"They still have a lot of growing to do, but mentally, they are as tough as they come. They aren't your typical 17-year-olds," Scott Panchik said.
Scott Panchik has been training the competition.
His younger brothers, Spencer and Saxon, want to follow him to the Central East Regional, and someday the CrossFit Games.
Last fall, the 17-year-old twins moved from Pittsburgh, Pa., to Mentor, Ohio, to help Scott with his new affiliate, CrossFit Mentality. In the months since, the three brothers have packed in plenty of training sessions. Each day after school, the high school seniors come to the box to train alongside Scott.
“They have even beaten me in workouts before,” Scott said. “They can flat out run, jump and, lately, have been throwing around some big weight.”
The brothers are evenly matched training partners. Saxon edges out his twin brother with his Fran time—2:25 vs. 2:37—while Spencer boasts a slight advantage in one-rep-max back squat—360 lb. vs. 350 lb. —and clean and jerk—265 lb. vs. 255 lb.—but both are motivated to improve.
“After my first workout, I knew I wanted to master this,” Spencer said.
Their original goal was to make it to the regional in 2014, but four weeks into their first CrossFit competition Spencer and Saxon have readjusted the timeline. Now they’re focused on fixing the weaknesses the Open has revealed and qualify in 2015.
“This year is our first year competing in the Open, and we’ve definitely learned a ton about our strengths and weaknesses,” Saxon said.
Workouts they didn’t think would play to their favor were some of their best and others challenged them in ways they didn’t expect.
“Going into 14.2, I thought chest-to-bar pull-ups would be a struggle, but to my surprise, it ended up being my best workout,” Saxon said. “But for 14.3, I found out the heavy deadlifts at 315 lb. were a weakness for me since I only weigh 155 lb.”
Adding to the challenge, Spencer sprained his ankle a couple weeks into the Open while working on his gymnastics skills.
“I just landed on it wrong, so it was a bit of a set back and it showed,” he said. “But I am not letting it get me down.”
Currently, Saxon sits in 116th place overall in the Central East, while Spencer is in 363rd.
Despite the injury, and the change of timeframe for their Games goals, the brothers are still positive.
“I am not letting it get me down. My goal is set to make it in 2015 for sure,” Spencer said. “More than anything, we both want to see where we match up against some of the best athletes around the world and feel what it’s like to compete. I see these elite athletes, like Scott and Jason (Khalipa), and other Games competitors and it just makes me say, ‘That is going to be me one day.’”
It probably helps their brother reminds them to stay patient. The 26-year-old athlete qualified for the Central East Regional and CrossFit Games two years ago at 24.
“The advice I give them is to be patient and do all the little things right—stay healthy and perfect movements,” Scott said. “They still have a lot of growing to do, but mentally, they are as tough as they come. They aren’t your typical 17-year-olds. They are special. They don’t make excuses, don’t miss workouts, and they have that desire and toughness you can’t teach people. It’s what separates athletes all around the world. It’s that CrossFit mentality.”
Spencer and Saxon both say their big brother has not only been their coach and role model, but also their inspiration.
“Scott's taught us so much in our lives,” Saxon said. “He's showed us that you can do anything if you put your heart and mind into it. Nothing is impossible if you give it everything you've got.”