2021 CrossFit Open Makes an IMPACT!

The chalk dust has settled and the bright lights of Friday night have dimmed, but oh what an IMPACT the 2021 CrossFit Open has made on the entire RTC Fit Fam!  It’s been an incredible experience to watch so many of our members perform crazy feats of strength, and it’s more than inspirational to see how the RTC family cheers one another on and celebrates every individual’s success! 

 There was an overwhelming response to Coach Allie’s “In The Open Impact” nomination request. When our members were called on to share an example of an inspirational person or act, literally hundreds of submissions were received!  We’ll begin with the top honors, awarded to the people with the most nominations. 

Congratulations to the 2021 Impact Award honorees:

Stephanie Margaritakis

The compliments were plentiful for Steph, whose beautiful heart shined brightly throughout the Open.  She’s known for going out of her way for members, and was recognized by many of them for her enthusiasm and constant support during the FNL events.  She was always on the move, either competing, judging, cheering, cleaning up, or just offering a word of encouragement to someone who needed it.  “She is always inspiring, always kind, and always ready to make you smile and work hard.  She has an attitude and work ethic to aspire to,” says member Hillary B.  Words repeatedly used to describe Steph were “encouraging,” “supportive,” “sweet,” and “positive.”  While Steph is known to work hard on her fitness, she works just as hard to make everybody at RTC feel like they are an important part of the community.  

Kathy Darmstadt

Kathy is known as a ray of sunshine at RTC, and many members recognized how much her positive spirit added to the fun and camaraderie of the Open experience. Aside from tackling 21.1, 21.3, and 21.4 twice and putting everything she had into every workout, she was a constant cheerleader for others, whether she was their judge or spectator.  Member Michelle H. noted that Kathy “made her way around the gym each Friday, always encouraging anyone and everyone with her spunky personality.”   Kathy embraced every opportunity to be the “hype lady” for Team Buns and Guns, and spread lots of 60’s love during “Decades” week, even including RTC’s kids in the fun by providing them with plenty of tattoos!  Kathy’s dedication to always bettering herself and always finding the good in others makes her a very special member of the RTC family!

Alex Rundell

Some call her the “Temp Taker” or the “Time Counter.”  Many call her “positive,” “supportive,” and “encouraging.”  And even more call her “beast” after witnessing her first muscle-ups during 21.3!  Alex was everywhere during the weeks of the Open, getting the clock started in the way that only she can, volunteering to judge for whoever needed her on any day at any time, and cheering many athletes on to do their best.  “I’ve never seen someone cheer on other people with the level of enthusiasm that Alex does,” says member Joey S.  “She was always so encouraging for every workout and always projected so much positive energy to every athlete.”  Alex truly represents the spirit of the Open, not just during FNL, but with the fun and positive environment she creates every day at RTC! 

Jenna Swihart

Jenna is one of RTC’s favorite humans,  and a recent Instagram celebrity, as video of her first muscle-up was featured on the CrossFit Games Instagram page!  Anyone who witnessed the joy and excitement of that moment knows how hard Jenna worked to make it happen.  Athleticism and work ethic aside, Jenna is known for her sense of humor and selfless nature.  “Jenna went out of her way to be a team player for our team,” says Coach Jenny.  “She volunteered to judge a fellow teammate at 5AM, and she came in on Sunday to judge others.  This seems like a small act, but it went a long way to make others feel special and supported!”  Jenna’s positive attitude is infectious, and she has the unique ability to make everyone around her better because of it.

In addition to celebrating our 4 Impact honorees, there are some “Honorable Mentions” that deserve our praise and applause!

 RTC Coaches are the Best!

Many nominations came in for members of the RTC coaching staff, not only for making the 2021 Open such a success in so many ways, but also for the IMPACT they made as leaders and role models.  Those who had the opportunity to watch the coaches take on the workouts were impressed with the displays of tenacity and strength.  The coaches kept their teams motivated, and encouraged friendly competition with the themes and opportunities to earn points. They did what our coaches do best…coached their athletes to work hard, challenge themselves, and practice proper form and technique.  Dorrie N. shared her feelings of gratitude for Coach George, who she said “protected me and guided me through the entire Open to make sure I didn’t overdo it and re-injure my shoulder.  I thought WOW…this guy really looks out for me!”  In addition, the coaches made sure everyone was having fun!  Multiple shout-outs were given to Coach Gavin for wearing the honey badger costume as he judged and cheered his way through FNL.  Many members also expressed appreciation for the push they were given by the coaches to lift heavier, take on the challenge of an RX workout, or simply not give up when faced with seemingly impossible tasks.  Of course, special mention must be made of Coach Allie, who worked so tirelessly on every detail to make the 2021 Open such a positive and memorable experience for the entire Fit Fam.  Member Sarah F. summed up Allie’s IMPACT best when she said, “She’s a freaking amazing woman!  I watched her cheer on everyone and push people past what they thought they were capable of, and also beast out the workouts herself.  She calmed people’s fears, coached us through it all with awesome videos, and encouraged us to have fun.  I learned so much through this Open, and it was because of Allie that I did!”

Family Rules at RTC!

RTC’s family friendly space was full of life during FNL.  Couples tackled the workout together.  Moms and daughters competed side by side.  Spouses/partners watched the workouts with pride from the sidelines and kids cheered from the safety of the bleachers.  There was food, drink, balloons, tattoo stickers (thanks, Kathy D.!), and special family moments that will never be forgotten, such as:

  • Jeff and Mandi S. and their over the top coordinating outfits…let’s just say we all have an image in our head of Jeff in a blond wig that will NEVER be erased!
  • Not to be outdone, Holly and Jerrica taking every week’s theme to an extreme, and bringing their team mascot, the honey badger, to life!
  • Dorrie N.’s sweet husband Steve cheering on every moment of her 2021 Open workouts!
  • Hillary B.’s wife Heather watching with pride and love as Hillary beasted her way through the workouts! 
  • Sarah F.’s husband Dan and their kids cheering her on during 21.3!
  • So many couples kicking ass together and celebrating each other’s finish!
  • Kids!!  Kids everywhere, eating, playing, cheering, and being parented by anyone who happened to be in close proximity to the kids’ area.  It’s the RTC way!
  • The FUN, that special kind when a family comes together for a common goal…to be the healthiest version of themselves that they can be.  The kind of fun best reflected in the words of member Chris H.:  “I was mind blown with all the intense  energy of everyone being there, cheering, having a good and NORMAL time in the midst of the pandemic!  It was overwhelming, but in a good and much needed way!  It was a happy place, and I think we all missed that and needed a night like this.  As a family, we are really appreciative we got to spend the night at RTC.  It’s become more than a gym, but a community where we feel welcomed and inspired!”

Moments of Badassery!

There were so many badass moments during the Open that it’s impossible to document them all.  And let’s be real…anyone who competed in this year’s Open is worthy of the title “badass,” because everyone put on their game face and got the job done!  

Here are some standouts worth mentioning:

  • Coach George, Coach Gavin, Coach Chris, Coach Allie, Coach Jenny, Dria B., and Andrea H., whose performances all moved them on to quarterfinals!
  • Muscle-up queens Coach Abby, Jenna S., and Alex R.!  These 3 ladies got their first muscle-ups and left the crowd cheering for more! 
  • Anthony S., who, after failing a 21.4 attempt, upped the weight and made the lift, cheered on not only by the crowd, but his awesome judge Darren H.!
  • Hillary B., who planned to scale 21.2, but decided to go RX and gave it all she had!
  • Dan F., new to CrossFit, who volunteered to judge whenever needed.  He was described as a “Buddhist guru” by a member who said that Dan not only judged like a “wing man” during 21.4, but spurred him on to success by telling him, “It’s only weight, and all it needs to do is go up.  You just make this bar go up.”  
  • Mike R. who did dubs for the first time during 21.1!
  • Jeff and Mandi S., who did burpees (lots of them) for the first time during 21.2!
  • Anyone who tried wall walks for the first time during 21.1!
  • Anyone who repeated an Open workout to improve their score or go from foundations to scaled or scaled to RX!
Congratulations to all of our honorees for the tremendous IMPACT they have made on the RTC community! And congratulations to all of our members who participated in the 2021 Open and gave every workout their best effort!  Good luck to our athletes who are moving on in the competition.  Your Fit Fam is behind you all the way!!  Here’s to the year ahead, as we all get faster and stronger and ready for Open 2022!