South Charlotte

Ballantyne CrossFit team ready to rise to the occasion

Michelle Crawford, owner of Rising CrossFit in Ballantyne, and Ryan Boswell compete in the Atlantic Regional competition for the CrossFit Games. The Rising Orange team placed second and will compete in the world CrossFit Games in California this summer.
Michelle Crawford, owner of Rising CrossFit in Ballantyne, and Ryan Boswell compete in the Atlantic Regional competition for the CrossFit Games. The Rising Orange team placed second and will compete in the world CrossFit Games in California this summer. DAVID KING

For the second year in a row, Rising CrossFit’s competition team, Rising Orange, has qualified for the world games, in which teams of CrossFit athletes compete to be named the fittest in the world.

Eight athletes from the Ballantyne CrossFit affiliate will travel to Carson, Calif., in July for the annual CrossFit Games: Michelle Crawford, Emily Breeze Ross Watson, Lorraine Castle, Pamela Gagnon, David Borrelli , Ryan Boswell, Brandon Hedrik and Devin Borders.

In 2014, the Rising CrossFit team placed 35th at the CrossFit Games. To prepare this year, the team is adding new workouts, including open-water swimming and pushing a heavy sled along a road. Rising CrossFit also is working with former professional football players and putting in extra running.

“I think we are motivated to do better than last year,” wrote Watson, 30, in an email. “We have more experience and confidence to go out there and put Charlotte, N.C., on the map.

“I would love to see us be top 10 in the world!”

Crawford, who worked previously as a fitness instructor at the Morrison YMCA, opened Rising CrossFit on North Community House Road in October 2013. Crawford said “Rising” in the name is a reference to Bruce Springsteen’s post-9/11 album, “The Rising,” and to Christianity.

Rising CrossFit now has about 230 members, and about 20 are part of Rising CrossFit’s competition team. The increasingly popular fitness method, which now has more than 11,000 affiliates worldwide, offers members a workout of the day that can include any exercise technique, from clean and jerks to pull ups.

“Most of our members, probably 95 percent of our membership, do CrossFit as a way to stay in shape,” Crawford said. “They come in every day and do a workout.”

Those who excel or express interest in joining the competition team are put through benchmark weight-training. Team members commit more time to working out to achieve a higher level of fitness.

Rising Orange earned its spot in the CrossFit Games by coming in second in the recent Atlantic Regional competition. The top five teams at the regional event qualify for the world championship, Crawford said.

“It was much tougher this year, because they combined two regions to make a super regional, and the competition was really tough,” Crawford said.

The team got off to a slow start, placing 17th in its first event, but performed better than expected in the other six.

While athletes knew which workouts they would be required to perform at the regional competition, they won’t know what to expect at the CrossFit Games.

Crawford said the team members have enjoyed changing up their workouts to prepare.

“We are family,” Watson wrote in an email. “We train together, hang out together, our significant others come along. It’s a great community.”

The CrossFit Games will be July 21-26.

Marty Minchin is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Marty? Email her at martyminchin@gmail.com.

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For information about Rising Crossfit, visit www.risingcrossfit.com.

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