Photo Credit – Athlete’s Eye
Africa and North America East Semifinals
Games spots for teams were determined prior to the season with no intention or effort to evaluate the competitive field of play. Week 1 of Semifinals has 11 available qualifying spots for teams, 10 spots are allocated to the North America East field, and one spot is available in Africa.
Africa Team Field
As mentioned in our women’s article for week one, the fittest woman in Africa last year, Michelle Merand, has put together a team for the 2023 season. Team CrossFit FBDV Mayhem Africa is comprised of Merand, Angelique Connoway, AJ Visser, and Alan Foulis. They appear quite strong thus far having won three of the five Quarterfinals tests in Africa and accumulating only 10 total points.
However, due to a general lack of depth in that field, Cape CrossFit Wolfpack and CrossFit Tijger Valley Synergy were only three and six points behind them respectively. I think the edge has to be given to FBDV, but these three teams will likely be duking it out throughout the competition, and even one finish on any test outside the top five spots will likely be enough to keep any of these teams from qualifying for the Games.
Brian’s Africa Semifinal Team Picks
|Africa: 1 spot|
|1||CrossFit FBDV Mayhem Africa|
|2||Cape CrossFit Wolfpack|
|3||CrossFit Tijger Valley Synergy|
|4||CrossFit 10 Stars Hybrids|
|5||CrossFit Juggernaut Unstoppable|
*I know these are the exact top five teams coming out of Quarters, but in this case, I don’t know enough about these teams to go off of anything else.
North America East Team Field
I don’t know if there are more individuals or teams in any competitive field of these Semifinals who are fit enough to compete at the Games, and won’t get to, than the teams in NA East. Nevertheless, they only get ten, so we’ll try to identify the most likely candidates among them.
PRVN and Everybody Else?
Based on Quarterfinals, it kind of feels that way. Five first place finishes and a fourth is hard to argue with. The eight points they earned is four times better than the second place finisher in the East during Quarters. Like many of the favorites, we will be talking more about this team at the Games than during Semifinals. But, Andrea Nisler and Taylor Williamson continue to compete together as the dominant force to beat when it comes to a pair of women in the Team division. This year they are joined by Tola Morakinyo and Tim Paulson, both of whom are extremely fit in their own right. This team is a championship threat.
The Next Four
After PRVN I believe there is another group of four (that would have been five) teams who I feel confident will secure a Games spot:
- CrossFit Mayhem Independence: This team is led by Angelo DiCicco, who took the Independence team to a fifth place finish at the Games last year. He’s joined by Sam Demeester and Zoe Jones who moved from Michigan to Tennessee this offseason to be on this team, and Kyra Milligan of Underdogs Athletics who rounds out this team nicely. They were second after Quarters, and should be near the podium throughout Semis as well.
- CrossFit OBA: Bringing back three of the four teammates from last year when they were 11th at the Games. Joey Tortora, Niklas Hecht, and Kelsey Kiel are the returners. They added Emelie Lundberg from Sweden this year who seems rather comparable to Ashleigh Wosny who they had last season. There is a ton of experience in the team divisions amongst this group that will likely navigate this Semifinal very smoothly.
- Crossfit Krypton: The only real worry for this team is health, and that’s only because the Smith Brothers ultimately withdrew from Wodapalooza in January. Assuming they are healthy, this could be a fun team to watch. Ben and Alec Smith are joined by good friends in their own right Caroline Spencer and Erin O’Donnell. All four of them have qualified for the Games individually at least once; and Alec has podiumed at the Games in the team division before too (2019 with CrossFit Krypton).
- TTT CrossFit Black: It’s an easy team to overlook because they don’t have the big names the aforementioned teams do, but this team is very good. Tanner Balazs, Mike Needleman, and Jordan Adcock have been at Semifinals as individuals each of the past two years. Hannah Hardy was with the CrossFit Westchase team that placed third at Semifinals and 17th at the Games in 2021.
The fifth team that would have been in this group is Crossfit CLT the Grit Haus, however, after their leader in Kevin Steinhaus suffered a bicep injury last month, it’s not clear how well he will have been able to recover from that leading into this competition. If he’s good to go, this team is very strong.
The Other Qualifying Positions
This is where the battle will really heat up. I am willing to say there are at least another 12 teams in this field who are Games level and will be contending for the remaining four or five spots. In this regard it will be like a mini Games for the teams in week one in North America East, a very high level and competitive field vying for relatively few spots.
Brian’s North America East Team Picks
|NA East: 10 spots|
|1||CrossFit East Nashville PRVN||11||CrossFit Move Fast Lift Heavy 365|
|2||CrossFit Mayhem Independence||12||CrossFit Pro1 Montreal|
|3||CrossFit OBA||13||CrossFit Westchase|
|4||CrossFit Krypton||14||CrossFit Milford Team Conquer|
|5||TTT CrossFit Black||15||CrossFit Resurrection|
|6||CrossFit MFLH 247||16||CrossFit PSC Invasion|
|7||CrossFit CLT The Grit Haus||17||AB CrossFit- Mayhem|
|8||CrossFit Future of the Brutes||18||CrossFit Crash Black|
|9||12 Labour CrossFit Lions||19||L’Usine CrossFit Sherbrooke U Team|
|10||8th Day CrossFit||20||CrossFit 1977|