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Entries in rookies (20)

Champions Club Summer 2018 Dream Team + Athlete of the Summer

While not quite as difficult as 2015, this Summer was a two-person race similar to 2014's between Jason and Lauren. Jennifer Banet vs. Erica Krueger: workout domination vs. Most Improved Player. Since early July, it seemed it would come down to these two, and neither budged. Jennifer slipped in attendance towards the end, and I was hoping she would make it to at least 70%. Meanwhile, Erica ran into a little dry spell during the workouts in late-July. Still both kids put up very impressive bodies of work this Summer, and made this decision difficult for me.

The Athlete of the Summer 2018 goes to Jennifer Banet.

For Jennifer, it really came down to performance, and she set the tone with the first two workouts of the Summer. From that point on I really kept a harsh eye on her for every session. And I have to say this is the first time I can remember where there were truly no off-days. Not a single one. We all know Jennifer's track background and how well she performs in the running/light weight workouts, but this Summer she really got challenged with heavier weights - whether it was the heavy dumbbells on Erin, 65-lbs. on the snatch/double under couplet, 45-lb.plate on the Overhead lunge workout, 125 lbs. on the deadlift/burpee classic, or 95-lb. sdhp's on the late-July sprint WOD. Her impressive performances on these "weakness" workouts, coupled with her usual dominance in workouts like Gunny earner her this award.

Congratulations Jennifer! Be on the lookout for her Feature Editorial coming soon.

...........

Jennifer Banet was the headliner for what proved to be one of the top 3 Summers the Champions Club has ever seen (2015 and 2013 were probably 1 and 2 respectively). We saw lots of new people, the return of some old people, and most importantly, we saw the attendance back on track.

Here's the complete Summer 2018 Dream Team (attendance percentage in parenthesis):

  1. Ashley Fry (100)
  2. Cecilia Steinwascher (93)
  3. Katie Shakes (86)
  4. Danielle Worden (84)
  5. Josie Junkin (82)
  6. Nick Bewick (73)
  7. Erica Gibbons (70)
  8. Lindsey (68)
  9. Mrs. Bennis (68)
  10. Jennifer (67), Mrs. Colussi (67), Ally Kauzlarich (67)

Ashley Fry. For the first time since Katie Bromm's legendary 2013 Summer, we had a perfect attendee in the books. We officially counted 73 days of possible attendance, and Ashley Fry was at every single one. The only day she was absent for was a random Saturday on June 16 where nothing of any importance happened whatsoever, and we did not count that weekend or Monday anyway. Fryday came into the Summer on a 3+ month hiatus, and it took her a minute to get her fitness and strength back where it was, but she closed out really well and is looking to have a great fall.

Record signup. We finished with 94 freaking people signed up for the Summer. Our previous record was somewhere in the 70's. During the winter my goal was to have a 100-person Summer about 2 or 3 years from now. Hopefully this Summer is a sign that I may have been too conservative with my wish. This, of couse, made attendance-keeping very difficult, as many of the new kids came on as the Summer was already in progress. Thankfully, Jacob came through and helped me get the numbers on record. I'm fairly certain that the numbers aren't off my more than a percent for anyone, if at all.

Rookies. Going into the Summer I basically had to make the choice between our current people and prospecive new people. I chose the new people and while it definitely hurt people like Reggie, Mr. Auggie, and Shannon, it helped bring on our most populated Rookie session of all time. We had 24 rookies split between the 10 am and 5:30 pm sessions. Coach T brought in a fair amount, Shakes and Jacob each brought in one, and the rest seemed to straggle in from recommendations from you kind folks. It was awesome, and it looks like we're going to have a pretty good carryover.

Parents. The thing that spearheaded our Summer 2015 was the influx of awesome parents; the Andersons, Mr. Auggie, Mr. WA, and Mrs. Kroll all joined that May and it set us up for a great Summer. This time around we had two very crucial families join: the Benni and Colussis.

I'm telling you all right now, we are really lucky to have these two families with us. They buy in to everything we do, they spread the word, and, most importantly, they show up a lot! Their presence made it easy for other new parents like Barry, Angie, and Schornack to blend it, and also brought some life to our ancient elders like Mrs. Carey, Mr. Wonsil, Reggie, and crew.

The kids are the picture and the parents are the frame. When we have a strong parents crew, seasons go from good to great really fluidly.

Is this a liability? Probably. One of the most important things the Benni brought to the gym was their son, Josh. Not to the babies sessions, but to the regular ones. See there are two of them, and one Josh, and if they wanted to work out then Josh needed to come to or else their house would be a wreck when the returned. I never saw a problem with it, and soon Mallory Colussi joined in, as well as Kayla Pauly. But the most entertaining crew, by far, was the Nevarez family! Every day the five(!) of them would walk up to the gym and Mrs. Nevarez would do her thing while Natalie, JT, El, and Johnny J would run (or crawl) around the gym. It definitely added a lot of life to everything and I even opened the invitation to the rest of the crew.

Summary. Like I said before, this was really a great one. We introduced the SpongeBob workout, had Coach T help out 3 days per week, housed the entire Junkin family, produced high attendance numbers, and had a good variety of people at each session. I hope you guys enjoyed it as much as I did. There will be two editorials coming out soon: the first being a new installment in the Building a Champion series that will talk in detail about what was going on behind the scenes during the Summer and where we are going from here, then Jennifer Banet's Athlete of the Summer feature (which I haven't started yet) will talk about... well... Jennifer. And some other symbolic stuff. But before that - or maybe after, who knows? - I'll post the final attendance numbers and the results of the Summer 2018 Draft. So plenty to look out for in the coming weeks.

Thank you guys again for a great Summer! See you guys next year (or tomorrow, or whenever).

New Kids on the Block: Summer 2018 Rookies

Replacing our usual 5:30 session with an additional rookie session was something I was going back and forth on a lot, but I had a feeling we would get a lot of carryover from our spring middle school session. We did not, really, but got lucky and about 15 referrals later, we have our biggest Summer rookie class we've ever had. Here we go:

Abby and Emily Walker

This duo came on late in the spring to our middle school session and has been among the most consistent attendees in our Summer rookie class, despite the 40-minute drive from Clarkston. Abby is going into her freshman year in high school, and Emily is going into 6th grade. Both count tennis as their primary sport and hope to keep up the training in some respect through the fall.

Anthony Saffar

Anthony is the brother of Andre - Summer 2017 rookie and leading attendance person - and came on along after track season. He's going into his senior year and has already started training for cross country.

Devan Coates

Devan was one of the longtime favorites from the track team the past three years at Mott - not only because of his hair, but also due to his work ethic and lack of complaining. And he was really good, topping off at a 50-flat 400m in his final race. He'll be running at Macomb next year and hopefully we can keep him on board.

Emily Gurney & Jessica Suchta

Emily Gurney was a member of last Summer's rookie crew who repeated with the session this Summer because she wasn't here all school year. This time, she brought her friend Jessica, also from Stevenson, to join her. The sophomore-to-be duo both are soccer-first athletes and have been among the most impressive in this group. Jessica has a really good balance of strength and endurance and is already showing signs of a Erika Banet-style athlete, while Emily has a lot of potential on the endurance side of things. We need them for the fall for sure!

Milo and Gideon Baran

Milo started off with me in the spring with private basketball sessions, then was convinced to join our middle school crew. Soon after, he brought in his brother, Gideon. Both have done well this Summer and we want to keep them going through the fall, where Milo will be entering his freshman year at Seaholm and Gideon will be entering 7th grade.

Mateo Pesaros

Mateo might be the reincarnation of the lost 9amers in terms of sheer sass and insubordination. I do not know how old he is, or what grade he's going into, all I know is he's the grandson of Foley wrestling coach Berney Gonzales. I also know he's one of the most entertaining young kids we've had in the gym since Carter's middle school days. He's had a wide range of highs and lows this Summer (from locking himself in the bathroom for about 15 minutes to randomly being able to spot someone not unweighting correctly) and I've enjoyed every bit of it. He's a must-have for the fall for pure entertainment purposes at the middle school session.

NuNu Diattarra

Oh boy, not sure where to go with this one. NuNu is going into his 8th grade year at Page and will be headed to Lamphere eventually. He is definitely lacking in the coordination, strength, mobility, conditioning, speed, and nutrition components of fitness, but maaaaan he just keeps showing up. I am trying to make fun of him as much as I can now, because if he keeps his attendance going through high school he might end up being one of the strongest kids we've ever coached. Both Coach T and I got our eyes peeled for this kid to breakout in the next few years.

Sam Butcher

Sammy is the ring leader of the rookie crew, mostly in part because she was our first one. Back in January, this 8th grader was the only kids at our middle school session for about two weeks, but I knew we had to start somewhere. Within about a month that session grew from 1 to like 9 kids, then 19 when the softball girls came in. As far as this Summer goes, Sam has come a long way in her midline stability and running. She even got her first rope climb. Going into Lamphere next year, she'll play basketball, volleyball, softball, and her main activity is karate, but she plans to keep with the Champions Club in some way.

Suyailim Nasim

Suyailim (pronounced Sue-lum) is by far the most polished out of the rookie group as far as movers go. He ran track at Mott the past few years and approached me about training this Summer. He's going to Michigan State next year and hopefully we'll have him back for the holidays.

Alexis Anthes

Alexis is the most accomplished athlete in our group as far as outside-of-the-gym accolades go. She's coming off a freshman year where she made All-State honors in Class A for singles tennis. Much like our other tennis athletes, the Walkers, Alexis is coming from a 40+ minute drive, seeing as she goes to Utica Eisenhower. She came in July as a recommendation from Coach T, who had been working with her the past few years. So far she's been great to coach and plans to take the training on through the school year.

Ally Kauzlarich

Ally came in as a recommendation from Katie Shakes, as the two go to the same church. She's going into her junior year at Eastern Michigan and wants to become a better overall athlete and add more to her workout routine. She's one of the only people I've heard in person who stutters worse than I do, but unlike myself a majority of the people that meet her would call her a "nice person." She's got a good balance of strength and endurance, which has showed out well in workout. She also got her first pull-up this Summer! Be on the lookout for her to come back during the holidays.

Andrew Baumert

Andrew (left) was another private basketball training kid who I convinced to join our middle school session. He's going into 8th grade and is part of Romeo schools, meaning he's got about as far of a drive as the Kroll family to get here. He's among the laziest athletes we have, but also very fun to have in a session. There's a good athlete somewhere in there that we hope to find in the coming years.

Ben Pauly

The surprise of the Summer rookies has to be Ben, who came in from a recommendation of the Colussis (along with his sister, Kayla, who's a beast at the Babies session). Ben's a baseball/basketball kid who's going into 6th grade. Look out for this one if he can keep his attendance up.

Cameron Byrd

Cam was one of the most promising Summer prospects of the spring middle school group, but has not been able to get his attendance on point yet. The incoming 7th grader was showing great signs of weightloss, strength gain, and conditioning while with us. The jury's still out on this kid!

Dakarai Rogers

Dakarai is another recommendation from the Colussi family, as he was part of Coach Casey's basketball team. He's a little guy going into 7th grade and has a lot of skill and potential. He's a basketball player who I'm trying to convince not to give up soccer, as it helps with footwork, speed, and conditioning. He's really picked up his attendance towards the end of the Summer, and hopefully this carries into the fall.

Dylan Colussi

Rumor has it that Coach Casey and Mrs. Tara were praying for a daughter before they had their first child, so God gave them Dylan - miniature, complaining 7th grader who throws tantrums when he has to run. For real though, Dylan has been, without doubt, or most improved rookie this Summer - especially in the running category. He's a basketball junkie (he probably gets that from his mom) who also proves to be a good lefty pitcher when the season calls for it. Even though his younger sister, Mallory, can beat him up, Dylan is my main man! Look for him at a mixture of the regular and middle school sessions this fall.

Johnny Cohoon

I am mad I didn't get a picture of Johnny while he was here, but he was another incoming 7th grader who worked out at another CrossFit gym in the area before his mom signed him up here. Unfortunately, he was only here on a rental basis; he moved to Michigan from Alabama last year, and at the end of July his family moved out to California. While he was here he was kind of soft, and was accused by the little girl listed above of cutting reps, but he was easily one of the hardest workers in our group. And when you're going that fast, it's definitely difficult to keep track. I hope Johnny finds a good gym in California and enjoyed his time here!

Luke and Noah Heide

The twins were another late-Summer pickup from the hands of Coach T... kind of. Luke (right) is Cecilia's boyfriend and was coming off his senior year at Ford where he excelled as a Tight End. Cec dragged him in to try out a session, and Coach T took it from there. Soon after, Noah, the school's record-setting quarterback, followed. They were the most coachable kids at the session and rumor has it they're working on their mom to join. Both twins are off to Adrian College this fall, and last I talked to them they were both on the two-deep at their positions.

Mrs. Nevarez

Boy was this a familiar site this Summer. Mrs. Nevarez came in as a recommendation from Mrs. Bennis, but was concerned that she didn't have anywhere to babysit her kids. "Bring them in!" I said, and just like that, we were blassed with four baby monkeys every time Mama Nev came in the gym. She got her first rope climb, her first pull-up, and is definitely going to find somehow, some way to keep some kind of training going through the fall.

Owen Munk

Owen is going into his junior year at Bishop Foley, and is actually the first Foley kid we've had in a long time (hopefully more to come soon). He came in as part of a recommendation from Jacob and the head basketball coach there whom I've got to know recently. Owen is just an old-fashioned worker; he does what he's told, asks good questions, and has a well-rounded capacity that lends itself very useful in CrossFit. He's basketball-first, but also runs cross country in the fall. He's on the top of my recruiting board for people I want to stick around.

Onyeka Ojinnaka

By far the ugliest of our Summer rookies, Onyeka came in the first week of August and made himself right at home by making fun of my butt-chin, calves, and overall appearance. He and I go way back to the Lifetime Fitness classes at Mott, but also he was a member of the first two track teams I coached there (he was lazy this year and didn't run). Along with Mateo, O is easily one of the most entertaining people we have not only in the session, but in the gym in general. He's also very community-oriented in the sense that he says hi to people and has no problem talking with younger kids or parents. Strength is not much of an issue for him, but conditioning is, and I really hope we can keep him on board for the fall so he can improve. Onyeka is going to Wayne State this year where he hopes to work his way onto the football team at some point. He also claims he can play basketball, but I made sure to crush those dreams early on.

So that's that; a 2,000-word New Kid post has to be an all-time record for this site. It was really a good group to coach and one that could not have been possible without the help of Coach T and, more importantly, everyone who does the recruiting for me. Let's hope we can keep these kids around for the fall!

New Graduate: Mrs. Nevarez

Speaking of our rookies, this morning at the 10 am session, Mrs. Nevarez got her first pull-up in front of the group and her kids!

Keep setting a great example for your family! Also, free True Moo chocolate milk to anyone who convinces her to stick around for the fall!

Beast Mode: 10 am Kids... at 5:30

We have a booming 10 am rookie session this Summer, and, for the first time ever, we have another rookie session at 5:30 pm. This group is usually a bit more mixed with a few regulars in the mix, but still hosts around 8-10 new kids each session. Last Monday they modified the deadlift max effort workout by adding a short sprint in between sets. Coach T and I were very happy with how the form turned out; here's how it looked:

Keep up the good work kids!

New Graduate: Jessica

Jessica Suchta is coming off her freshman year at Stevenson High School and joined the rookie session early in the Summer. Last week her and Emily Gurney moved on to the 11 am session based on how their technique was looking. This morning, Jessica got her first pull-up after the mile test! Check it out:

Keep it going kiddo!

Pic of the Week: Walkers on Vacation

Two of our most consistent 10 am rookies this Summer has been Emily and Abby Walker - which is especially impressive considering they are making the commute from about 45 minutes away. This week I was wondering where they were until their pops sent me a picture at their vacation near the west side of the state.

Looking forward to seeing you guys again soon!

Athlete of the Week: Luke Heide

We are officially in August now - the home stretch of the Champions Club Summer - and our athlete of the week this time around is rookie Luke Heide.

Yes, yes, I know I haven't done the rookie post yet. There are technically 25 rookies this year, so to be honest I'm just procrastinating... and waiting to see if we get a few more who are on the fence. But since early July, Luke has been one of the most consistent athletes in our entire group. This week we really got to see him showcase his conditioning. He used Ol' Red on Monday for his 5:30 session's kb swing and run workout, on Tuesday he showed good stamina on his jumping lunges, he posted a top rookie score on their version of Fight Gone Bad (well, besides Mateo and Keiton's impressive 500+ rep count), and yesterday he did great on dumbbell thrusters and 200-m runs.

Luke is a tight end going into his freshman year at Adrian College, and he seems to be very in sync with the balance he needs as an athlete. This will be his last week with us before going to fall camp, but I'm sure we can get a few more good workouts in. Either way, keep up the good work my man!