"Everyone on our team qualified individually for Regionals, so I felt confident we had the team that could take us to L.A."
The CrossFit community is known for being tight-knit. The relationships formed within the box are as strong as the athletes themselves. Colin Cartee, Josiah Lorentzen, Sinan Gocmen, Tyler Tisue, D’Ann Lorentzen, Jennifer Bartz, Jessie Murphy and Maddy Ruggeburg of Quad City CrossFit’s Team Awesome are no exception.
Perhaps the close relationship aided them in nabbing North Central’s third place spot on the podium.
“Josiah and D'Ann are married, and Jen and D'Ann are sisters,” Ruggeberg says. “Plus Sinan is dating Josiah's sister. So, it is one big family, literally and figuratively.”
Not only are they bonded through their heartstrings and DNA, Team Awesome shares a united passion for their faith. “I think our biggest asset is being as close as we are,” she says. “Being as big of Christians as we are and just really relying on our faith throughout this long season is huge. I can't even put into words what it means to me, but I know we are better for it.”
QCCF Awesome was confident heading into the North Central Regional this year. They started out the weekend with a 5:04 team Diane. It was the battle on Day 2 between Awesome and CrossFit Omaha that showcased their grit and determination to win during the dumbbell snatch/sprint combo. Even after being given a burpee penalty, they took first in Event 3.
Day 3 of Regionals looked promising with a tie for second in the Snatch Ladder, despite the fact that Lorentzen broke his toe during the event. Tisue originally hadn’t planned on participating in Event 6, but filled in for Lorentzen at the last minute. Then, CrossFit Omaha was hot on their heels again.
“We were watching our dreams fall apart right before our eyes and there was nothing we could do about it,” Ruggeburg says. “But what I absolutely love is that we all came together – our fans, our coaches, our athletes all at the same time were crying, screaming, praying. Just about every emotion flooded my head and I couldn't believe when I stopped praying, looked up, and he had got his muscle-up. I freaked out then tagged his hand and it was time to go to work.”
With their ticket to the Home Depot Center on the line, these two teams took the neck and neck battle to the rings where QCCF was able to secure the third place spot. “I knew we had a good chance of competing with anyone depending on what WODs came up,” Tisue says. “Everyone on our team qualified individually for Regionals, so I felt confident we had the team that could take us to L.A.”
Preparing for the Games has been a scheduling challenge. Many of the athletes work as trainers but Quad City CrossFit’s co-owner, Brandon Bartz has helped organize a schedule and train the team. He is married to Jennifer Bartz and is brother-in-law to co-owner Lorentzen.
The Quad City CrossFit family has been proactive with the team’s training schedule conflicts. “We have all been putting in lots of extra effort individually to make sure we handle the task at hand,” Tisue says. “Every now and then on the weekend, we get together and do some WODs.”
The team has spent a lot of time in the pool and has been drilling skill work, as well as biking, climbing, flipping tires and heavy push/pull work. All athletes have athletic backgrounds and try to lean toward a paleo and organic diet.
“It has been inspirational watching our team all grow and push past our limits, and at the end of the day it's just another day in the gym … crushing WODs together like we've been doing for three years,” Jennifer Bartz says.
Team Awesome often gets asked about its name.
“Our team name was originally a joke and we had no idea that it would stick with us throughout the entire Games season,” Ruggeburg explains. “We all make fun of ourselves for it, but oh well.”
Tisue adds: “Josiah came up with the team name … he's just weird that way.”
Cartee claims it came from a member of the second team that Quad City CrossFit sent to Regionals. “A competitor (Tony) from our QCCF Unrated team made it up and I think we stole it.”
As to what will be programmed in Carson, Calif., QCCF Awesome isn’t worried. They do have some predictions including a workout in a vest, swimming, biking and relay work.
With the wide variety of traditional athletes on their team, anything could be in their wheelhouse. “We've got so many different strengths that play well in a team,” Tisue says. “I think the programming will be more basic CrossFit with some things that will make you have to use your athletic skills. You just never know what will come out of the hopper. All you know is that it will suck and you hope you’re prepared.”
All members are excited to compete as a team and each one refers to the other as family.
“In just two short weeks we will all be on a plane to show Carson, Calif., what we've got, and no matter the outcome, we have made memories that will never be forgotten and we have all become stronger as CrossFit athletes,” Jennifer Bartz says. “We wish the best of luck to all teams and individuals that will be competing in the 2012 Games and can't wait to stand side by side with some of the worlds finest – 3, 2, 1 ... Go!”