2022 RTC CrossFit Open Makes an IMPACT!

Another CrossFit Open season has come and gone, and what a party it was!  Not only did the RTC Fit Fam witness amazing feats of strength from their coaches and fellow members, but the atmosphere in the gym during FNL was beyond electric!  When Coach Allie requested “In the Open Impact” nominations, our members did not disappoint.  Over 200 nominations were submitted recognizing not just athletic accomplishments, but many moments of inspiration and, well, people just being nice,  because that’s what RTC is all about.  Let’s begin with the top honors, awarded to the people with the most nominations:

Congratulations to the 2022 Impact Award Honorees:

Stephanie Margaritakis

“Inspirational” seems like an understated word to describe Steph, but it was used multiple times to describe her impact on others during the Open.  Steph never misses an opportunity to compliment and encourage others, as well as make sure everyone feels included, and those small gestures of kindness don’t go unnoticed.  “After 22.2, she came up to me and told me how strong I looked.  It meant a lot because I didn’t think I did that well,” said one member.  And another: “Steph always made me feel like a rock star during this Open (and every other day, tbh). Even when I am disappointed in myself, Steph swoops in with positive words and compliments that lift my spirits. She is the definition of ‘work hard and be nice.’ Steph’s impact is felt in many other ways, but especially in the clean environment she maintains at RTC, not just during the Open, but every day.  The salt and the streamers and the crumbs and the chalk dust don’t clean themselves, and Steph’s commitment to her work makes our workout space the best in Stark County.  And lastly, there’s her spirit and sense of fun.  “She always offers plenty of laughs,” says a member, “and she keeps the energy high in all she does.  She’s the most supportive individual around!”

Kathy Darmstadt

Kathy is everyone’s favorite, inspiring us all with her drive, determination, and positive attitude. What Kathy loves, she loves deeply, whether it’s people or dogs or CrossFit.  And let’s talk about her determination to take on every one of this year’s Open workouts at the Masters RX level, giving her all with every rep, despite a trip to the ER after a fall on the first week of FNL, and sleepless puppy nights during Week 3!  Fellow members took notice, saying “she completed every rep with integrity,” and “showed so much grit on her double unders…a movement that was very challenging for her but she stayed calm and pushed through to give it a very strong effort!”  Kathy’s enthusiasm for the Open was also inspirational to many.  Whether it was keeping everyone’s spirit up with positive comments and encouragement, or pumping up her team, Buns & Guns, to participate in the weekly theme activities, Kathy is the ultimate team player, looking out for others just as much as she does for herself.  As one member said, “Kathy is such an awesome person to have in your corner!” 

Alex Rundell

Our resident “temp taker” and “time counter” does much more at RTC than brandish a thermometer or count down the beginning of a workout.  She’s described as “inspirational,” “spunky,” “positive,” and “full of energy.”  Her badass athletic prowess does not go unnoticed, either.  “She is ALWAYS pushing herself, and crushes her goals every time!” notes a member.  Alex’s stellar performance during FNL moved her on to the quarterfinals, and she took on those 5 challenging workouts in less than 24 hours!  This girl is always smiling, and her “infectious spirit” kept not only her team, but many competitors laughing and pushing through when things got tough, inspiring them to “work hard, have a positive attitude, and just laugh and not take things too seriously.” “She has an energy about her that elevates the room!” says one member.  “She is one of the brightest, loudest lights at RTC.”

Josh Allatzas

Josh is known for his kind spirit, friendly manner, and those matching No Bull shoes and shirts.  He’s also known to be “encouraging” and “supportive” on any given day, but during the Open, those qualities hit a new level of impact, and many noted the positive influence he had on their performance.  “Many times I felt nervous about the Open,” says a member, “but Josh was very reassuring and encouraging.  He made me feel at ease!”  “He brings an energy to our team that is pure,” says another, “and he goes above and beyond to show team spirit and positivity!”  Josh showed that team spirit in many ways throughout the Open, volunteering extra hours to help Coach Allie, being there during all the workouts to judge and cheer, and changing weights during 22.3.  His performance during every workout must be noted as well, as he had been battling sickness and time away from the gym, but Josh still showed up and made his presence known.  “What a guy!”  says a member.  “He is one of the friendliest, most supportive members at RTC!  He’s right by your side with a word of encouragement, good advice, and an amazing outfit, and he inspires me to try to be more randomly kind!”

Congratulations to the 2022 Impact Award COACH Honorees:

Coach George Treadwell

Sometimes, there are no words to describe Coach George, because we normal folk watch his workouts with awe and admiration.  If you witnessed his performance in 22.2 as he left it all on the floor, diving over the bar with only a second or two left to get in his last rep, then you understand that speechless feeling he inspires in others, and the natural athleticism he works so hard to perfect.  His Open performance took him to a top level in the quarterfinals.  So we’ll begin there…Coach George works hard, practices what he preaches, and we all witness the fruits of his labor.  Aside from his amazing performances during the Open, countless members noted the impact his coaching has had on them or how a tip he gave them during FNL made all the difference, and they credit him for their ability to meet or surpass their goals.  “Encouragement just oozes out of him!” says one member.  Others echo this sentiment:  “I’m so appreciative of George’s knowledge, and I heard his voice in my head during the workout.”; “He sets the bar high for all of us.”; “This dude has such a knack for delivering confidence.  All you have to do is listen.”; “He knows exactly what to say at exactly the right time.”; “He is truly a pillar in our gym and he deserves to be recognized for being a huge part of the success of the Open and for the comfort he brings to the athletes!”  Beyond his performance and his coaching, George is a guy who cares and who takes the time to ask about your day or notice a small detail that makes you feel valued and important. Suffice it to say, we’re all lucky to have Coach George in our lives.  “George has a ton of reasons to walk around proud because of how strong and disciplined he is,” says a member, “but he chooses humility and pushes others to be the best they can be.” 

Coach Jenny Dobrea

Coach Jenny was given many commendations for her calm and strong leadership not just during the Open, but whenever any member needs some encouragement and support.  Beyond her ability to lead well, many members admire Jenny’s strength and gymnastic skills, evident every time she does a muscle up, followed by a swing around the bar dismount!  Jenny is a quiet leader who immediately puts people at ease, giving them a confidence boost when they need it and a word of advice that makes all the difference.  “Jenny’s advice to ‘keep moving…you don’t have to go fast, but keep moving’ stuck with me through workout 22.2,” says one member, “and I exceeded my goal and owe a lot of credit to Jenny for the drive she provided!”  Others note that same level of guidance that seems to come naturally to Jenny:  “She was a great team leader, regularly keeping the team up to date on social media.”; “She showed up to judge us, cheer us on, and has been extremely active in the chat.  She has helped me mentally prepare for each workout!”; “Her dedication to making the right decisions does not go unnoticed.”; “Jenny is an incredible motivator.  She encouraged us to find a gym while on vacation so we would not miss an Open workout!”; “ I can always hear the calm but encouraging tone of Jenny’s voice cheering, even in the midst of loud music and hollering.”  In addition to coaching adults, many acknowledged how well she coaches RTC kids, and goes above and beyond for children as a counselor in the Plain Local School district.  “I really admire the way that Jenny can spend her entire day working with children and then come to the gym and continue to work with children.  She never looks frazzled or tired and I can tell that she loves kids and they love her.”  Whether she’s coaching adults or kids, Jenny is a wonderful leader who makes a meaningful impact on everyone she meets. “Jenny is just amazing,” says a member, “and she never settles for OK and strives for perfection.  She always makes me want to do better and work harder.”

In addition to celebrating our 4 Impact Honorees & 2 Coach Honorees, there are some “Honorable Mentions” that deserve our praise and applause!

Lauren Ozanich

Suffice it to say that Lauren will forever be remembered as the official 2022 Open “Flag Flyer.”  Members agreed that she set the spirit bar incredibly high, and took every FNL theme and ran with it.  Literally, she never stopped running with that flag!!  And that was before and after strong performances in all of the Open workouts!  “OMG…so much team spirit!” says one member.  “From creating our Chalk Dirty flag to tie dyeing t-shirts, she has been such a great teammate and cheerleader for our squad!”  In addition, Lauren was praised for her “great growth mindset” and her “determination and grit.”  Another member simply summarized Lauren’s impact on the Open:  “Hands down, the best energy of the night!”

Jerrica Thomas

It’s impossible to dislike Jerrica.  She’s kind, funny, punny, witty, and simply a blast to be around, and many recognized her as a fantastic teammate and judge.  She knows how to bring the fun and then elevate it to something memorable and impactful.  “Jerrica has been an amazing part of our team,” says one member,”from photoshopping pics, to making videos, to plotting hilarity!  She is just the BEST teammate.” Another mentioned that Jerrica “rocked both a morph suit (she literally couldn’t see) and the honey badger outfit, and supplied her team with Uncrustables.”  From encouraging a fellow member to go “balls to the wall” to get 10 unexpected reps during a workout, to being “a constant reminder to treat everyone with the dignity and respect that they deserve,” Jerrica made an impact on Open 2022. 

Mandi Snyder

The most colorful lady in the gym made her impact during the 2022 Open, with fellow members noting that Mandi “brought it” above and beyond the normal energy she brings to the gym on a daily basis!  Mandi was described as “positive,” “fun,” and “motivating,” and her costumes and attention to detail were impressive!  “Mandi is a take charge person,” says one member, “and she made sure to keep track and let her team know what needed to be done.  I appreciate it!”  Says another, “She nicely forced our entire team to participate, but beyond that she tackled some tough workouts.  I’ve loved watching her growth and seeing her become stronger and more confident.  She’s competitive and supportive and everything in between!”

Special Impact Shout-Outs:

RTC Coaches!

Where would we be without our phenomenal coaches who share their expertise with us on a daily basis, preparing us to be at our best in competitive environments?  Many members recognized the time and effort that all of the coaches put into each and every one of us, drilling us on technique, pushing us out of our comfort zones, and reminding us that progress takes time and consistency.  The coaches led their teams with enthusiasm, encouraging members to participate in all the friendly competition, redo a workout to better their score, or offering a cue to “breathe,” “keep moving,” or “use your legs.”  Special recognition goes to Coach Allie, who works tirelessly to make FNL the special event that it is, calling it “her Christmas.” Her work behind the scenes and during FNL requires countless hours of not just coaching, but organizing, scheduling, counting (so many numbers!), and cheering.   One member said it best, when he said, “We’re a family with a highly dedicated owner and coaches who love to be part of it, teaching us how we can all grow from one another.”  FNL wouldn’t happen without the fantastic RTC coaching staff, who pour their heart and soul into their work, and we thank them for the impact they have made on our Fit Fam!

RTC Kids!

RTC kids are a special bunch, and it was heartwarming to see them showcase their skills during their own FNL events, all organized by our amazing kid coaches Jenny and Jeanine, referred to by one member as “the best CrossFit kids coaches anyone could ask for!”  The kids participated by not only doing their own versions of the workouts, but by wearing costumes and getting cheers and encouragement from friends and family, who were able to be spectators!  It was a powerful reminder that this young generation of CrossFitters is learning the importance of well-coached movement, healthy living, and team spirit!  “I am super impressed at how well the kids have been coached and mentored during the RTC kids classes,” says a member.  “For the first time I got to watch my kids along with the others do an AMRAP for the Open, and I’ve gotta say, ‘Wow!  Good job coaches!’”  Another member summed up the impact that the RTC kids program and its amazing coaches have made:  “If these kids don’t warm your heart and inspire you, I don’t know what will.  I love seeing their excitement for the Open and fitness in general.  In think we have an amazing group of kids and parents who are showing them the importance of health and community.  Another reason I’m so proud to be a part of RTC!”  

RTC Spirit!

Was it the CrossFit Open, or possibly dress rehearsal for the first ever RTC Broadway show?  There were backdrops and costumes and props.  There was pumping music and cheering and awe-filled gasps.  There was a flag in constant motion and team chants and fist bumps galore.  Who can forget seeing Jeff Snyder dressed as Maui from the Disney film Moana, walking around with children literally hanging from his legs?  Or Coach Gavin in a rainbow wig, sitting atop the rig, holding a candy-filled piñata as each RTC kid took a shot at it with their stick?  And speaking of shots, there were plenty of the drinking kind, as well!  Amidst all the colorful fun, there was some serious badassing on full display, some of which happened in full costume!  Special shout-outs go to Krystal Allen for capturing all the special moments behind the lens, and all the members who stepped up to judge, change weights, and cheer, especially on Sundays and Mondays.  RTC is known for the strong bond that exists within the community, and FNL was the perfect time to showcase it!

Congratulations to all of our honorees for the tremendous IMPACT they have made on the RTC community! Congratulations to all of our members who participated in the 2022 Open and gave every workout their best effort!  Congratulations to our athletes who moved on to the quarterfinals! 

Here’s to the year ahead, as we all get faster and stronger and ready to crush the goals we have already set for Open 2023!