May 20, 2016
Couples Retreat
By Andréa Maria Cecil
After six years, Tanya and Josh Wagner are back on a team together and having a blast.
After six years, Tanya and Josh Wagner are back on a team together and having a blast.

The Wagners are back.

For the first time in six years, 2009 CrossFit Games champion Tanya Wagner and her husband, Josh, are back on a team together competing at the 2016 Reebok CrossFit Games Atlantic Regional.

It took a little bit of rearranging life to make it happen as the couple have a 5-year-old son and a 2-year-old daughter, Josh is a full-time physical-education teacher and together they own CrossFit Apex in Souderton, Pennsylvania. But both were all smiles through all three of Day 1's events.

“It's fun. It's super fun,” said a cheery Tanya as she rowed after her team's 17th-place finish in Event 1. CrossFit Apex finished 1 rep behind what it did in practice.

She added: “I've never been settled with being done.”

The last time the 34-year-old competed was as an individual at the 2012 Mid Atlantic Regional, where she finished fifth—23 points outside one of the top three qualifying spots.

The last time the couple competed together on a team was in 2010, when it qualified for the CrossFit Games. At the Games' first year at the then-Home Depot Center outside Los Angeles, CrossFit Apex finished 27th.

Josh competed as an individual at the 2009 Games in Aromas, California, as well as at the 2011, 2012 and 2014 Mid Atlantic Regionals.

With the rest of the team's athletes younger than 30, the Wagners are the de facto coaches, devising strategy and offering encouragement.

During Event 3—the women's snatch ladder—Josh could be heard yelling from the sidelines, having already completed the event nearly an hour earlier.

When Tanya completed her fifth snatch at 135 lb., she turned toward him, pumped her left fist and gave him a pursed-lip smile.

When Nina Brascetta missed her first 3 reps at 135, Tanya looked squarely at her from a few feet down Lane 2 and pointedly told her, “Jump. Jump.”

Tanya's neck tightened.

When Nina nailed her first rep, Tanya smiled broadly.

“Yeah, Nina!”

Tanya beamed with pride as she clapped.

Brascetta recorded another rep at 135—a weight she had only hit once more than a week earlier—struggling to remain behind the red line for a good rep. The judge gave her the thumbs-up.

“Good save. Good save!” Tanya yelled.

Tanya grinned. If you didn't know any better, you would think they were winning the event.

From behind the barricades Josh's parents, Jimmy and Gail, watched nervously and Jimmy offered words of encouragement.

“All right, Erica, Tanya,” he said as the two women made their way through bar muscle-ups in Event 1.

“I think it's awesome to have them together like that,” Jimmy said of Josh and Tanya competing on the same team together.

For their part, the Wagners want their team to crack the top 10. If they do that, Tanya said, “we'll be thrilled.” The team finished Day 1 in 26th place.

And they want to have fun.

“Few are lucky enough in the CrossFit community to do this,” Josh noted.

Tanya echoed her husband's sentiments, saying the team was lucky to be there—especially as she has been unable to train for two weeks after serious back spasms training for the snatch event.

“I don't want to miss the fun in this,” she said. “We might not make it. We might not podium, but we still get to be a part of this year's CrossFit Games.”

Tanya added: “This is our Games.”