Site Search

Athlete Search

WOD Search

Photo Search





Monthly Archives
Build a Champion
Additional References
« Beast Mode: Jay vs. Jacob + New Year's Schedule Adjustment | Main | Quote of the Week vol. 223 »

Behind the Champion: Erica

In July 2016, I attempted to regenerate the Henkel connection we had briefly with Barb and the infamous Jas. Nobody will ever forget Jas. And nor should we ever forget Jas.

So anyway, last year Barb connected me with a girl named Debra at Henkel who did a great job of organizing a pretty big group of Henkel employees to test out some free sessions for a few weeks. Then once we started charging (something like 50 bucks for 4 or 5 sessions), we lost all but four of them. And once those started dwindling, I gave the people the option to join our group at the Champions Club. We kept one. And that one has been one of the most enjoyable athletes to coach in here. She came in as Erica Krueger, an out-of-shape former cheerleader who had good mobility and body control, and not much strength or endurance to back it up. Plus I'm pretty sure she had an asthma attack the first time she did more than 30 jump ropes (granted, that was on one of those 100+ degree days).

Over a year later and the Champions Club has watched Erica get a new last name, achieve milestones like first dip, pull-up, and handstand push-up, and mesh in with our 4:30 session. She even made the hour drive to come to our Christmas workout where she took one for the team and paired up with Lindsey. As I decided to bring back the Behind the Champion series, I was looking for people to interview that kind of flew under the radar. Mr. Auggie was the first person I thought of, and Erica was the next. In this interview we highlight:

  • her secret skill nobody knows about
  • an embarrasing childhood incident with directions
  • her 5th grade love affair with that cute boy next to her
  • her lessons learned from college
  • cheerleading jokes
  • and much more

So here you go you ungrateful rascals. Behind the Champion featuring Erica Krueger/Kreeger/Gibbons

Can you talk a little bit about Anchor Bay? Where is it? What is it? Are there street lights?

Algonac is a small town located on the St. Clair river. I live on the outskirts of Algonac on Anchor Bay, Lake St. Clair. If you drive M-59 (Hall Road) straight across Anchor Bay (let the imagination take you because we all know you can’t drive across a lake) you will land almost in my front yard. Yes, there are street lights depending on which way I take home although not many.

How did you end up all the way out here when you live in Anchor Bay?

I was right out of college, living in Eastpointe and looking for any job related to Chemistry. I was ready to make the big bucks, or what I thought that was at the time. I had an interview with Henkel and when they offered me the job I took it no questions asked. After about 6 months I met my now Husband who was living in Algonac. Once we started getting serious I asked the question, as most people ask me now, would you consider moving closer into the city? His answer was along the lines of; no and if you want to live closer to work then there’s the door. He grew up a half mile down the road and his Dad grew up two houses down from where we live now. So, I am still working in the same place but live in place where it feels like vacation as soon as I step out of the car.

Do you get annoyed that I keep thinking you live in Anchor Bay instead of Algonac? What do you do to pass the time on the car ride?

No, it doesn’t really bother me. Mostly due to the fact that everyone said my maiden name wrong growing up so I got used to just going with the flow and Anchor Bay isn’t a city it’s the name of a school district and the bay I live on so it’s close enough.  I listen to the radio a lot in the car. A little morning talk show in the morning but my car rides tend to be an hour concert with me as backup vocals! The best/worst part is, I can’t sing to save my life.

Were you more of a SpongeBob or Looney Tunes kid growing up?

I have watched both although growing up I was more of a Rugrats fan. I watched looney tunes when I was visiting my Dad. My brother was into SpongeBob growing up, I was forced to watch it with him, apparently there is this rule that siblings are supposed to share a TV.  Then when my nephew was born, and I was called upon to babysit SpongeBob was still on and repeating episodes my brother watched 10 times already.

What’s the most embarrassing childhood memory you have?

Let’s start by saying I am terrible with direction, absolutely no sense of direction was graced upon me at birth. I had just moved to a new house in a new city the summer before 8th grade. I had met a couple friends the beginning of the year and our hangout of choice was of course the Mall. We had one of our friends drop us off and when asked how to get back to my house I had no clue where to say. Cell phones were non-existent for an 8th grader and not every adult had one. So we had to drive around until something looked familiar. No one ever talked about it again but has always been embarrassing to me as I still struggle with direction to this day.

Were you with the nerdy kids or the cool kids? Have you ever cheated on a test?

Definitely considered a nerdy kid, although being a cheerleader I was always hanging out with the “cool kids” for cheer related functions. First and only time I cheated on a test was in 5th grade math class. I probably didn’t need to, but the boy offered up his answers and I can’t deny the crush I had on him.

What became of the boy?

Absolutely nothing; we went to different middle schools for 6th grade and then I moved after 7th so we never even had a chance.

What is something you enjoyed doing in middle school/high school years that you tried to keep on the down low?

This is super embarrassing too, but I slept with a baby blanket until Freshmen year of college. Spending the night at a friend’s house was always tough trying to hide it or even when friends came over I always had to make sure it was stuffed in my pillow case. I find out now, talking with a few of my high school friends, that most of them slept with one too.

What made you decide to go to Detroit Mercy? Did you ever meet Shannon?

Quite a few reasons lead me to Detroit Mercy. They had a great dental program and seeing as I wanted to be an Orthodontist it was a great option; the huge scholarship was a plus too. They also had a cheerleading team which offered a scholarship and free books. I am very family oriented, so it was close enough to live on campus but go home every weekend if I wanted. I never personally met Shannon, but I do remember seeing her around campus and the strength & conditioning rooms.

Can you talk about what a normal college day would look like for you during competitive cheer season?

We never competed which was always a disappointment but a normal day in season would be waking up at 5am for 6am workouts then heading to the dining room after for breakfast. Maybe an hour of sleep and then onto a full day of class with a break for lunch, I had between 16 and 18 credit hours each semester. Dinner and then a couple hours of study time before practice at 9-11pm.

Would you rather have your favorite cheerleading team win a championship, or find five dollars on the ground?

I don’t follow teams anymore, so I don’t have a favorite, but I have friends that coach and having them win a championship would be awesome. Would do them more good than me finding five dollars and spending it on something I don’t need.

Well we all know that cheerleaders don’t compete anyway. But if you guys didn’t go to “competition” then what did you do? Just cheer at games? Was that hard to justify the early workouts if there were no competitions? How did scholarships work?

We cheered sideline for basketball; men’s and women’s. Sometimes there were events that we had to attend, when the athletic director wanted UDM present. We once had to cheer on runners in a Detroit marathon. I never thought about justification, which I guess was a good thing because there really was none. I think our coach just wanted us all stronger in hopes that it would help with pyramids and individual group stunts. Scholarships were given to everyone but the amount you received was based on seniority and what you brought to the team; whether it was versatility or tumbling skills. The guys always received more money no matter what because it was hard to keep them around.  We all received free books for each class too.

Why chemistry? Why not math or biology or something else? Did your parents or anyone else influence your decision?

I originally wanted to be an orthodontist since I can remember but it all kind of fell apart in front of me. I started college as a Biochem major in hopes of going to dental school after I graduated. Freshmen year was a big eye opener and I realized college was going to be a lot harder than I realized. When I knew I wouldn’t be able to get into dental school I switched just hoping to graduate with a biochem degree and when I realized I wouldn’t be able to graduate in the normal 4 years I switched to plain jane Chemistry. Although I switched my career path a few times I loved all the classes I took and am happy where I have ended up. My mom had some influence over my decision I realize now but not enough to have changed any of my decisions.

What’s the most difficult decision you made in college that turned out well? What’s the most difficult decision you made in college that turned out poorly?

I know it’s simple, but I debated on joining the Cheerleading team at college for quite a while. I wasn’t sure I was even good enough or that I wanted to spend any of that little extra free time on practices and games. It turned out to be a great opportunity, I met some of my best friends to this day cheering and the scholarship helped too.

A decision I made that turned out poorly was to drop Physics B instead of studying a little harder. I was taking 18 credit hours and I just didn’t seem to have enough time to study and my grades reflected it. I took the easy way out by dropping it when I could have just prioritized my time better. It ended up putting me a little behind and was a factor in my decision to switch majors, yet again.

Is there anything in college that you worried too much about that, looking back, was not that big of a deal?

I used to worry about getting to class early, absolutely no benefit. I would leave my dorm room 10-15 minutes early even though it only took me 5 minutes to walk across the whole campus.

How did you get dragged into the Champions Club? What were your first impressions of me and the gym in general?

I was testing some parts at work and a coworker walked in and started talking about CrossFit and how the place across the street wanted to get a group of us together. At this point my days in the gym were dwindling week after week and I was willing to try something new. The next week her and I left work, drove across the street and walked in to what reminded me of a cheer gym I once practiced at with that blue mat staring at me. It was HOT and no fan to be seen, I still think you need one. You seemed to know your stuff and coached at a pace that worked for both of us.

It took a while for you to warm up and talk to people, but now you seem like you’re cool with just about everyone (even Jacob, which is not easy to do). How long did it take for you to feel that way? Who were the first people you can remember talking to on a regular basis here?

It usually takes me awhile to warm up to people, but I usually get along with everyone, or at least I try. It took me a couple months to feel comfortable here, not because everyone isn’t welcoming and friendly but more because I started in with the main groups all by myself which is out of my comfort zone. Although it’s hard to choose I would have to say that Crystal and Kroll were probably the first two.

What is the best piece of advice you can remember getting?

Choose a career before a career chooses you.

What is something random you are really good at? How did you get good at that thing?

I am great at putting puzzles together. I used to do them a lot as a kid; my mom even gave me my own puzzle table downstairs with its own light hung above it. She doesn’t even like putting one together with me anymore.

What strategy do you use (besides the obvious Find All The Edges)?

I like to pick an object in the puzzle that's colorful and easy to pick out from other pieces. I sift through the pieces in the box looking for the colors until I put together enough parts of the puzzle where I can then lay the rest out on the table. This lets me glance at all the pieces at once.

Ten years from now you will be…?

I’m not good with change so hopefully still with Henkel in a higher position after a couple promotions and driving over to work out with a lovely group of people. The little cabin my husband and I live in will be torn down and the house of dreams will be built and we’ll have two Algonac Muskrats running around.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (7)

What the hell.....

December 28, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLindsey

Go muskrats!

December 28, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJacob

Lindsey is now my favorite crossfitter.

December 29, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Carey


ps. I love the article

December 29, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLindsey

Such a lovely person, I'm glad Erica stuck it out with champions club!

December 29, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMrs. Carey

Erica is awesome, and this only proves that.

December 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSabal

glad you stuck around! hopefully we will work out at the same session soon

December 30, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterkroll

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Textile formatting is allowed.