Ingrid Kantola – aka: The Assassin

Ingrid is a special athlete. Everyone that watches her train or compete knows this. Since 2010, she has been one of the top female CrossFitters in the Region. Year after year she continues to train, push herself, get stronger, refine her skills and improve upon her ability to perform in high pressure situations. She has narrowly missed out on the Games on 3 different occasions (6th, 5th, 5th) and has been on two CrossFit Affiliate Teams. She has led every gym she has been a part of in terms of performance, and has been the rabbit for so many other female (and male) athletes in her presence.

She is the most intense athlete I have ever coached in training. She trains with intention and with focus. She is never satisfied with any result – almost to a fault. This is what makes her great. In competition, this intensity turns into an almost playful attitude. She loves to engage other competitors and talk about random and seemingly trivial things. She smiles up until the moment she starts her task or begins the event – then she is all-in until she is done.

She has achieved almost every goal she has set out to achieve, and I know she won’t stop until she is satisfied. I am incredibly lucky to have her by my side, and we as a team are incredibly lucky to have her train and compete with us. She adds a dimension to competition that all teams need, but very few have. She is the ultimate game-day competitor: the kind that always performs above her abilities (as hard as that is!). We would not be her if not for her, and I am so excited to see her on the biggest stage in the game again this year at the 2015 CrossFit Games.

I am especially fond of this athlete because she is my partner in crime. I love coaching her (most of the time 🙂 and I LOVE watching her compete. Ingrid, I am so proud of you and I love you! Kill ’em this week!

Jessica Estrada – aka: Dances with Wolves

Of all of the athletes on our team this year – and all of the athletes that I’ve coached, and competed with, I have a special bond with this one. Jess and I have been on several teams together, and I’ve had the privilege of coaching her through her hip surgery recovery and through this 2015 season.

We were teammates on a successful 2012 Games team, and then were teammates on an almost-succesful 2013 Regionals team that featured the now-infamous axle-bar incident 🙂 For better or worse, that is simultaneously one of my worst and best moments in CrossFit competition. It embodies the spirit of competition and of teamwork in the absolute worst and hardest of circumstances and also the strength that one athlete (Jess) can muster to get her team through.

At first glance, you might not think too much of Jess as an athlete. She is small – maybe to small to be strong. Maybe not big enough to be able to handle the stress and weight of high-level CrossFit. Jess quickly puts all of those thoughts to rest when you watch her in action. Though she is small, she is stronger than most women of her stature, and she knows herself so well as an athlete that she makes up for any possible disadvantage with her experience, strategy and heart.

After her hip surgery, she came back quicker than most athletes (and anyone I’ve seen) to hit her past PR’s on her way to setting new PR’s shortly thereafter. There was never a doubt in our minds that she would make it back to her “former” athletic self, but she surpassed even our expectations with the way she has trained this year and made it her business to be the best in the gym.

Jess is a powerhouse set in a small frame, and the best thing is that she has lots of potential left to grow into. If 2015 was her rebuilding year, then 2016 is going to be her year of dominance. She is and will be a staple of CrossFit Jääkarhu’s stable of impressive female athletes for years to come. She is a pleasure to coach and her heart and competitive spirit will serve her and the team well this year at the Games. This is her second Games appearance, and certainly not her last.

Both of these women are special in my life, and I love them both. Thank you ladies for being who ayou are and for allowing me to coach you and guide you. Now, enjoy your Games and give them hell!


CrossFit Jääkarhu is a local community in Austin, Texas that is focused on identifying goals, coaching progress and getting results. If you are interested in learning more about our gym, visit our main website (click here). About CrossFit Jääkarhu Programs Available How to Start

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