperbauer, Adrian Conway, James Hobart, Samantha Briggs, Rebecca Voigt Miller, Nathan Loren
All-Time Masters AGOQ Event Wins: Giulio Silvino, 8 (2nd); Patty Failla, 7 (T-3rd); David Hippensteel, 7 (T-3rd); Laurie Meschishnick, 6 (T-5th); Karen McCadam, 5 (T-7th); Bill Grundler, 5 (T-7th); Will Powell, 5 (T-7th); Giulia Roggio, 4 (T-13th); Ron Ortiz, 4 (T-13th).
All-Time Masters Open Workout Wins: Samantha Briggs, 13 (1st); David Hippensteel, 11 (T-2nd); Bill Grundler, 9 (T-4th); Lidia Beer, 8 (T-7th); Patty Failla, 8 (T-7th); Chris Podesto 7 (T-9th).
David Hippensteel at the 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games | Photo by flsportsguy photography
“70+ Age Division”
The oldest athlete to qualify for the AGQ is Lynn McTaggart at 76. For the men, Dan Contreras is the oldest at 75 (Contreras was the oldest athlete to qualify for the AGOQ in 2021 as well). Twenty-three women and 16 men who qualified for the AGQ in the 65+ division will be 70 or more years old according to their competition age for the Games this season. This is triple the total number from last year, which saw six women and seven men qualify for the AGOQ who were 70 or older according to their competition age for the Games. The addition of the 65+ division last season gave a lot of athletes over 60 more motivation to try to compete again at the Games. This is reflected in the increase in AGQ qualifiers 70 and older for 2022 and begs the question: Is it time for a 70+ division?
Lynn McTaggart, 76
Teen Divisions by the Numbers
The table below breaks out the Games history of the qualifiers in each teen division. It also provides the same statistics from the 2021 AGOQ in parentheses for comparison.
The number of eligible teenagers increased from a total of 656 last year to 800 across all age groups this season. Past Games athletes also significantly increased across all of the different categories, mainly due to the canceled 2020 Games for the age-group athletes. Similar to the masters divisions, the average ages for each teen division did not vary, which has been the historical trend.
As with the masters, teen athletes may only compete in one Semifinal division this season, meaning some teenagers — including Emma Lawson, Olivia Kerstetter, and Trista Smith — will have to make a choice: teen division or individual?.
Trista Smith at the 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games | Photo by Meg Ellery
CrossFit Games Career Teenager Category Leaders (2022 AGQ Qualified)
Note: Parentheses indicate all-time ranking.
Championships (all tied for 6th): Emma Lawson, 1; Olivia Kerstetter, 1; Hailey Rolfe, 1; Ty Jenkins, 1.
Podiums: Emma Lawson, 2 (T-7th); Olivia Kerstetter, 1 (T-40); Lucy McGonigle, 1 (T-40); Ty Jenkins, 1 (T-40); Isaiah Weber (T-40), 1; Gustavo Pusch (T-40), 1.
Event Wins: Emma Lawson, 4 (T-10th); Olivia Kerstetter, 4 (T-10th); Ty Jenkins, 2 (T-20th); Gustavo Pusch, 2 (T-20th); Rökkvi Guðnason, 2 (T-20th).
All-Time Teenager AGOQ Event Wins (all tied for 13th): Emma Lawson, 2; Olivia Kerstetter, 2; Elijah Subiono, 2; Isaac Rojas Vargas, 2; Kaiden Hogan, 2.
All-Time Teenager Open Workout Wins: Emma Lawson, 5 (T-3); Lucy McGonigle, 3 (T-7); Rökkvi Guðnason, 3 (T-7); Isaiah Weber 3 (T-7).
The all-time stats above show the effects of the 2020 Games cancellation for the teenage athletes. Missing one of their four eligible years significantly affects the current teen division athletes from ranking higher on the career statistical categories. We’re also seeing some of the best girls — such as Mallory O'Brien, Emma Cary, and possibly Emma Lawson — passing up their final year of eligibility as teens to compete as individuals. Missing that last year in the teen division prevents them from matching or exceeding career teen division Games records set by the likes of Haley Adams and Dallin Pepper.
Ty Jenkins at the 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games | Photo by Meg Ellery
The Next Stage
Thousands of age-group athletes are soon to embark on the next stage of the journey to the Games. The goal? Make the top 30 and advance to the Semifinals, from which just 10 athletes from each age group will advance to the Games in Madison. Be sure to follow along on the Games site this weekend for daily updates on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.