“No one can be perfect at every movement in CrossFit. But we all know each other extremely well and understand where our best capacities are. Everything we do is centered around consistent and continual improvement.”
Team Spokane Valley has been striving to make it to the CrossFit Games since 2011, when they were only six points away from third place. In 2012, they finally had their moment, but a failed drug test changed the trajectory.
Rather than being angry and disappointed, team from the eastern side of Washington state became determined and motivated.
“We had a mantra this year: Prove it again,” teammate Dan Staton says. “Being disqualified in 2012 for PED hurt, but it was probably the perfect storm to tighten the noose on our goal of making it again in 2013 … We were set this year on making it to the Games or bust. The hardest part of being disqualified is the cloud of doubt that others put on you. They assume you're cheating on purpose. It discredits all your hard work and consistency.”
The disqualification turned into a blessing for team member Salem Giampietro, as it allowed her time to spend with her mother who was diagnosed with cancer in November of 2011.
“Everything happens for a reason. The news of our disqualification allowed me to take a step back from training and spend quality time without interruption in what turned out to be her final weeks,” Giampietro says. “Her passing happened shortly before the Games last year. I thank God for every moment she and I had.”
As the team prepares for the Games, training is focused on their combined strengths. Staton says the events that require the entire team to participate should be the best finishes for them in competition.
“We do well when all six are on the floor at one time. Team workouts are all about max effort, followed by short rest and well executed communication. Knowing each other's abilities plays a large role in our strategy. We are constantly trying to improve how the Games events can suit our team's athletic profile. We are vesting our time in large volume … We've been lucky to have unusually hot weather for our area, so we've been training in the hot sun. We've been focused on small gains and staying healthy.”
Teammate Kevin Longmeier is confident in each team member, physically and mentally.
“I believe our greatest strength is our resolve and fortitude,” he says. “CrossFit is a mental sport just as much as it is a physical one. Our team is comprised of great athletes, but I have been more impressed with the mental toughness we have displayed, both in training and competition.”
Andrea Scalici agrees.
“No one can be perfect at every movement in CrossFit. But we all know each other extremely well and understand where our best capacities are,” she says. “Everything we do is centered around consistent and continual improvement.”
“We are definitely stronger as a collective,” Giampietro says. “We have different strengths and talents which puts us at a deficit individually, but when we compete as a team, we come together to make one strong unit. I think the biggest strength is our team spirit. We love fitness and we like to make it fun. We push each other to be our best and are competitive with each other to make ourselves a better team and better people both in and out of the gym.”
The team has prepared for the Games by following a schedule of four to five days a week, doing four workouts each day that last one to two hours. They have all have been putting in time in the water incorporating swimming into their training, including lap swims, pool, lake and river workouts.
“We are trying to leave no stone unturned,” Staton says. “Someone made up a Leaderboard that put every team from the 2013 Regionals and their performances stacked together. We saw that we were ranked around 20th headed into the Games. I've told the team that we should aim for top 10 at the Games. I'm still set on that.”
Team members would love to see some of the classic CrossFit Girls benchmarks be a part of the events in Carson, Calif., this year.
“It would be great to see any event put the entire team on the floor and showcase how well rounded our team is as a whole. Also, events that have elements or components that don't mirror a typical CrossFit box workout excite us, as well, such as big sleds, sandbags or triathlon pieces that level the playing field,” Staton says.
“I would love to get my hands on those unique pieces of equipment that you don't see in a typical box,” Scalici adds. “I also love events where the need for intricate planning and detailed strategy for a workout matters, and when transitions are a vital element to success.”
Training for 2013 began in August 2012. The team came into the North West Regional ready to prove themselves once and for all.
“The difference between this year and last year at Regionals was this: I believed we deserved to be on the podium at Regionals while in 2012, I was just sort of hopeful,” Staton says. “We were confident in our training and experience, and had our aim at qualifying for the Games. We also knew this team was reaching its peak and maturity, and this could potentially be the last year all six of us could commit to the training year round for the Games, so we had all our eggs in the CrossFit Games basket.”
Scalici adds: “We learned that no matter what, if we stick together, we can accomplish anything. We worked hard last year and even harder this year. We are a group of good, honest, everyday people doing things that most people can't do. But we have shown … that you can rise above the doubt and come out on the other side better people. We didn't dwell on the disqualification. We picked ourselves up and trained harder. And here we are, Games bound.”