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Welcome to the Champions Club Summer!

See schedule here.


Entries in rookies (6)

New Kids on the Block: 10 am session

Well, this took an entire Summer to develop, but starting about 2 weeks ago we finally had a consistent 10 am crew.

Avery Maslowski

As many of you know, Avery joined us in the winter. She had decent attendance, but nothing like she has displayed so far this fall. She will sometimes jump around to the 11 am or evening session if she can't make 10 am, but that doesn't stop her from leading the way for the rookie group - both in good form and workout intensity. We might have a good one on our hands here folks! Avery seems to be cut from the Katie Bromm mold - long legs, coordination pending, talking rarely.

Emily Gurney

Emily (pictured on the right) was part of the initial kids crew in the winter of 2016 - along with Josh Ellsworth. She came here through her mom - a P.E. teacher in Warren Consolidated who attended one of Murley's clinics. Emily stopped coming in for a little over a year, but has picked things back up this Summer. Still, her attendance might be the most inconsistent out of the crew so hopefully we can see that increase like it has the past two weeks. This incoming 10th grader has some upside as a runner for sure. Emily seems to be a soccer-first version of Maria, matching sass-for-sass the coaching efforts of myself or Murley.

Mrs. Dawkins

Mrs. Dawkins has been a very important addition to the Champions Club rookie session this Summer, and one of my favorite people to coach at the moment. She is completely open and honest with her limitations of fitness, and that, I think, has been the main part in her crazy improvement over the past two months. Her running and conditioning have seen the most improvement in my opinion, as welll as her midline control. Plus, as you are about to read below, she also works out in the same session as two of her kids. Yet, I never catch a hint of the over-protective helicopter parent we have all seen in one way or another. This is Mrs. Anderson minus the squat mobility.

Isaac Dawkins

Isaac is good friends with Nolan (more on that below) and is an incoming 7th grader, who's primary sport is football. Isaac is probably the most-improved mover out of the group; we have seen him show much more control in his squat, hollow hold, and jump in recent weeks. He even is progressing on handstands quite will; push-ups may be a longer story. For that reason, Isaac reminds me most of Ricky Carey.

Sophia Dawkins

Sophia (pictured above with Emily Gurney) is Isaac's twin sister, and obviously also going into 7th grade. Her main sport is volleyball, and she also had a good gymnastics background growing up. This Summer she has been working around a lingering Achilles thing she tweaked back in the spring. Slowly but surely it seems to be getting better with the constant attention to mobility and position. Think of Anita Partyka, but a little more polite.

Nolan Wesner

If the last name sounds familiar, then you are on track. Nolan is Maddy's younger brother, and also happens to be in the same grade as Isaac and Sophia. Originally, Mrs. Wesner recommended Mrs. Dawkins and her kids to join the gym at the 10 am session, but did not include Nolan out of fear that he would overcome his sister in athleticism... or possibly because he didn't have a ride. However, once Mrs. Dawkins volunteered to drive the youngest Wesner, we added another member to the 10 am session. Nolan, another football/basketball player, is pretty tall for his grade, so the coordination is coming along similar to Isaac's. But still, he reminds me a little of Frankie Lama.

Andre Saffar

On a random day in late-July, Crawford pulls into the parking lot the usual hour and change early to his 11 am session. Only this time he was accompanied by one of his Cross Country teammates also fresh out of practice. Andre tried out a workout, liked it, and signed up the next day. By pure percentage, Andre probably has the best attendance. If that keeps up, look for good things coming from this incoming sophomore. He's a pretty close representation of Kenny Jensen, but a little bit faster.

Josh Howey

Josh is the older brother of Samantha, one of the standouts in the Babies session. He is going into 8th grade and he cannot decide between wraastling and football as his favorite sports. Josh has the best mobility out of anyone in the group and is now working on the movement control to go with it. And man, he is picking up fast. Cleans, push-ups, handstands, and hollow holds look pretty good considering his 2+ weeks with us; the main thing he has to correct is the knees-forward fault. Definitely reminds me of a shorter version of Conor.

Mrs. Howey

On Josh's first day with our 10 am session, his mother was the one to drop him off. Only, she didn't necessarily drop him off so much as venture in through the garage doors with him. She wasn't a stranger, though, seeing as she often brought Samantha to the Babies. Anyway, I noticed she was dressed in attire that could be reasonably passed for workout clothes, so I invited her in. One hour later, we had our second mommy for the rookie session. So far, the coordination part of the movements is the most challenging for her, but the mobility is ready once the motor control catches up. If anyone remembers Angie Kadawaki from the early days of this gym, this might be her in disguise.

Mrs. Bass

And last but not least, back for the second Summer in a row is Champions Club fan-favorite Mrs. Bass; badass P.E. teacher at Warren Mott. Unfortunately she could not convince her boys to return for another Summer, but we are still glad to have this one on board. Honestly, Mrs. Bass is one of the most inspirational people I coach. It is not often that P.E. teachers and coaches practice what they preech; Mrs. Bass is a glaring exception. If we could get her here even more consistently, it would make me a much happier Chris. Definitely some Mrs. Kroll in this one for sure.

Athlete of the Week: Matt Hickey

For the final time for the Summer 2016, the Athlete of the Week goes to 11 am goofball Matt Hickey.

The scrawniest of all the Summer rookies (which is saying a lot) had himself a great week of training in the midst of a full Cross Country schedule. In his fist time doing the sport, Matt got off to a good start this year by finishing in 22:54 and right behind Crawford (now a Varsity runner) in Mott's meet at Grosse Pointe North.

In the gym, his training has been as consistent as id had been all Summer, but I am really beginning to see consistent improvements in his form. For instance, on Monday they did a mini WOD with foam burpees and kipping pull-ups. Not only did Matt get the highest round total, but he managed to do it without losing the foam AND going no-band on pull-ups. On Thursday I tested him on the pull-ups again and he did 10+ rounds of a modified Cindy in 10 minutes without a band again. Both his kipping rhythm and pulling strength are coming along.

Another noticeable change is Hickey's squat form. Slowly but surely he is becoming more stable in the bottom position and his knees are staying still. His heavy (for him) Goblet Squats on today's Harry Potter workout were a good example of that - as well as his high speed squats on Thursday.

Believe it or not, Matt has been a little more mellow this week than he usually is. Whether that's a result from this nagging ear infection, or the realization that school is right around the corner remains to be seen. All I can say is Matt would be my vote for the classic Mikey Peterson M.I.L.F. award (Most Improved Limb Function). He's had a great Summer with us and hopefully this can keep up during Cross Country season and the rest of the school year.

Just remember, there is another Matt we all know who was the same size as Hickey at that age, and he's now a professional marathon runner. I'm not necessarily saying Hicks is willing to commit to a lifetime of mileage, but I can bet there will be some good things coming for this one in the future if he keeps up the work.

Athlete of the Week: Kenny

We are winding down on the Summer days, and the first Athlete of the Week for August is 11 am rookie Kenny Jensen.

Kenny's been having himself a very steady Summer with the 11 am session. In an hour of chaos, Pokemon GO! hunting, and questionalble taste of jokes, Kenny proves to provide a sense of chill that helps level out the session. But he's also churning out Beast Modes nearly every day.

On Monday, he finished second to Josh by 2 seconds on their modified Nancy and did well with his wall-blocked Overhead squats. On Tuesday Kenny got stuck with the heavy dumbbells on the Front squat, push-up, burpee triplet and still finished with the top time. Thursday's version of Elizabeth with hang cleans and ring holds saw Kenny's form look good enough to use a bar instead of dumbbell and rings instead of the parallel bars. And while I was not there to see him there on Friday, reports back on his technique were pretty good.

Finally, him and Carter took home the victory in today's team workout.

Like I said, Kenny has been having a great Summer and is one of the easiest kids to coach in the gym. He starts cross country next week, so hopefully he will see an improvement in his running and still find time to make it to the gym consistently.

Keep up the work kiddo!

Athlete of the Week: Josh

If you guys haven't been around to see the 11 am rookie session yet, you should make that a priority at least once before the Summer's over. I see a lot of potential with that group, and their standout this week was definitely Josh Ellsworth.

Things started off good for Josh on the 4th of July where he was showing good form on overhead squats. Tuesday was Fran, where his group did dumbbell thrusters (21-15-9) and burpees (15-10-5). It was the first workout this Summer we had them sprint and Josh did not disappoint. Because we were short on weights, he got stuck with the heaviest dumbbells (20#) and still managed to be the first one done with the set of 21. Unfortunately, he died off in spectacular fashion on the round of 15, but at least he did exactly what I asked!

Thursday was that scorching run/deadlift/GHD thing. With that session we did the workout as a group - substituting tuck hang for GHD and 5-sec. deadlifts with an empty bar. It was brutal, and Josh was once again stuck with the heavy bar. Still, I didn't have to correct his spine position once. And finally, he did no-band strict pull-ups during the workout yesterday and was able to keep it at 5 per round.

Josh reminds me of Aaron Sexton when he was in 8th grade - athletic, coordinated, not incredibly enthusiastic about going fast but still does it. He's also very easy to coach. Reggie and Arlene have done a good job with this one.

11 am Graduates + Schedule Change

From now on, the 1:30 pm session during weekdays will officially be held at 12 noon.


We have two new rope climbers at the 11 am session. Josh Ellsworth and Brendan Crawford.

Both of them started climbing before the session and I just assumed they had done a full climb before. But they brought it to my attention that it was their first time. So just add that to the list of accomplishments from this crew of rookies.

New Graduates: Rookie Rope Climbs

This morning at the 11 am session, both Jack Jensen and James Willis got their first rope climbs. Check it out: