August 15, 2013
A Learning Experience: CrossFit Select
By Lisa Zane

"We all did the best we could, and you can’t really ask for much more than that.”

After finishing just one spot shy of qualifying for the Games two years in a row, Mississauga’s CrossFit Select finally earned a trip to Carson, Calif., and finished 29th in their first appearance at the Games.

“I think for our first Games showing, we’re pretty happy,” says team Select member Tommy Snarr. “We all did the best we could, and you can’t really ask for much more than that.”

“It was a hard year of work, and it was totally worth every second of the Games,” adds teammate Holly McIlroy.

The team, made up of Snarr, McIlroy, Pam Evans, Pete D’Amore, Chris Baillie, and Lesley Naumowich, says one of their favorite parts of their experience was being able to look up in the stands to see their family and friends encouraging them as they walked out into the stadium.

“Knowing that we had fans in the crowd, cheering on our every move was motivating," Evans says.

Select’s best finishes were in the Iditarod 1 and 2 (second and 11th), and the Ascending Chipper 2 (16th) out of the 43 teams competing. 

Despite finishing near the top in the Iditarod events, Snarr says the team’s favorite event was the Ascending Chipper.

“I think everyone did the best they could do and everyone had fun with it,” he says. “We were confident in those movements. We were talking to each other, saying, ‘A few more reps, a few more’. If someone could make up a more, they would do it. Everyone was just kind of feeding off each other.”

For Snarr, whose father Scott competed in the Masters 55-59 Division despite breaking his foot just three weeks before the Games, the hardest part of the weekend was Legless.

“I went first in that workout and, well, got stuck,” he says with a laugh. “I think I fell about 15 times from the top. It was a little embarrassing at first, but my teammate Leslie was there to talk me through it afterwards.”

For McIlroy, the biggest challenge was the Burden Run.

“I was very thankful to go through the experience with six others, and not alone,” she says. “I wouldn't have made it through that workout if my teammates had not been pushing me the whole time.”

In their first time competing together on the world stage, the team quickly learned communication is key.

“We learn from everything we do, and the weekend was definitely a learning experience for the team,” Evans says. “We learned that communication is the most integral part of any team and without it you are at a disadvantage “

“There’s gotta be that one person, whoever it may be, that calls the shots,” says Snarr, who says he learned a lot from watching two-time Affliate Cup champions Hack’s Pack UTE.

“Everybody listens to Tommy Hackenbruck,” he says. “In the final event they were behind on the handstand push-ups and were making up time on the worm clean and jerks. When they dropped the worm, he grabbed that thing and pulled it by himself to the next station while everyone was huffing and puffing. I said, ‘Well that’s a friggin’ leader right there.’”

When they returned home to Mississauga, the team members celebrated in different ways including taking a few days off, eating cupcakes, pizza and bacon, and even going skydiving.

“I jumped out of a plane and jumped into debt,” says Snarr, who now owns Select with his dad and Baillie. 

As for what’s next for the team, Snarr says he intends to go individual next year, but has his sights set on building an even stronger team for 2014.

“We’ve got a lot of good guys and good girls coming up that are very good athletes, so I want to set something up and get a program ready,” he says. “Just watching the top teams that basically eat, sleep and train together — we gotta know each other inside and out.”