There are many under-the-radar CrossFitters around the world who have the potential to break onto the scene in 2023. As the global realm of CrossFit media expands, more and more athletes’ stories are told, making the diamonds in the rough harder to find. While the following athletes aren’t necessarily going to qualify for the 2023 CrossFit Games, though not impossible, they may be threats in their respective Semifinals for years to come.
Below is a list of six athletes to watch during the 2023 CrossFit season. They are all under 23 years of age and have yet to make their CrossFit Games debut.
- 22 years old, NA East, ninth at the Granite Games Semifinal 2022
Stanley has been quiet in the offseason, but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t put in work. The North American East women’s field is deep in 2023. Stanley knows the challenge they pose from competing in the 2022 Granite Games. Although she ranked ninth overall at that contest, the caliber of the athlete ahead of her was as strong as any Semifinal in the world.
Stanley didn’t have any top-five finishes at the 2022 Granite Games but was consistent. She ranked between seventh and 14th in five of six events. In a Semifinal field of 60, no athlete can afford a bad finish. Her consistency could be the best going for her as she tries to qualify for the Games in what could be the most challenging Semifinal in the 2023 season.
- 20 years old, South America, fourth at the Copa Sur Semifinal 2022
Marquez ranked fourth in South America in 2022, two spots away from qualifying for the 2022 Games. She may have the best chance of anyone on this list to make the 2023 Games. She lives in Cookeville, TN — one of the best environments in the world for young athletes aiming to break through early in their careers.
Like Stanley, Marquez didn’t hit any home runs at the 2022 Semifinal but was consistent with all event finishes between fifth and 13th. There isn’t a dominant female athlete in South America, so Marquez is amongst several who have high hopes of qualifying for the 2023 CrossFit Games.
Emily de Rooy
- 21 years old, Oceania, seventh at the Torian Pro Semifinal 2022
The landscape in Oceania for women has taken a turn in 2023. Tia-Clair Toomey is out of the equation due to her pregnancy, and it’s unclear at the time of this article’s publication if Kara Saunders will compete. Even if the top two women in Oceania are out, the path to the Games down under remains a challenge.
If de Rooy is to head to Madison, she’ll need to jump at least two of the following four athletes: Ellie Turner, Madeline Sturt, Jamie Simmonds, and Bailey Rogers. Simultaneously, de Rooy will have to fend off other young challengers like Gemma Hauck and Gracie Walton. Unlike the other two females on this list, de Rooy managed finishes of third and fourth on the last two workouts of 2022 Torian Pro. Removing Toomey and Saunders 11 out of 12 available first and second-place finishes, de Rooy’s performance equates to two top-two finishes.
William (Bill) Leahy VI
- 21 years old, NA East, 10th at the MACC Semifinal 2022
One of the biggest surprises of the 2022 Semifinals was Bill Leahy setting the world record on 2014 Regional IE5 as part of three straight top-seven finishes in a competitive men’s field at the 2022 Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge (MACC). At that point, he trained CrossFit for about two years; his level of adaptation in that amount of time is phenomenal.
If Leahy can make similar strides forward in his third year, he could be in the equation amongst the top men in North America East. Unsurprisingly, his strength numbers were a bit down with only a 305-pound Barbell Complex; it will be difficult to catch up on strength quickly. However, if Leahy has closed that gap, he could make noise in his 2023 Semifinal.
- 20 years old, Oceania, 20th at the Torian Pro Semifinal 2022
Ellis had the least impressive Semifinal performance in 2022 of the athletes on this list. However, he had the most impressive offseason result taking third at the 2022 Down Under Championship (DUC) ahead of several men who beat him just a few months prior.
En route to that podium finish, Ellis had two event wins and two second-place finishes. Like Leahy, Ellis’ strength held him back in 2022. His 285-pound Barbell Complex ranked 22nd out of 30 at the 2022 Torian Pro, and his 110-kilogram Snatch Ladder at the 2022 DUC landed 19th out of 29. Ellis has been working on strength in his training, but it isn’t clear if that’s enough to convert a Games qualification in 2023. Still, expect him to post a much-improved overall ranking at the 2023 Semifinals.
- 19 years old, Europe, Semifinal Team Athlete 2022 Season
Hoffer is the only athlete on this list who did not compete as an Individual at the 2022 Semifinals. However, he finished 13th overall at the 2022 Dubai Fitness Championships (DFC). Hoffer flexed his gymnastics background at the 2022 Lowlands Throwdown. In Dubai, he had four top-10 finishes out of eight events, including his best finish (fifth) in the competition’s final event, “Walking with the Devil.”
That workout was a great example of overall fitness. It demanded a challenging combination of gymnastics via handstand walks and ring muscle-ups. It also featured weightlifting via the devil’s press and a double-dumbbell overhead walking lunge. A performance like that at the end of the competition is encouraging if you’re a Hoffer fan. While it’s never easy to qualify for the Games out of Europe, Hoffer should be in the mix in 2023.
Featured image: @caroline.stanley on Instagram