March 22, 2012
Opposites Excel: Krista and Marilyn
By Thomas Patton

“I am still in the self discovery stage, but I must admit that it keeps me on edge,” Rojas says. “I am looking forward for CrossFit to prepare me for the unexpected.” 

Krista Pell from CrossFit Cayman follows Latin America's leader Anita Pravatti in the 2nd spot for women in Latin America with a total of 20 points. Pell says the first two Open workouts  felt “great, but that is because these are two of my favorite exercises. I have no problem doing burpees and I love to snatch,” she says. “I joke that so far, the Open has been programmed just for me.”

On the far end of the same continent, Marylin Rojas Castro is tied for second with Pell. From CrossFit Santiago in Chile, she says burpees and snatches were unfamiliar to her. But that did not stop her from doing well in 12.1 and 12.2. “I have PR’d in both. I had never done these movements, neither burpees nor snatches.”

Pell has been CrossFitting for less than two years. Prior to CrossFit, she was involved collegiately and nationally in “the unique combination of rugby and cheerleading.  I have always been a team athlete,” she says.  

Now, Pell runs a busy schedule with her full time job, vice president in a global financial services firm, runs the CrossFit Kids program at her box and manages to do volunteer work whenever possible. She also has a 4-year-old daughter and a husband, who fortunately CrossFit. It’s something they share together. “We introduce CrossFit to all of our friends,” she says. “And now that our daughter has started CrossFit Kids, even she believes everybody gets up every morning to do their workout. It’s amazing.”

Rojas, on the other hand, has only been CrossFitting seriously for a month. She did compete in a local CrossFit competition in 2010, but joined an affiliate just recently. It is only this past month she became a serious competitor.

Rojas has a track and field background. She was also involved in roller-skating at a national level and has earned national titles in powerlifting. She’s currently working on getting a degree in physical education. With her athletic background, she is a natural talent in CrossFit.

Even though she felt she was lacking sufficient experience, she registered for the Open “as motivation to keep getting better all around and compete in a sport that would mean constant new challenges for me,” she says.

For Pell, CrossFit competition has been life changing. “It has taken my commitment of personal development and improvement to a level I didn’t believe I had in me. Nothing is impossible anymore,” she says.

Since Pell was a member of the CrossFit Cayman team that went to the CrossFit Games last year representing Latin America, she is more than exited to come back and show her improvements. She feels that one thing that the Games experience teaches you it to be ready mentally, which she already is, but is also getting ready to defeat the physical milestones she has set her sights to defeat before the 2012 Regionals in Cali, Colobmia. “When people ask me why I am so committed to CrossFit, it's really easy for me to share,” she explains. “Everything I give to CrossFit, my training, my diet, my teammates, CrossFit has given back tenfold. I am healthier, happier, have better relationships and have been introduced to a wonderful group of people that share my passion for life and the pursuit of self improvement.  What's not to love?”

Rojas, however, is still adapting. “I am still in the self discovery stage, but I must admit that it keeps me on edge,” she says. “I am looking forward for CrossFit to prepare me for the unexpected.”

For the near future, Rojas just hopes to stay well ranked and to keep improving. Her new goal is to compete amongst the best in the world in California this summer.

These two women are at opposite sides of the spectrum. Pell is experienced, proficient and committed, while Rojas has only recently been introduced to the sport. Even with their differences, both athletes have the heart, desire, mental conviction and physical preparedness that is putting near the top of the Leaderboard in Latin America.