This is a very special post for me.
As you all know, Team Central will compete this weekend for 3 coveted spots to Carson, CA. We have two women competing on the individual side: Carey Kepler and Karen Pierce.
I have looked up to and admired Carey since the day I first met her and she put me through elements in 2008. I have seen her compete at the Games numerous times, and have also had the privilege of competing alongside her at the 2012 Regionals and 2012 Games. She is proof that a little bit of natural talent and a whole lot of hard work is all it takes to make it in this game (that and an extremely supportive family).
I have known and worked alongside Karen since ~2010. We competed “against” each other at the 2011 Regionals (she was on Team RedBlack and I on Team Central) and then we teamed up at the Games in the 2012 season. In that same season, she competed as an individual at Regionals and proved that she had what it took to stand amongst the best our Region has to offer. She’s back this year to prove that she has what it takes to make it all the way to Carson.
This year’s team is by far the most talented and organized that CF Central has ever produced. On the women’s side we have our Team Captain: Lisa Thiel, Chelsea McKinney, Ingrid Kantola and Judy McElroy. On the men’s side we have Brandon Mayernik, Jeff Vanlandingham, Jeremy Kampen and Reid Reagan.
While all of the above athletes has immense CF experience both at the local and Regional level, only Brandon returns from the 2013 team. Lisa has not competed on Team CC since 2010, and Ingrid, Chelsea, Judy, Jeff, Jeremy and Reid are first-time Team CC athletes.
It is an honor and a pleasure to train this team. None of you will ever truly know how hard they have trained and how much they have sacrificed. I have asked a lot of this team so far, and they have come through each and every time.
I have been around all of these athletes from the beginning. I have witnessed Ingrid come back from open heart surgery to compete at Regionals 3 years in a row, and now step onto the team.
I have watched Karen grow from a “boot-camper” into a full-fledged beast of an athlete. I have coached Chelsea, Jeff and Reid for the last 2-3 years.
Chelsea went from the “best in her class” at the RedBlack Gym… to one of the top female athletes in the South Central Region.
Jeff transformed from a 170 lb. marathoner to a 200# grown-ass man. Probably one of the most coachable athletes I’ve ever had, Jeff has done exactly everything he has needed to do to reach his goals.
Reid has always had a motor, but struggled with 200# front squats. He now hits mid-300’s with ease. Reid lives and breathes this sport, and I am truly honored to have him as an athlete. He is a man amongst men – gracious and humble at all times.
Lisa has done just about everything — competed for the CC’s on the team, competed for eh CC’s as an individual, given birth to a child, competed as an individual shortly thereafter, and now completely transformed again and is back on the team.
Judy came to us raw! — and over time has refined her strength, Gymnastics and skills into a serious threat for the 2015 season.
Carey has been competing since 2008, and has proven herself time and time again to be one of the best there is.
Brandon has only been in the game for ~2 years, but in that time, I have never seen such development by any athlete in any sport. Ever. From a 185# snatch to a 300# snatch in approximately 1.5 years is absolutely ridiculous, and a testament to his willingness and ability to learn, listen, train and grow.
Jeremy has been with us less time than the rest of these athletes, but he adds a layer of experience, depth and attitude that we definitely needed. He is a natural leader and a great personality to help lead our team. Being a 2x Individual Regional athlete and top open finisher doesn’t hurt either.
If you are in the program at CCDT, you have seen it with your own eyes, and most if not all of you have been there and done the training. You have helped push this team to their limits so that they can achieve what so very few in the world can: a chance to compete at the highest level of our Sport: The CrossFit Games.
No matter the results this weekend, I am proud to be a part of this year with this team. But know this: our preparation has not been “one year”. The 2014 Regionals has been YEARS in the making. Some of these athletes have dedicated themselves to their long-term development for 2, 3, 5, maybe 7 years. This is the culmination of countless hours on the clock, thousands of lifts, thousands of WODs and gallons of sweat, blood and tears. This is the self-inflicted but unseen physical, mental and emotional hurt that is required to compete at this level. This is IT!
To our team, good luck. You know what you have to do. Have faith in your training and know that you are prepared. EXECUTE.
To our fans, spectators, brothers and sisters in training all – thank you so much for your support. It means more to us than you will know and without it, our team would not be where we are today.
Love you guys.
Week 46 Training: 14.05.23
South Central Regionals, Day 1