Unlike traditional sporting events, the line between competitors and participants in CrossFit is blurred.
Some of the fittest people in Utah are congregated for one weekend in June at the Olympic Oval in Kearns to watch the regional qualifier for the CrossFit Games.
The competition is a workout that could be done in a garage or a prison cell. Chest-to-bar pull-ups, wall balls, one-legged squats and one-armed snatches were the challenge of the day, and it is just another day in the office for the Ute All-Stars CrossFit team.
The six-member team Kelsie Roberts, Alli Cerruti, Adam Piccari, Michael Baker, Robert Shaffer and Mandi Janowitz finished third in the regional competition and advanced to Carson, Calif., for the national event July 22-28.
Roberts stays loose waiting for her turn on the wall balls. The Jordan High alumna has been training with the six-member team for months, perfecting her form and mastering the necessary techniques. The workouts are exhausting, but the challenge of finding a balance between the individual and team aspect of the sport drives the 25-year-old nanny.
"We practice all of the workouts to find the best order and see who won't hold the others up," Roberts said. "We all know it's going to suck, but we work through the pain because we know we can do it."
The All-Stars, who train out of Ute CrossFit, are led by Cerruti. She is a head trainer at the gym and has devoted her life to fitness. Cerruti, a lifelong athlete who was a member of the University of Utah's women's soccer team, is a four-year veteran of CrossFit. She is driven by competition and trying to return to the national tournament, but also the openness of the sport.
"CrossFit is a community, bound by team camaraderie and encased in competition," she said. "It's an overall lifestyle. The beauty of CrossFit is that you can adjust the workout to your physical capabilities."
Piccari, who dominated on the chest-to-bar portion of the workout by completing all 30 uninterrupted, credits CrossFit for getting him physically and mentally fit. Piccari, who described himself as chubby leaving high school in Pennsylvania, is a key to Ute All-Stars' run at a national title.
"It pushes you to do things you didn't think that were possible," Piccari said. "We've all been in places that were hell, but the training pushes you to reach a new level."
Roberts was elated when she discovered the team was advancing. The excitement of standing on the podium was a heart-fluttering experience.
"It's surreal to be going to nationals," Roberts said. "We did something unique, and we're going to be working hard to make an impact when we get there."
Meet the All-Stars
Ute All-Stars work out of Ute CrossFit. Hack's Pack Ute from Ute CrossFit also qualified for nationals.
Alli Cerruti played for the University of Utah women's soccer team.
Kelsie Roberts is an alumna of Jordan High School.