Stronghold Pride – Athlete of the Month: April 2017 : Katelyn Spyrnal

April 23, 2017
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The easiest way to describe Katelyn is that she is the model student. She comes in early, assigned warm up without needing to be reminded, she does the pre-class extra-curricular skill work, she puts in a solid effort during class, she stays after to do the additional extra-curricular work, she comes to all the group events, she responds well to coaching, and she’s fun to have around.

It’s been awesome seeing her progress in her weightlifting and higher skill movements. Looking forward to what the future holds for her: lots of potential!

Please join me in honoring CrossFit Stronghold’s April 2017 Athlete of the Month, Katelyn Spyrnal

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Stronghold Pride – Athlete of the Month: March 2017 : Mary McEachern

March 2, 2017
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I can’t say enough about how proud I am of this special lady. She is the classic example of how CrossFit truly is for everyone. CrossFit isn’t about those elite athletes that we see showcased at The Games, or even the weekend competitor. CrossFit is about everyday, ordinary people, becoming athletes and doing things they never thought possible

Mary reached out to us in January. She told me she was having trouble with her knees and feet. She wasn’t even sure if she would be able to do the workouts but she knew she needed to try something. On her first day, I recognized right away some movement patterns that were contributing to her knee pain. We worked on re-patterning her movement and started her off squatting to a box and standing back up. Even that was a struggle. Burpees? These were a REAL challenge. People complain all the time about burpees. But the ability to do a burpee is something that no one should take for granted

Mary is still in her 50s but she was already on her way to not being able to get up on her own, if God forbid she fell. I urged her that she should continue training. She was hesitant at first. I’m glad she stuck it out

After only 6 weeks, she’s made tremendous progress. She hates that I make her do burpees, but as I said, it’s an important life skill. She can now do 5 of them in the same time it took her to do one rep on her first day. That doesn’t sound like much to the average person, but it’s a big deal for her. Everyday, it seems, to bring small victories. Here she is doing a scaled version of a rope climb, yet another thing Mary never imagined herself doing.

Please join me in honoring CrossFit Stronghold’s March 2017 Athlete of the Month, Mary McEachern

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Stronghold Pride – Athlete of the Month: February 2017 : Yakieya Griffin

February 17, 2017
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Yakieya REALLY loved today’s workout! 😃

In other news… better late than never! Meant to post this on the first of the month like we usually do, but I wanted to get an updated video of this lady in action… But then her husband had to go out of town for work and she couldn’t come in for a week and a half. 😔

Anyway…what a difference a month makes! Yakieya came into the gym just before the new year and she STRUGGLED with burpees. Actually, the first couple weeks were pretty rough in general. She will tell you with great flair how annihilated she got every time she came to class. One night in particular, I remember thinking, “man… she’s never gonna come back.” But she showed up the next day and kept coming day after day after that. We are so glad she did. This lady is like a Timex. She takes a licking and keeps on ticking. But more than that, she has such an amazing attitude and is a joy to have around. She works hard and it has been amazing watching her progress.

I wish I had taken video of her when she started to show a comparison. This is lightening fast compared to when she first started. I’m really looking forward to seeing her future progress.

Please join me in honoring CrossFit Stronghold’s February 2017 Athlete of the Month, Yakieya Griffin .

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Stronghold Pride – Athlete of the Month: January 2017 : Amber Eck

January 1, 2017
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To kick off 2017, I want to honor a special lady who epitomizes the heart behind the CrossFit methodology. Many people think that CrossFit is all about elite, seemingly superhuman individuals doing crazy feats of strength and endurance. What you see on ESPN is just a small subset of the worldwide CrossFit community.

CrossFit is REALLY about the 98 percentile of people. CrossFit athletes are attorneys, accountants, engineers, teachers, nurses, doctors, soccer moms, dads with dad bods (hopefully not for long), kids, teens, college athletes, cops, firefighters, military personnel, even grandparents. CrossFit is infinitely scalable and appropriate for people of all ages and abilities.

During the day, Amber is an attorney. 24/7/365 she’s also a mom. From 6am to 7am, she is an athlete. Over the past six months, we’ve watched Amber get stronger, more mobile, more aware of her body and her abilities. She doesn’t do everything “as prescribed” but happily works her way through the progressions and is on a steady path of getting better every day. Amber works hard, doesn’t make excuses, and is a joy to coach. Looking forward to seeing what 2017 brings for her in and outside of the gym.

Please join me in honoring CrossFit Stronghold’s January 2017 Athlete of the Month, Amber Eck.

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Stronghold Pride – Athlete of the Month: December 2016 : Daynia Sargent

December 1, 2016
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daynia-colinThis month’s standout athlete has tenacity written all over her. She’s also one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. Daynia started with us in August and I knew from her first day of Fundamentals that she’d have a ton of potential. She is a joy to coach because she soaks up feedback like a thirsty sponge and then sticks around after class to practice and work on her weaknesses.

Two months ago, Daynia got it in her head that she wanted a bar muscle up. She tried and tried for days and after amassing more bumps, bruises, and tears on her hand than one should count, she finally got it. That’s quite a feat considering she’d only been training with us for a couple months. Many people take much longer, sometimes even years, before unlocking that movement. But as I said before, tenacity.

Right around the same time, Daynia did something funky with her ankle during one of our ultimate frisbee get togethers. She didn’t let that stop her from training. We simply worked around her injury and focused on other things. She’s a no excuses kind of girl.

Looking forward to 2017, I foresee a lot more amazing things in Daynia’s future. Her hard work and determination will certainly take her far as an athlete. She’s also shaping up to become a key player in helping build and cultivate our little community. We are very grateful to have her with us.

Please join me in honoring CrossFit Stronghold’s December 2016 Athlete of the Month, Daynia Sargent.



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Stronghold Pride – Athlete of the Month: November 2016 : Kayla Beasley

November 2, 2016
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It’s always fun to see couples come and train together. We’ve honored couples together before, because it was too hard to decide between the two of them, but Nathan made the decision easy when he went to play softball last night leaving his wife to train by her lonesome. 😛 Just kidding… but really… he did. 🙂

For the record… Kayla was gonna win anyway. Both she and Nate have made tremendous gains over the last 3 months since they’ve been part of our community, but Kayla has made some really awesome improvements in some of the movements she’s been struggling with lately. It’s been awesome to see.

Kayla always comes in with a great attitude and a teachable spirit. She’s receptive to feedback, is quick to make adjustments, and is rumored to practice at home in their living room. There’s nothing more gratifying for a coach than to see those they teach succeed as a result of taking initiative to a little extra practice on their own.

Kayla is a joy to have in class and I look forward to seeing even more progress in the months to come.

Please join me in honoring CrossFit Stronghold’s November 2016 Athlete of the Month, Kayla Beasley.

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Stronghold Pride – Athlete of the Month: October 2016 : Niko Garcia

October 2, 2016
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Throw it back to July 2015. This isn’t the first time we’ve recognized this kid for Athlete of the Month. But it bears mentioning that Niko has been crushing the PR board the last couple months. It’s almost a little ridiculous because he writes down EVERYTHING that remotely resembles a PR… even something as obscure as a 21 rep max. Just kidding… but it certainly feels that way.

Niko has been a solid member of our gym family for a long time now. He always brings with him a great attitude, encouragement for those he trains with, and a strong work ethic. We are hoping to see him join our coaching staff sometime soon!

Please join me in honoring Niko Garcia, CrossFit Stronghold’s October 2016 Athlete of the Month

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Stronghold Pride – Athlete of the Month: September 2016 : Trevor Shaw

September 1, 2016
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Sometimes it’s challenging narrowing down the candidates for Athlete of the Month. For September it was a pretty clear choice.

There used to be a time when a good number of people would hang around after class to practice skills and do extra work to improve on their weaknesses. That doesn’t happen a whole lot anymore. A handful of people do, but it’s not quite as common as it once was. One individual in particular who is consistent about working on his “goats” is Trevor. Pretty much every day that he comes in, you can count on him proactively working on his double unders and his kipping pull ups and muscle ups. He soaks up feedback like a sponge and is quick to put them into practice. In less than 3 months he has demonstrated great work ethic and has been making steady gains in strength and skill. It will be awesome to see where he is in the months to come.

Please join me in recognizing, honoring, and wishing best wishes to CrossFit Stronghold’s September 2016 Athlete of the Month: Trevor Shaw

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Stronghold Pride – Athlete of the Month: August 2016 : Tani Lambert

August 1, 2016
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Tani LambertSheer determination. That’s Tani. The girl is determined and tenacious and keeps getting better and better.

Once again we are honoring a member of our family who is relocating to another part of the country. But even without that fact, Tani has certainly earned this recognition. Especially in the last couple months we’ve been seeing a ton of improvement in her movement and her strength.When Tani first came she had quite a few mobility challenges to overcome. She had a little bit of CrossFit experience but hadn’t really been coached as far as quality movement is concerned. The first few weeks were frustrating for her, but she persevered and kept working. Whatever I told her to do, she would do. I assigned her extra work to do before and after class, and she did them without complaint. She just wanted to get better and her work ethic brought her results.


I’m super sad to see her go but am excited for this new chapter in her career as she serves her country. Thank you, Tani for all you do and are preparing to do and thanks for letting us be part of your journey. We’ll miss you.

Please join me in recognizing, honoring, and wishing best wishes to CrossFit Stronghold’s August 2016 Athlete of the Month: Tani Lambert

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Stronghold Pride – Athlete of the Month: July 2016 : Corey Zimbelman

July 4, 2016
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Remodel 2012. Back when we didn't have ceiling lights for a week. We trained in the dark. :)

Remodel 2012. Back when we didn’t have ceiling lights for a week. We trained in the dark. 🙂

Tenacity pays off. Corey consistently worked on her strict pull ups until finally one day, it just clicked.

Tenacity pays off. Corey consistently worked on her strict pull ups until finally one day, it just clicked.

Ray and Dr. Corey (Physical Therapy) have logged COUNTLESS hours nerding out on movement and mobility. Corey has played a huge role in Ray's development as a coach.

Ray and Dr. Corey (Physical Therapy) have logged COUNTLESS hours nerding out on movement and mobility. Corey has played a huge role in Ray’s development as a coach.

The distinction of Athlete of the Month is typically awarded to the individual who has made the most noteworthy gains or has demonstrated the most extraordinary effort or has shown the most potential or [fill in the blank] over the last four week period.

This month, we shift gears a bit and recognize a lady who has consistently demonstrated amazingness over the last four years.

Corey Zimbelman is currently the longest standing member of our Stronghold family. She is also the founding member of the 7pm class. If anyone can speak on the evolution of Ray’s coaching and the gym as a whole, Corey certainly can. She’s seen the good, the bad, the ugly, and for some reason, she’s kept on coming, and always with a smile on her face. Corey works long days and while most people would easliy make excuses and go home, she always tries her hardest to get her workout in. She always brings with her a good attitude, a coachable spirit, and a positive energy. At the end of a long day, she’s a breath of fresh air to have in the gym. You can also always count on seeing her at every gym event.

I could go on and on describing how wonderful Corey is. She is a pillar in our community and a loyal friend. Sadly, as she is closing in her four year anniversary with us, she is preparing to move to the Pacific Northwest. To say that she will be missed will be a horrific understatement. While we are excited with her on this new season of life, we dread the void that will certainly be felt without her gracing us with her presence each day. No matter where she goes, though, she’ll always be family.

Please join me in recognizing, honoring, and wishing best wishes to CrossFit Stronghold’s July 2016 Athlete of the Month: Corey Zimbelman

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