"Fashion sense was definitely key to our success," Lauster says. "...and I'm not joking."
R.A.W. Training is looking forward to its affiliate’s third trip to the CrossFit Games. When the three-day competition concludes, the team would like to hold the title of Fittest on Earth as well as Best Dressed Team on Earth.
This is not a group that takes its CrossFit competitions – or couture – lightly.
“Fashion sense was definitely key to our success,” first-year team member Bethany Lauster says. “Our guys often dictate what shorts match which shirt or the color of Nanos we buy, and I'm not joking.”
Team member JT Dahlinger says how the team looks is important to performance. “I believe a team needs to dress for success while competing,” he says. “Feel good, look good, play good."
Don’t call it vanity. Call it team chemistry.
In other words, Team R.A.W. Training has a lot of fun together while pursuing a serious mission.
After placing 20th at the 2010 CrossFit Games and 12th in 2011 -- a disappointment, according to affiliate owner and team member Molly Tuman -- R.A.W. has emerged from its 2012 training regimen a much stronger, more skilled, more focused and mentally tough bunch.
Evidence of R.AW.’s elite strength lies in its Regional performance. The team won the Snatch Ladder at the Mid Atlantic Regional this year, led by team newbies Nick "Cheetah" Cherish and Loren "LC" Churchin.
The team sites the bond they forge during its intensely competitive daily 6 a.m. training sessions as a ‘X’ factor. Team members are relying on this bond to elevate their performance and get them to the podium.
“I would say our 2012 team is tighter than any team R.A.W. Training has taken to the Games,” Dahlinger says. “We’re all friends outside of R.A.W. We go out to dinner, breakfast, have parties, team steams. I feel the unity of this group is like no other and it has definitely made us a much better team than we were a year ago.”
Tuman agrees. “The work ethic of this team and the bond that we all have is a big difference this year. Everyone is so supportive of each other and all push each other so hard every day to make each other better,” she explains. “Plus, they are all so much fun to be around, both to coach and train with.”
Team members say they are looking forward to shining in CrossFit's brightest spotlight – atop the podium.
“The Games are already sold out, so I’m expecting the stands to be packed for every workout,” second-year team member Bruce Barger says. “There were a lot of spectators last year, but there were still some empty seats. I can’t wait to get on that stage in a packed house.”