Team Reebok East Wins the CrossFit Team Series
Team Reebok East Wins the CrossFit Team Series (TRECS) was formed in late 2009 by several members of the original east coast team. They were all former college athletes with some having played sports at other colleges or universities. Their goal was to win the national championship of their sport, which they did in 2010, defeating a strong field including teams from Canada and Australia.
The core of the team consists of four women: Amanda Kessel, Erin O’Connor, Courtney Geddes and Katie Haines. Two men are involved in the team: Ryan Jones and Mikey Waddell.
All five have been competing together since high school.
In addition to their success at the Games, they won a silver medal at the World Championships in May 2010. At this time they were known as “the Renegades.”
The team’s name comes from the fact that they had won three consecutive national championships before being eliminated in the first round of last year’s Games. They also refer to themselves as “East” because it is believed that if they had won one more title, they would have become part of the west coast team.
Since then, their performance has declined dramatically. In 2012, they finished fourth place at nationals and were eliminated in the second round of this years Games.
In this year’s competition, the team faced the “Firm” from California on Wednesday (26 July) in the first stage of the competition. The Firm was seen as one of the strongest teams in the competition and included “the Freak,” a former member of Team Reebok East who had helped them to win their third straight title before moving across the country for work.
The East fought back after falling behind early to win the event and advance to the next round.
“That was the most exciting event I’ve ever been a part of,” said Waddell.
The second event, called “Lift the Longboat,” is scheduled for Thursday morning (27 July). It involves carrying a length of timber known as a “boat” on the shoulders and racing up and down a 300-yard sand hill.
The team go through similar routines before each event to prepare themselves mentally. Typically, they surround themselves with teammates and listen to music on their iPods.
“It’s about getting into that familiar state…
we all do it a little differently,” said O’Connor.
The team credits Crossfit for much of their success. All of them train at the gym owned by the father of former “East” team member Gary Helmick, a former navy diver.
“When you’re tired and tell yourself that you can’t do one more pull-up, that’s when you find out just what you’re made of,” said Waddell.
“The saying around our gym is ‘you don’t get better in the comfort zone,'” he added.
The team is managed by Mikey Waddell’s father, Jim. The team trains at Crossfit Anchorage in Alaska.
The team trains by lifting weights and running in the gym’s basement to loud music. They also use a grassy field next to the parking lot to sprint and do obstacle courses.
“We like to keep it pretty simple,” said O’Connor. “
If there’s an obstacle you can’t surmount, how are you going to do it when you’re tired?”
When they’re not training they teach classes at the gym.
In the past, the team has trained at a wide range of locations around the world in places such as Scotland and Sweden. They were scheduled to train in Australia this year but had to pull out due to lack of funding.
They will spend around eight hours a day training when they travel to California next week. “We’ll have some down time but we have to make the most of it,” said Waddell.
This is the first year that the team has traveled with their wives.
“We’re very excited. We love to travel and see new places,” said Jim Waddell’s wife, Brenda.
“With our husbands training quite seriously for most of the day, it gives us time to go sightseeing.”
The women say that the team has a great support network behind them and are determined to win a title for Crossfit Anchorage.
“They’re an awesome group of guys to travel with. I’m really proud of them,” said Brenda Waddell.
“It’s the biggest event we’ve ever been to. We’re going to give it everything we’ve got,” said Amanda Kessel.
Sources & references used in this article:
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- Investigating the organisational culture of CrossFit (O Érus – 2016 – theseus.fi)
- The World of CrossFit (B Bailey, AJ Benson, MW Bruner – International Journal of Sport …, 2019 – Taylor & Francis)
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