By K.J. Wylie/ GCU Staff
“No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable of.” –Socrates.
With such powerful words engraved into their heads, Lopes CrossFit club head coaches Grant Senechal and Josh Schnepp have deemed it to be their duty and obligation in helping others not only achieve their fitness goals, but compete on the highest level in the sport of CrossFit.
“We want people to grow their human potential day by day,” Senechal said. “I want to be better than I was yesterday, and help people grow their ceiling of capabilities.”
In the first two years of the program, the sport was mainly focused on training, and had not participated in competitions. However, all that is set to change in Year 3 with the implementation of two competitions to the schedule.
“The past two years, this was a student body club,” Schnepp said. “There is a difference between the sport and training, and because this is a club sports team. We decided to go down the sports road. We have two competitions scheduled this season, but that number will grow every year, and eventually we will compete head-to-head with other schools.”
The CrossFit Games is the ultimate destination for any aspiring athlete who desires to make a professional career out of the fairly new sport. To qualify for the Games next summer and have a chance at earning a $285,000 first place prize, one must first compete in the Open and Regional competitions.
“The first step to reaching the Games is qualifying in the Open, which is where we are competing in February,” Schnepp said. “The top five advances to the Regionals and the top five from there qualify to go to the Games. We want to get to a point where GCU is able to send the team to compete in the Games, and that’s where we are heading.”
The growth in participants, sponsors and prize money proves that CrossFit has every necessary ingredient to continue growing into a household sport. What the sport can also do goes far beyond any monetary value, and can be easily identified when looking at the relationship shared between Senechal and Schnepp.
“I met Josh in the gym randomly one day, and I just so happened to be starting out with CrossFit at the time,” Senechal said. “I asked him if he wanted to train with me, and we just started doing it every day together. CrossFit is the glue of our relationship. It develops such a strong community for everyone who is involved. We are all there for each other because it is hard but extremely rewarding.”
Even though both coaches are currently both GCU students, their vision for where the program is headed extends far beyond their graduation date.
“The sport is going to sell itself and continue to grow,” Schnepp said. “A team who is already growing can be one of the top programs in the nation as more schools get teams. Schools like Penn State, the University of Oregon and Arizona Christian all have teams. It’s only a matter of time before everyone does.”
The current unofficial roster consists of 200 students, and with only one month away from official rosters being set, the program may very well stay close to that number of athletes competing.
To learn more about CrossFit club at Grand Canyon University and how to join, you can attend the information meeting on Sept. 14 at 7 pm in Room 6-104.