The Times West Virginian

Prep Sports

January 2, 2014

East Fairmont wrestlers utilize CrossFit principles to prepare for matches

PLEASANT VALLEY — Inside East Fairmont’s wrestling facility, dozens of athletes are tossing themselves recklessly onto the mat.

From a pushup position they propel themselves up to their feet, jump into the air and clap at the top, all in one swift movement. As soon their toes touch down onto the mat, they again flop their muscular frames to the ground, ready for another repetition.

This, um, thing — think of it like the “up-downs” your high school football coach made you do — it’s called a burpee. And no it’s not a new wrestling move invented by the Bees.

Instead, it’s just one of many moves common to CrossFit, an exercise regime that incorporates weight lifting, bodyweight exercise and cardiovascular training all in one.

Founded by Greg Glassman in the early 2000s, the company’s website defines CrossFit as “constantly varied, function movements performed at high intensity.” It pulls from everywhere from Olympic-style weight lifting to rowing to gymnastics to achieve a broad measure of fitness.

As a testament to this, many of the top athletes at the CrossFit Games, a yearly competition that began in 2007 to crown the “Fittest on Earth,” can squat 500 pounds and run a 5-minute mile. Plenty of 300-plus-pound power lifters can move that much iron, and probably more 125-pound string-bean runners can endure four laps at that pace. Few can do both.

Five years ago, this article would have needed much more than a few short paragraphs to explain CrossFit. But in recent years the self-proclaimed “Sport of Fitness” has boomed, reaching about 7,000 affiliate gyms worldwide. It has been embraced by grandmas, members of the armed forces and the New Orleans Saints football team — just to name a few. Heck, you might have even tried it yourself.

East Fairmont assistant wrestling coach Scott Hage first stumbled upon it three years ago. He was driving through White Hall when he was distracted by a blaze yellow sign with “CROSSFIT” written in black block letters.

A few days later, he did his first workout at CrossFit Intense, an affiliate on Moran Circle in Fairmont that boasts the motto “Making you harder to kill!” While Hage doesn’t remember all of the specifics of the circuit-style workout, he remembers what happened afterward.

“I got back to my house and fell flat on my face in my living room and lay there for about 30 minutes,” he said. “I was hooked from that moment, and I’ve been doing it ever since.”

Almost immediately the coach started implementing CrossFit principles into his wrestlers’ workouts. The results, he said, are noticeable. While strength and condition play just one small role in a team’s success, the Bees produced two state champions last year.

“CrossFit principles seem to be the most effective way to get our wrestlers to where they need to be as quickly as possible,” Hage said.

Hage, who was a four-time high school state champion in Georgia and qualified for the NCAA national tournament three times at West Virginia University, said the part of that dictionary-sounding definition from the beginning of the article that most relates to wrestling is the “constantly varied” aspect.

“It applies very nicely to wrestling because of the unexpected nature that a wrestler faces every time he steps out on the mat,” he said. “Everybody has different styles. Everybody has a different body type. Everybody brings something different to the match.”

The CrossFit workouts, by their very nature, do much of the same. They prescribe specific weights and unconventional rep-schemes that can be as few as one repetition to as many as hundreds of repetitions. Every day is a new challenge.

Athletes don’t know what workout they will complete until 8 p.m. the preview night when CrossFit.com (as well as many affiliates) posts a “workout of the day,” or to use their lexicon “WOD.” For example, yesterday’s WOD was five rounds for time of 20 strict ring dips and 14 thrusters (a front squat into an overhead press) with 135 pounds.

On the chilly winter morning at East Fairmont’s wrestling facility, grapplers rotated through two-minute rounds (the same length as one wrestling period) of shoulder presses, pushups, pull ups and — of course — burpees.

After the circuit, the team carried medicine balls while doing sprints, as Hage encouraged them, wearing his CrossFit Intense T-shirt draped over his stocky frame.

Catching their breath, the wrestlers described the feeling that comes from one of the workouts.

“Jello,” said 132-pound senior Brody Nesslerotte. “You really can't feel your arms or legs or anything else.”

“You’re more mentally tired than anything,” added 152-pound senior Hayden Stewart. “You’ve just got to tell yourself you can keep going.”  

While the workouts push the wrestlers to new limits, the coaches and athletes agree that the work pays off when they step onto the mat.

Stewart said, “When we’re out there wrestling in duals you can definitely tell that we’re the better team when it comes to conditioning.”

Email Mike DeFabo at mdefabo@timeswv.com or follow on Twitter @MikeDeFaboTWV.

1
Text Only
Prep Sports
  • FSHS #32, 29-BU #15-TS.jpg Cousins Sansalone, Craig lead Polar Bears past B-U: PHOTOS

    They say you don’t mess with family. Buckhannon-Upshur found that one out the hard way.

    April 23, 2014 7 Photos

  • Gabbi Mascaro Signing -md.jpg Mascaro signs with FSU

    Gabi Mascaro is staying in Fairmont.
    After considering several out-of-state colleges, the Fairmont Senior soccer standout signed her National Letter of Intent Tuesday to continue her career at Fairmont State University, an upstart program which will play its first games in 2015.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • EF # 5 BP #23 MW.JPG Slow start spoils Bees’ upset bid: PHOTOS

    Fresh off a fairly successful trip to Myrtle Beach, the East Fairmont baseball team was looking to gain some respect in its own state by toppling No. 4 Bridgeport on the road. Instead, the Bees came home with an 8-3 loss after a slow start spoiled their upset bid.

    April 22, 2014 6 Photos

  • Brooks’ one-hitter powers Huskies past Cougars

    North Marion’s Skyler Brooks threw a one-hitter, Travis Smith hit a 3-run home run and the Huskies downed Lincoln, 13-1, Monday night.

    April 22, 2014

  • NMHS #5 PITCH -TS.jpg Latocha dominant in circle for North

    It’s common knowledge that you don’t talk about a no-hitter while it’s in progress or you might jynx the pitcher.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • NMHS #28 PITCH -TS.jpg Pitching pushes North past Monarchs in game two of doubleheader: PHOTOS

    North Marion coach Vic Seccuro wanted to send a message to his team, telling them to focus, bear down and grit out a victory.
    After falling 13-8 to Braxton County in game one of a Saturday doubleheader, the Huskies bounced back to beat John Marshall, 4-2, Saturday at North Marion High School.

    April 20, 2014 5 Photos

  • EFHS #21-OG #11-TS.jpg Bees split with Oak Glen on Senior Day: PHOTOS

    Twice on Saturday the East Fairmont softball team found itself leading Oak Glen 3-1 in the seventh inning.
    The situation was the same in both games of the doubleheader. The way the Bees’ handled it, though, was quiet different.

    April 20, 2014 5 Photos

  • NMHS #14, 21-RC #14-TS.jpg Lady Huskies fall to Ritchie County late, 5-4: PHOTOS

    It couldn’t have happened the way it did even if No. 6 Ritchie County had drawn it up.
    The bases were loaded. There were no outs. And by a swing of bad luck a fly ball was dropped in the outfield as two runs came across to score, propelling the Rebels to a 5-4 win over No. 9 North Marion in the final game of the Diamond Dawg Tournament at North Marion High School Saturday.

    April 20, 2014 5 Photos

  • NMHS #14 hit.jpg North Marion goes 2-for-2; Fairmont Senior 0-for-2 in tournament

    A day after an 11-0 mercy-rule victory at Philip Barbour, the North Marion Huskies were at it again.
    Chelsi Latocha threw three no-hit innings, Shelby King drove in five runs in the first inning and the Huskies rolled to a 20-0 victory over the winless Fairmont Senior Polar Bears in the Diamond Dawg Tournament at North Marion High School.

    April 19, 2014 6 Photos

  • Tori Postlewait front.jpg East’s Postlewait, North’s Latocha toss no-hitters

    Tori Postlewait made a deal with her great-uncle, Kenny Carpenter, before her freshman season.
    If the Bees’ pitcher tossed a no-hitter, Carpenter promised to give her $20.
    Well, it took four years, but it’s finally time for Postlewait’s great-uncle to pay up.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

Featured Ads
Prep Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos