Team Ute CrossFit entered the 2011 South West Regional sitting in 1st place in their region and 8th place in the world. By the end of the three-day competition, they had earned their spot to the Games, finishing in 2nd place, sandwiched between Front Range CrossFit and CrossFit Fury.
The team started working together well before the Open. “Ute is constantly looking for the best athletes to make a team. I would say there was an Open before the Open and we used those workouts to select the top athletes,” said team member Mary Lampas. “The only decision that remained was who would opt to go as individuals and who with the team. We had four guys and three girls all qualify as individuals.”
Lampas, who placed 30th at the 2010 CrossFit Games, decided to join the Ute team after competing individually for the Regional. Even though she qualified to compete on Day 3, she chose to bow out of the competition after injuring her wrist during the overhead squat portion of the 100s workout. “It was a tough decision initially … to let me body heal and sit out the Sunday workouts,” Lampas said. “Lucky for me, Ute’s team qualified for the Games and through a team decision, I will take the place for another great girl who helped them get that 2nd place.”
Another member of the team, Michael Cazayoux, said he started going to Ute CrossFit because he wanted to train under Games competitor, Tommy Hackenbruck, who owns the gym. He said the team members who competed together for the Regional started training together two weeks before the Open. “Our training strategy is geared more towards work capacity rather than skill level,” Cazayoux said. “We do little skill work before and sometimes during the workouts, but not much.”
Because of schedules, the team usually has to practice in pairs and keep each other posted with various methods. “We’ve just started communicating via a Facebook group to post times,” said Lampas. “We have a program set for four weeks leading up to the Games.”
Lampas said the team will spend the time up to the Games preparing heavily for the unexpected. “Over the next month, we are going to try to mix as many odd skills into our workouts to keep prepared for the unknowable, like single-leg double unders and atlas stones,” she said.
Cazayoux explained what a typical week looks like for the team in training:
- Sunday: Olympic lifting and powerlifting, followed metabolic conditioning or a series of short met cons
- Monday: Recovery, such as handstand push ups or pull up ladders, followed by an easy paced 5k row
- Tuesday: Interval training, which focuses largely on work capacity
- Wednesday: Recovery
- Thursday: Heavy lifting and Olympic skill work followed by a series of met cons
- Friday: Recovery day or rest day
- Saturday: 60 to 90 minutes of bike, row, run, or ski at a pace that puts your heart rate around 130 for the entire workout
“We communicate a lot throughout the week and push each other in and throughout the week,” he said.
Alli Cerruti, a member of the team, and coach at Ute CrossFit, said trust plays a big part in the success of the team. “Part of our success comes from our trust in each other and our individual abilities,” she explained. “ Each team member’s level of dedication and commitment to the team is never a question.”