This weekend kicks off a string of CrossFit competitions for RFS members! Coach Matt heads to Miami for the Miami Soul Classic and Sophie, Tommy, Tanya, Katie and Cherisse will throw down in the Thunderdome in Estero. Every athlete looks forward to these events with anticipation, wondering how they’ll stack up against the competition, but for one of our members, this weekend is particularly meaningful.
Cherisse Kellemen has been a gymnast since she was 5. As a high school athlete, she was on track for college scholarships until her knee started to give her trouble. After her second ACL surgery, her doctor sidelined her. Cherisse tried finding a sport she loved as she did gymnastics: she considering trying out as a BUCS Cheerleader; she looked into competitive fitness competitions, and tried her hand at yoga and boxing. Nothing stuck, and she found herself gaining weight and losing her edge.
In January of 2012, a friend introduced her to CrossFit. “We went through the warm-up and then the coach said it was time for the workout,” says Cherisse. “I was shocked, because I thought that was the workout. Right there, I fell in love with it.” A month later the CrossFit Open started and Cherisse learned about the competitive culture within CrossFit. She came in 725th in that year’s open.The following year, she was 136th.
Cherisse placed herself under the coaching of Spencer Arnold and began training with intensity for the 2014 Open. But then her injury surfaced. “I was doing a burpee box jump, and I felt the pop I know so well,” she says. “I knew that was it.” In September of 2013, she had surgery, but four months into her recovery, she lifted a kettlebell and felt her other knee pop. This time, she opted for therapy over surgery. In April 2014, she was cleared to begin training again. (Anyone who knows Cherisse knows she never really stopped altogether! Spencer had her on an upper body, single-leg rehab program!)
Cherisse is training with a goal in mind: She wants to secure a spot in the Granite Games in Minnesota. Similar to the Open, WODs for the Granite Games are announced on Thursdays, and athletes have to complete them and submit their scores. The Top 70 athletes make it to the games in St. Cloud. (The final WOD is announced today! Cherisse will complete it before her rest day tomorrow as she heads into the weekend for the competition.)
We asked her expectations for the weekend and her first competition since her surgery. “Well, I’m really glad to be doing it with a team,” she said. “And, really, I just want to go and have fun,
it doesn’t matter if we wi–” Wait. That’s not what she said. “My hope for the weekend? Well, I want us to stand on the podium, of course.” Ah. There it is. Love your fighting spirit, Cherisse.
We’re proud of you, Cherisse-and of all the RFS athletes who are willing to test themselves in these competitions! GOOD LUCK!