The Age-Group Quarterfinal (AGQ) will take place Friday, March 31, through Sunday, April 2. For the second time, the age-group athletes are following the format of Open – Quarterfinals – Semifinals – Games, which mirrors the season structure for the individuals and teams.
Like last season, 10% of age-group athletes from the Open in each division (minimum 200 athletes) qualified for the online Age-Group Quarterfinal. Once Quarterfinals are complete, 30 athletes from each age group will advance to the Age-Group Semifinals, held online at the end of April. From there, the top 10 athletes from each age group will compete at the CrossFit Games in Madison, Wisconsin, this August.
Age-group athletes have a few options to compete in Quarterfinals if they qualify in multiple divisions. Last season, there was a change in the rules that now allows age-group athletes to compete in the online age-group Semifinals, as well as the in-person individual or team Semifinals. This format for age-group athletes creates an opportunity for a “fall back” option if the athlete can qualify for the Games in the age-group Semifinals. Then, they can try to qualify for the Games as an individual or on a team as well. Last season, the fall-back option was not available with all athletes only able to compete in one Semifinal division. It will be a busy week for age-group athletes who are competing in the Team Quarterfinal, taking place Wednesday, March 29, and Thursday, March 30. If athletes are qualified with a team and an age-group division for Quarterfinals, they are in for five straight days of online competition.
We won’t know for sure who's competing in the AGQ until the first leaderboard results come out on Friday. Please note that the athletes discussed in this article are eligible to participate in the Age-Group Quarterfinal, however, some will choose to compete as individuals, on teams, or not at all for the rest of the season.
The table below shows the breakouts of past Games participation and results for this season’s Age-Group Quarterfinal qualifiers. Statistics from the 2022 AGQ are shown in parentheses for comparison.
|2023 Masters Online Qualifiers (2022 Numbers)|
|Masters AG QF Eligible||Past Games Athletes||Past Masters Games Athletes||Past Masters Podiumers||Past Masters Champions||Past Games Individuals||Past Games Team Members||Average Age|
|W35-39||2482 (2206)||80 (75)||17 (17)||6 (3)||2 (2)||22 (23)||60 (48)||36.8 (36.8)|
|W40-44||1852 (1617)||64 (56)||28 (29)||4 (7)||0 (2)||15 (13)||32 (28)||41.7 (41.7)|
|W45-49||1098 (946)||41 (44)||31 (36)||8 (5)||5 (1)||6 (6)||12 (10)||46.5 (46.5)|
|W50-54||643 (548)||32 (34)||27 (30)||6 (8)||3 (3)||1 (3)||8 (6)||51.5 (51.4)|
|W55-59||387 (330)||31 (28)||29 (27)||7 (5)||3 (2)||0 (0)||2 (1)||56.4 (56.5)|
|W60-64||213 (200)||29 (26)||29 (26)||6 (5)||2 (1)||0 (0)||1 (1)||61.4 (61.4)|
|W65+||200 (200)||28 (41)||28 (41)||6 (7)||2 (3)||0 (0)||0 (0)||66.9 (66.8)|
|Totals||6875 (6047)||305 (304)||189 (206)||43 (40)||17 (14)||44 (45)||115 (94)|
|M35-39||3469 (3074)||110 (99)||17 (15)||5 (3)||1 (0)||38 (30)||81 (75)||36.7 (36.6)|
|M40-44||2553 (2213)||60 (61)||33 (33)||5 (5)||2 (2)||11 (16)||31 (30)||41.5 (41.6)|
|M45-49||1544 (1354)||45 (41)||34 (33)||9 (7)||3 (2)||6 (5)||15 (13)||46.5 (46.5)|
|M50-54||934 (786)||37 (32)||30 (27)||5 (5)||1 (1)||3 (3)||6 (4)||51.4 (51.4)|
|M55-59||514 (440)||37 (36)||36 (35)||9 (6)||4 (2)||1 (2)||1 (1)||56.4 (56.4)|
|M60-64||260 (207)||35 (32)||35 (32)||7 (7)||2 (1)||0 (0)||0 (0)||61.2 (61.3)|
|M65+||200 (200)||28 (29)||25 (29)||6 (7)||2 (2)||0 (0)||0 (0)||66.5 (66.6)|
|Totals||9474 (8274)||351 (330)||213 (204)||46 (40)||15 (10)||59 (56)||134 (123)|
|All Tot.||16349 (14321)||656 (634)||402 (410)||89 (80)||32 (24)||103 (101)||249 (217)|
|All %||4.6% (4.4%)||2.8% (2.9%)||0.6% (0.6%)||0.2% (0.2%)||0.7% (0.7%)||1.7% (1.5%)|
As shown in the table above, the number of eligible masters increased from last season, which correlates to the increased overall Open participation. In general, most division categories saw just a slight increase (a few decreased). The average ages for each division varied only by a couple of decimal points, in keeping with historical averages.
Noteworthy Masters Storylines for the 2023 Season
Here are some of the masters stories to follow this season pertaining to historical records, achievements, and other significant interests.
Susan Clarke, Kyle Kasperbauer, and Kevin Koester will seek to continue their unbeaten streaks at the Games. All three athletes have won each time they’ve competed at the Games as masters. Only four athletes with three or more Games appearances as masters have yet to lose at the Games (Gord MacKinnon is the fourth). For Clarke, it would be an epic feat for her sixth Games gold at 64 years old (last year before aging up into the 65+ division). Only six masters have won a championship in the last year of an age division. If Clarke earns gold again this season, she will be the all-time masters champion with six, breaking her current tie with Mary Beth Prodromides who is out this season due to an injury. Kasperbauer and Koester are both seeking their fourth masters championships.
Kyle Kasperbauer at the 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games | Photo by Duke Loren
The Former Affiliate Cup Champions
There is potential this year for all three men from the 2015 and 2016 CrossFit Games Affiliate Cup Championship teams (CrossFit Mayhem Freedom) to square off in the Men’s 35-39 division. James Hobart has been in the division for a couple of years, and Rich Froning Jr. and Matt Hewett will join him this season. It may not happen, but fans can hope for a throwdown among the past teammates-turned-opponents at the CrossFit Games. Froning made the big move to step away from team competition after last season but left the door open for age-group competition. He is the most decorated CrossFit athlete of all-time with 10 gold medals (four individual and six team), and two silver medals (one individual and one team). Froning has competed at the Games every year since 2010, except for 2020 when the team competition was canceled due to COVID-19 limitations.
”Masters ironwoman” Lynne Knapman will attempt to compete in her 13th consecutive Games (and qualify for her 14th as she qualified for the 2020 CrossFit Games). She is the only masters athlete to compete in every CrossFit Games masters competition. Knapman’s potential record-extension is brought up each season. It is an outstanding accomplishment highlighting her longevity and commitment at the highest level of competition. No other master has yet to compete in 10 Games as a masters athlete.
Lynne Knapman at the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games
Third and Three
Ron Ortiz will try to become the third masters athlete to win a championship in three different age-group divisions. In 2021, Will Powell became the first masters athlete to do so and Mary Beth Prodromides also accomplished this feat in 2022.
Ron Ortiz at the 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games | Photo by Meg Ellery
A fun list to check out each season are the new 35-year-olds who are entering the masters ranks for the first time after competing at the Games as individuals or on teams. Some of this season’s notables include:
- Men: Rich Froning Jr., Scott Panchik, Elijah Muhammed, Steven Fawcett, Eric Carmody, and Matt Hewett.
- Women: Dani Horan, Bjork Odinsdottir, and Jay-Lee Mansy.
As former individuals advance to the masters division, we are seeing battles from past Games take place again. For instance, this season’s AGQ contains the following athletes in the 35-39 division:
- Ten of the 43 individual men from the 2014 Games.
- Eight of the 40 individual men from the 2015 Games.
- Eight of the 40 individual women from the 2015 Games.
- Eight of the 40 individual women from the 2017 Games.
- Seven of the 40 individual women from the 2016 Games.
CrossFit Games Career Masters Category Leaders (2023 AGQ-Qualified)
Note: Parentheses indicate all-time ranking
Appearances: Lynne Knapman, 12* (1st); Laurie Meschishnick, 9* (T-2nd); Ron Ortiz, 9* (T-2nd); Linda Elstun, 8* (T-6th); David Hippensteel, 8* (T-6th); Mary Schwing, 8 (T-6th)
*Indicates qualified for the 2020 CrossFit Games (2020 not added to total).
Championships: Susan Clarke, 5 (T-1st); Shawn Ramirez, 4 (T-3rd), Kyle Kasperbauer, 3 (T-5th); Kevin Koester, 3 (T-5th); David Hippensteel, 3 (T-5th); Jason Grubb, 3 (T-5th)
Podiums: Susan Clarke, 5 (T-2nd); Laurie Meschishnick, 5 (T-2nd); Ron Ortiz, 5 (T-2nd); Rebecca Voigt Miller, 4 (T-6th); Shawn Ramirez, 4 (T-6th); Kelly Friel, 4 (T-6th); David Hippensteel, 4 (T-6th); Jason Grubb,4 (T-6th); Mary Schwing, 4 (T-6th)
Susan Clarke at the 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games | Photo by flsportsguy photography
Event Wins: Susan Clarke, 23 (1st); Shawn Ramirez, 13 (4th); Ron Ortiz, 12 (T-5th); Cheryl Brost, 12 (T-5th); Laurie Meschishnick, 10 (T-8th); Jason Grubb, 10 (T-8th); David Hippensteel, 10 (T-8th); Cal Cherrington, 10 (T-8th)
Past Individual Champions Who Qualified for the AGQ: Rich Froning Jr (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014), Samantha Briggs (2013), Kristan Clever (2010), Tanya Wagner (2009)
Past Championship Team Members Who Qualified for the AGQ: Rich Froning Jr (2015, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022), Adrian Conway (2012, 2013, 2017), James Hobart (2011, 2015, 2016), Matt Hewett (2015, 2016), Chyna Cho (2019), Nuno Costa (2014), Jessica Core (2010), Adam Neiffer (2010), Nathan Loren (2010)
Multiple Division Podiums (Individual, Team, and/or Masters): Kyle Kasperbauer (all three), Rich Froning Jr. (individual and team), Samantha Briggs (individual and masters), Rebecca Voigt Miller (individual and masters), Adrian Conway (masters and team), James Hobart (masters and team), Chyna Cho (masters and team), Nathan Loren (masters and team)
2012 Reebok CrossFit Games Men's Podium: (Left) Matt Chan, Rich Froning, (right) Kyle Kasperbauer
All-Time Masters AGQ Overall Wins: Susan Clarke, 3 (T-1st); Cheryl Brost, 3 (T-1st); Shawn Ramirez, 3 (T-1st); Laurie Meschishnick, 2 (T-5th); David Hippensteel, 2 (T-5th); Ron Ortiz, 2 (T-5th); Lynne Knapman, 2 (T-5th); Bill Grundler, 2 (T-5th); Karen McCadam, 2 (T-5th)
All-Time Masters Open Overall Wins: Bill Grundler, 6 (1st); Cheryl Brost, 5 (T-2nd); Samantha Briggs, 3 (T-5th); David Hippensteel, 3 (T-5th)
All-Time Masters AGQ Test/Event Wins: Susan Clarke, 13 (1st); Giulio Silvino, 8 (2nd); Laurie Meschishnick, 7 (T-4th); David Hippensteel, 7 (T-4th); Bill Grundler, 5 (T-7th); Karen McCadam, 5 (T-7th)
All-Time Masters Open Workout Wins: Samantha Briggs, 14 (1st); Susan Clarke, 11 (T-3rd); David Hippensteel, 11 (T-3rd); Bill Grundler, 9 (T-5th);
Sam Briggs during the announcement of Open Workout 21.3 and 4
The oldest athlete to qualify for the AGQ is Dan Contreras at 76 years old. He is also the oldest male athlete who qualified for the AGQ in 2021 and 2022.
Ina Koolhass Revers is the oldest woman to qualify for the AGQ at 75 years old. Twenty-eight 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. Last season, the numbers were 23 women and 16 men. These totals were about double to triple the amount of 69+ year-olds we saw qualify for the 2020 AGQ and earlier. The addition of the 65+ division in the 2021 season gave a lot of athletes over age 60 more motivation to compete. During the CrossFit Games season, the community is pushed to test their fitness with new movements, heavier weights, and tighter time domains — masters athletes use this opportunity to compete later in their careers, extending their fitness potential as they age.
Teenage Divisions Numbers
The table below breaks out the Games history of the qualifiers in each teenage division. The 2022 AGQ numbers are shown in parentheses for comparison.
|2023 Teenager Online Qualifiers (2022 Numbers)|
|Teenagers AG QF Eligible||Past Teenager Games Athletes||Past Teenager Podiumers||Past Teenager Champions||Average Age|
|G14-15||200 (200)||1 (4)||1 (1)||0 (0)||14.7 (14.7)|
|G16-17||200 (200)||19 (21)||3 (3)||2 (2)||16.6 (16.5)|
|Totals||400 (400)||20 (25)||4 (4)||2 (2)|
|B14-15||200 (200)||0 (4)||0 (0)||0 (0)||14.7 (14.8)|
|B16-17||200 (200)||16 (12)||3 (3)||1 (1)||16.6 (16.7)|
|Totals||400 (400)||16 (16)||3 (3)||1 (1)|
|All Tot.||800 (800)||36 (41)||7 (7)||3 (3)|
|All %||4.5% (5.1%)||0.9% (0.9%)||0.4% (0.4%)|
With the minimum 200 athlete rule in effect, eligible teenagers remained the same as last season. Past Games athletes slightly declined from last season for the girls; the boys stayed the same. Similar to the masters divisions, the average ages for each teenage division barely varies, which has been the historical trend.
Like in seasons past, there are a handful of teenage girls who have the opportunity to compete in both the individual and age-group divisions, having already qualified for the individual Semifinals. In 2022, 16-year-olds Olivia Kerstetter and Trista Smith had the option to go individual in the Semifinals, but both opted to stay in the teenage divisions. However, with the rule change previously discussed, they have the option this season to compete in both the individual and the age-group Semifinals as 17-year-olds (assuming they qualify for the age-group Semifinals). If they compete as individuals, they will continue the pattern we have seen the last couple of seasons with Emma Lawson competing as a 17-year-old in the 2022 CrossFit Games. Mallory O’Brien and Emma Cary also competed as 17-year-olds in the 2021 CrossFit Games. It worked out pretty well for Lawson, O’Brien, and Cary with them taking sixth, seventh, and sixteenth, respectively, at the CrossFit Games as 17-year-olds. We will see if Kerstetter and Smith keep up the trend. Additionally, Lucy McGonigle could compete in the individual Semifinals as a 16-year-old, or she may opt to stay in the teenage division this season as a 16-year-old like Kerstetter and Smith did last season. Or, she too could compete both as an individual and age-group athlete.
Olivia Kerstetter during the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games | Photo by Johany Jutras
CrossFit Games Career Teenager Category Leaders (2023 AGQ-Qualified)
Note: Parentheses indicate all-time ranking.
Championships: Olivia Kerstetter, 2 (T-2nd); Ty Jenkins, 2 (T-2nd), Lucy McGonigle, 1 (T-8th); RJ Mestre, 1 (T-8th)
Podiums: Olivia Kerstetter, 2 (T-7th); Ty Jenkins, 2 (T-7th); Lucy McGonigle, 2 (T-7th)
Event Wins: RJ Mestre, 8 (T-5th); Olivia Kerstetter, 7 (T-7th); Ty Jenkins, 4 (T-12th)
All-Time Teenager AGQ Test/Event Wins: Olivia Kerstetter, 5 (T-3rd); Lucy McGonigle, 3 (T-8th); Kaiden Hogan, 3 (T-8th)
All-Time Teenager Open Workout Wins: Lucy McGonigle, 4 (T-5th); Olivia Kerstetter, 3 (T-8th), RJ Mestre, 3 (T-8th), Isaiah Weber 3 (T-8th), Trista Smith 3 (T-8th)
This will be the last class of teenagers who were affected by the 2020 Games teenage divisions cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Olivia Kerstetter is the only teenager who qualified for the 2020 Games and is eligible for the 2023 AGQ. She would be the eighth teenager to qualify for the Games in all four years of teenage division eligibility.
Ty Jenkins during the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games | Photo by flsportsguy photography
CrossFit Quarterfinals Finale Week
It will be a busy week of Quarterfinals with teams kicking things off on Wednesday, March 29, and the age-group athletes starting Friday, March 31. The season gets serious now with Games contenders needing to perform at their best to make the top 30 in their age division to advance to Semifinals. Be sure to follow along on the Games site this weekend for daily updates on leaderboard results.
Cover Photo: Kevin Koester at the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games | Photo by Charlotte Foerschler