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Rogue 2023 Women’s Field: Picks, Performances and Patterns

October 24, 202321 min read

Photo Credit: Athlete’s Eye

By: Brian Friend and Barclay Dale

Rogue Women’s Picks: Best Performances and Movements

By pretty much any metric you want to use, from top to bottom, the Rogue Invitational is the most prestigious CrossFit competition of the year. You get a majority of the fittest men and women from the previous season, and add a handful of athletes who have separated themselves in the “Q”, which is the most challenging online qualifying process in the sport for all the right reasons. 

This year, to help quantify how impressive the field is, Barclay Dale and his database at B.Friendly Stats provides us with each athlete’s:

  • Best 5 performances of their career  OR all top-three finishes of their career
  • Evaluation of their best competitive patterns (note that these are with reference to performances from 2019 to the present)

Additionally, you’ll see Brian’s picks (1 through 20) for this year at the Rogue Invitational. Those picks won’t necessarily be “defended” here, but Tuesday night on the Sevan Podcast I’ll be comparing my picks to John Young , where we will dive into the reasoning behind the picks. 

The athletes are listed alphabetically by first name:

Alex Gazan

Top 5 Career Finishes

  • 1st at 2023 Semifinals: North America West
  • 4th at 2022 Semifinals: Granite Games
  • 5th in 2023 Open
  • 5th at 2023 CrossFit Games
  • 5th at 2022 Zelos Games

Best Competitive Patterns

Most are aware of Gazan’s extreme proficiency in upper body pressing and pulling, but she has performed consistently well on a few things you may not have expected. Her best movements in competition have been sled push or pull, carries of any kind, overhead squats, and burpees. Her best combination of implements by far is of the GWW variety. 

Brian’s Rogue Pick: 5th

Arielle Loewen

Top Career Finishes

  • 1st at 2022 Semifinals: Last Chance Qualifier
  • 1st at 2021 Semifinals: Granite Games
  • 3rd in 2023 Quarterfinals
  • 3rd at 2023 Semifinals: North America West
  • 3rd at 2023 CrossFit Games
  • 3rd at 2022 Wodapalooza

Best Competitive Patterns

Loewen’s two best movements in competition consist of one which is unlikely to be seen at Rogue, handstand walking, and one that is very likely to be seen at Rogue, ring muscle ups. Other notably strong movements for Loewen are double unders and deficit handstand push-ups. Her best style of a programmed event is GM, which she has top quarter finishes in over 70% of the time.

Brian’s Rogue Pick: 7th

Bethany Flores

Top 5 Career Finishes

  • 1st at 2021 Semifinals: West Coast Classic
  • 1st at 2019 Sanctionals: SouthFit CrossFit Challenge
  • 2nd at 2022 Wodapalooza
  • 5th at 2023 Semifinals: North America West

5th at 2018 South Regional

Best Competitive Patterns

The top two movements in competition for Flores are echo bike and running. She also fares well on an interesting combination of gymnastics movements (pistols, toes to bar, handstand push-ups, pull-ups, and rope climbs). It’s a pretty well balanced blend of gymnastics and monostructural proficiency. If any scored events of the GG, MM, or GMM combination happen to appear Flores is a great pick. The bad news is that weightlifting appears in most of the events at Rogue.

Brian’s Rogue Pick: 13th

Christine Kolenbrander

Top 5 Career Finishes

  • 2nd at 2022 Zelos Games
  • 4th at 2023 Semifinals: North America West
  • 5th at 2022 Semifinals: Syndicate Crown
  • 6th at 2021 Semifinals: MACC
  • 9th at 2021 Semifinals: Last Chance Qualifier

Best Competitive Patterns

Kolenbrander shows up elite in a category which no other athletes male or female up to this point have: max strength events. Although with less frequency, the next most likely movements for her to excel at are carries of any kind, legless rope climbs, and front squats. All three of those have a good chance of showing up in some capacity at Rogue, and if by chance they are paired together, you’ll likely be looking at Kolenbrander’s top performance of the weekend. 

Brian’s Rogue Pick: 16th

Dani Speegle

Top Career Finishes

  • 2nd at 2023 Wodapalooza
  • 2nd at 2019 Sanctionals: MACC
  • 3rd at 2022 Semifinals: Granite Games
  • 3rd at 2019 Sanctionals: Strength in Depth
  • 4th in 2021 Quarterfinals
  • 4th at 2021 Semifinals: West Coast Classic

Best Competitive Patterns

Right on cue, Speegle registers as even more proficient on max strength scored events than Kolenbrander, with elite output 93% of the time a max lift or complex shows up. Barbell lifting make up the totally of her high output movements including cleans, jerks, snatches, and deadlifts. Any scored event with weightlifting as a primary movement patterns score well for her, unless they are paired with a high dose of monostructural work. 

Brian’s Rogue Pick: 12th

Danielle Brandon

Top 5 Career Finishes

  • 1st at 2022 Semifinals: MACC
  • 2nd at 2023 Semifinals: North America East
  • 3rd at 2021 Semifinals: West Coast Classic
  • 3rd at 2020 Sanctionals: Mayhem Classic
  • 4th at 2022 CrossFit Games

Best Competitive Patterns

Brandon is a slam dunk in events with handstand walking or handstand push-ups, but it’s not her only area of excellence. She also performs consistently well with the echo bike, double unders, short distance running, and sled work. In terms of movement combinations the three which she dominates are G, GG, and perhaps more surprisingly MMW. However, those are not common patterns of programming at Rogue.

Brian’s Rogue Pick: 10th

Elena Carratala Sanahuja

Top 5 Career Finishes

  • 1st at 2022 French Throwdown
  • 2nd at 2022 Semifinals: Last Chance Qualifier
  • 2nd at 2019 Sanctionals: Pandaland CrossFit Challenge
  • 3rd at 2022 Madrid Challenger Series
  • 4th at 2023 Madrid CrossFit Championship

Best Competitive Patterns

Carratala registers very high when dumbbells are involved. In fact three of her top four individual movement scores come on devil’s press, dumbbell box step overs, and dumbbell thrusters. As seen above, she has had her best success at big competitions in Europe, time to see how that translates to the most talented off-season field in North America. If there was one programming combination to watch for her on it would be GWW style events.

Brian’s Rogue Pick: 20th

Emily Rolfe

Top Career Finishes

  • 1st at 2019 Sanctionals: Granite Games
  • 3rd at 2022 Dubai CrossFit Championship
  • 4th at 2021 Semifinals: Atlas Games
  • 5th at 2022 Semifinals: Granite Games
  • 6th at 2023 Semifinals: North America West
  • 6th at 2019 Sanctionals: Dubai CrossFit Championship

Best Competitive Patterns

While biking, running, and swimming are known areas of excellence for one of the best monostructural athletes in the game, she also does very well with overhead squats and sandbag cleans. With the exception of swimming, all of those elements could be seen at Rogue, making her a potential sneaky pick in a few events throughout the competition. 

She has a high level output of 90% or better on GMM, MM, GG, MMM, and M style events. Considering there were no gymnastics movements which appeared as her best movement, the success on the GG combination is the only surprising one on that list. 

Brian’s Rogue Pick: 11th

Emma Cary

Top 5 Career Finishes

  • 1st at 2023 Semifinals: North America East
  • 2nd in 2021 Open
  • 3rd at 2023 Wodapalooza
  • 3rd at 2021 Semifinals: Granite Games
  • 4th in 2023 Quarterfinals

Best Competitive Patterns

Cary may be one of the athletes who you know is good, but you’re not exactly sure why or what she’s so good at compared to many of the other women at Rogue. I can simplify that for you in one sentence: she’s almost always good when asked to go overhead. Overhead movements that show up with high frequencies of proficiency are snatching, overhead squats, overhead lunging, wall balls, and wall walks. Now, you may notice that handstand push-ups and jerks aren’t on that list. So if anything, it’s the snatch grip overhead that is a huge strength for her. 

In terms of movement combinations she has 100% proficiency in terms of top quarter finishes on a very wide variety of events which include at least one combination of each discipline (M, W, and G) in isolation: MM, MMW, WW, WWW, and GGG. She also has a 85% high output rate on the second event of any competition, so take that for what you will. 

Brian’s Rogue Pick: 6th

Emma Lawson

Top 5 Career Finishes

  • 1st at 2022 Semifinals: Atlas Games
  • 2nd at 2023 CrossFit Games
  • 3rd in 2023 Open
  • 3rd at 2022 Rogue Invitational
  • 4th at 2023 Semifinals: North America East

Best Competitive Patterns

Lawson’s top two movements are echo bike and ring muscle up. She also scores well 75% of the time or better on legless rope climbs, running, snatching, pistols, and sled work. I see a lot of movements there which Rogue is well known for including. 

Brian’s Rogue Pick: 3rd

Gabriela Migała

Top Career Finishes

  • 1st at 2023 Semifinals: Europe
  • 1st at 2020 Sanctionals: Norwegian CrossFit Championship
  • 2nd at 2020 Sanctionals: Strength in Depth
  • 3rd in 2022 Quarterfinals
  • 3rd at 2022 Semifinals: Lowlands Throwdown
  • 3rd at 2021 Dubai CrossFit Championship
  • 3rd at 2021 Rogue Invitational

Best Competitive Patterns

Speaking of movements which often show up at Rogue, Migala is built for this competition. A study of her competitive history shows that nearly every movement she has a 75% proficiency rate or better at is also a common movement at Rogue (running, biking, dumbbell snatch, ski erg, clean and jerk, yoke carry). She’s a beast on monostructural and weightlifting compared to her gymnastics, and this is a competition in which M and W dominate the programming. 

Brian’s Rogue Pick: 4th

Karin Freyová

Top Career Finishes

  • 1st at 2023 French Throwdown
  • 1st at 2023 Madrid CrossFit Championship
  • 1st at 2022 Dubai CrossFit Championship
  • 1st at 2022 Marbella Championship
  • 2nd at 2022 French Throwdown
  • 2nd at 2022 Semifinals: Lowlands Throwdown
  • 2nd at 2020 Sanctionals: Mayhem Classic
  • 2nd at 2019 Sanctionals: Dubai CrossFit Championship

Best Competitive Patterns

Similarly to Migala, no gymnastics show up on the top of her proficient movement lists. She’s performed best on scored events including ski erg, snatching, devil’s press, sandbag events, swimming,  and weighted running.  The combinations of MMM and WW are all but guaranteed good top quarter finishes should they happen to show up. 

Brian’s Rogue Pick: 8th

Kyra Milligan

Top 5 Career Finishes

  • 11th at 2022 The Fittest Experience
  • 14th at 2022 Semifinals: MACC
  • 14th at 2022 Zelos Games
  • 15th at 2021 Semifinals: MACC
  • 22nd at 2022 Madrid CrossFit Championship

Best Competitive Patterns

Milligan yields top performances 50% of the time on scored events which include jerks, front rack lunging, front squats, and anything testing for max strength. This is a better field than she’s ever competed against before though, so it could be tough sledding. If a weightlifting test in isolation (or a couple) come out, she might put up a decent early score.

Brian’s Rogue Pick: 18th

Laura Horváth

Top Career Finishes

  • 1st at 2023 CrossFit Games
  • 1st at 2022 Semifinals: Lowlands Throwdown
  • 1st at 2022 Rogue Invitational
  • 1st at 2021 Dubai CrossFit Championship
  • 1st at 2020 Sanctionals: Strength in Depth
  • 2nd in 2023 Quarterfinals
  • 2nd at 2021 Semifinals: Lowlands Throwdown
  • 2nd at 2021 CrossFit Games
  • 2nd at 2018 Europe Regional
  • 2nd at 2018 CrossFit Games
  • 3rd at 2023 Semifinals: Europe
  • 3rd at 2022 CrossFit Games
  • 3rd in 2021 Quarterfinals

Best Competitive Patterns

Horvath scores with 100% top quarter finishes on most monostructural and weightlifting style programmed events which include MMM, MMW, WW, MM, WWW, MWW, and GWW. She also has a fun stat of nearly 75% elite level output on the final event of any competition. 

In terms of specific movements it’s mostly anything involving moving weight, but rope climbs of any style, and biking also show up very high on the list. 

Brian’s Rogue Pick: 1st

Lauren Fisher

Top 5 Career Finishes

  • 1st at 2016 California Regional
  • 2nd at 2023 NorCal Classic
  • 2nd at 2018 Meridian Regional
  • 3rd at 2014 Southern California Regional
  • 5th at 2017 California Regional

Best Competitive Patterns

Single modality gymnastics events are by far Fisher’s best performing movement or combination in her rather limited individual competitive career since 2019. She also does relatively well on running, swimming, snatching, overhead squatting, and ring muscle ups. Similarly to Milligan, she has no experience competing against a field this talented though, so take those results with a grain of salt until we see how she fares against this level of competition.

Brian’s Rogue Pick: 19th

Manon Angonese

Top 5 Career Finishes

  • 2nd at 2019 Sanctionals: CrossFit Lowlands Throwdown
  • 3rd at 2022 Madrid CrossFit Championship
  • 4th at 2019 Sanctionals: Italian Showdown
  • 6th at 2022 Dubai CrossFit Championship
  • 6th at 2021 Semifinals: Last Chance Qualifier

Best Competitive Patterns

Angonese is more or less a weightlifting specialist when it comes to competition, of the top seven performing movements, five of them are in the realm of weightlifing: shoulder to overhead, devil’s press, overhead squats, carries, and cleans. The other two are events on an air runner, which we will not see at Rogue, and legless rope climbs

Brian’s Rogue Pick: 14th

Paige Powers

Top 5 Career Finishes

  • 1st at 2023 Wodapalooza
  • 2nd in 2023 Open
  • 2nd at 2022 Semifinals: Atlas Games
  • 6th at 2023 Semifinals: North America East
  • 10th at 2023 CrossFit Games

Best Competitive Patterns

Powers has one of the most diverse lists of movement proficiency. None of them show up at 75% threshold or above however. So it’s a strange combination of being pretty good at many things, but not dominating in anything. Some of those top movements in terms of her elite competitive output are echo bike, d-ball cleans, swimming, snatching, GHD sit-ups, and handstands push-ups

Where she does show 100% output in terms of top finishes are on MMW and MMM style programmed events.

Brian’s Rogue Pick: 9th

Paige Semenza

Top 5 Career Finishes

  • 2nd at 2019 Sanctionals: Brazil CrossFit Championship
  • 3rd at 2022 Semifinals: Syndicate Crown
  • 5th at 2019 Sanctionals: MACC
  • 5th at 2018 Atlantic Regional
  • 8th at 2021 Semifinals: Atlas Games

Best Competitive Patterns

In terms of top end movement output, Semenza has some clear strengths: snatching, overhead squatting and rope climbs. In terms of combinations of movements, she is always good in MMW and GG style events. 

Brian’s Rogue Pick: 16th

Shelby Neal

Top 5 Career Finishes

  • 1st at 2021 Crash Crucible
  • 7th at 2022 Semifinals: MACC
  • 9th at 2023 Semifinals: North America East
  • 12th at 2018 Atlantic Regional
  • 16th at 2021 Semifinals: Granite Games

Best Competitive Patterns

Neal’s best movement by a notable margin is one Rogue has never programmed: handstand walking. If they do program it, keep an eye on her. After that the only other two movements she has consistently scored well on over 50% of the time are overhead squats and toes to bar

Brian’s Rogue Pick: 17th

Tia-Clair Toomey

Top Career Finishes

  • 1st in 2022 Quarterfinals
  • 1st at 2022 Semifinals: Torian Pro
  • 1st at 2022 CrossFit Games
  • 1st in 2021 Open
  • 1st in 2021 Quarterfinals
  • 1st at 2021 Semifinals: MACC
  • 1st at 2021 CrossFit Games
  • 1st at 2021 Rogue Invitational
  • 1st at 2020 Sanctionals: Mayhem Classic
  • 1st at 2020 Sanctionals: Wodapalooza
  • 1st at 2020 Sanctionals: The Rogue Invitational
  • 1st at 2020 CrossFit Games
  • 1st at 2019 Sanctionals: Wodapalooza
  • 1st at 2019 Sanctionals: The Rogue Invitational
  • 1st at 2019 CrossFit Games
  • 1st at 2018 Pacific Regional
  • 1st at 2018 CrossFit Games
  • 1st at 2017 CrossFit Games
  • 2nd in 2022 Open
  • 2nd at 2017 Pacific Regional
  • 2nd at 2016 Pacific Regional
  • 2nd at 2016 CrossFit Games
  • 2nd at 2015 CrossFit Games
  • 3rd at 2015 Pacific Regional

Best Competitive Patterns

It just so happens that the best is last in this alphabetically sorted article. So we’ll show Toomey’s results as we did for Adler with the men. The percentage indicate what we consider the frequency she finishes in the top quarter of the field on a movement or programming style in all her individual competitions since 2019:

Top Movements:

  • ANY Burpee 94.4%
  • ANY Handstand Push Up 93.8%
  • ANY Clean 92.6%
  • ANY Snatch 92.0%
  • ANY Deadlift 91.7%
  • Deadlift 91.7%
  • Jerk 90.9%
  • Toes to Bar 90.0%
  • ANY Muscle Up 89.5%
  • Box Jump Over 88.9%
  • Double Under 85.7%
  • Dumbbell Snatch 85.7%
  • Pistol 85.7%
  • Handstand Push Up 80.0%

Programming Combinations: 

  • GMM 100.0%
  • MMW 100.0%
  • GG 100.0%
  • WWW 100.0%
  • MM 100.0%
  • MWW 100.0%
  • GM 100.0%
  • 2nd Last Event 100.0%
  • GGM 100.0%
  • MMM 100.0%
  • GWW 100.0%
  • GGG 100.0%
  • Chipper 95.7%

Now, she hasn’t done any of that after giving birth, which happened less than six months ago. We’re about to find out what’s possible in that regard this weekend with Toomey.

Brian’s Rogue Pick: 2nd

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Brian Friend

Brian stumbled upon CrossFit in the Fall of 2013. He has been a writer, data analyst, content creator, commentator, and broadcast coordinator. He's worked at a majority of the largest CrossFit competitions over the last three seasons, is a regular guest on the Sevan Podcast, and has been amongst the leading sports analysts in the sport in recent years. He has a passion for advancing the sport of CrossFit, and spreading the CrossFit methodology, by living it out in both his personal and professional life.

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