DENVER — In August, the NoBull CrossFit Games will seek to crown the world’s fittest men and women in Madison, Wisconsin.
The CrossFit Omnia Black Team based in Denver qualified for the games for the second straight year by winning their semi-final competition — the Atlas Games in Montreal, Quebec.
However, their energy this time around is very different, including a new teammate helping to keep the group young.
“He’s just really fun to be around — super positive energy,” Omnia Black member Cooper Wise said of newcomer Jacob Schmidt.
Some might say he was destined to be great at CrossFit.
“I went to my first CrossFit workout, and it was the worst thing ever,” said Schmidt, who now coaches at CrossFit Omnia along with competing professionally.
Getting his butt kicked in a workout isn’t great, but the drive to dust himself off and train harder is Schmidt’s secret weapon.
“He’s just a straight up hard worker,” says MaryKay Dreisilker, a fellow coach and member of Omnia Black. “I don’t know how he does it.”
“He’s the youngest one on the team, so he has all the energy and capacity to do everything,” said Elisa Schauer, the veteran of the group.
Despite being new to professional CrossFit competition, Schmidt’s growing into the vocal leader of Omnia Black.
“If you ask anyone who grew up with me, I was always the type of person to push people and try to make them do things that they never thought they could do,” Schmidt said. “Even though I’m the youngest and the newest person on the team, I feel like because I’m new, I can use that as an advantage to push them because they kind of have to be nice to me.”
“He’s pulling us on the rope when we’re running or he’s counting us down to get back into our sets,” Wise added. “He’s been a great addition to the team.”
However, simmering beneath the surface of that big smile and brimming confidence is doubt.
“There’s doubt all the time,” Schmidt said. “Days that aren’t good in the gym you’re like ‘OK, am I actually doing the right thing?’ All my other friends have careers and I’m working out every day for five hours.”
Schmidt isn’t alone. Schauer has loads of competition experience, and yet at the Games in 2021, imposter syndrome was hard to shake.
“There was that fear of like 'I’m going to get found out that I’m [at the CrossFit Games],'” Schauer said. “After being there, it just reaffirms that the work we’re putting in is worth it and it makes us ready to be there.”
The sport of CrossFit is about more than lifting heavy and running fast. To be great, athletes must find a way to silence the noise and eliminate doubt. Omnia does that through rigorous training and tenacious friendship.
“I’m very grateful for these people,” Dreisilker said. “To have a group of people that are all wanting the same thing and are doing the things that are necessary [to achieve those goals], I’d say that’s pretty special.”
They’re a special group with a special mindset ready to give it their all in Madison.
“At the end of the week, I just want to be like, ‘wow, I’m really proud of us.’ That’s my goal,” Dreisilker said.
But let’s be real, there are no participation trophies at the CrossFit Games.
“I want to win it,” Schmidt said. “We wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t want to win it.”
“We want to beat [all the other teams],” Wise added. “We’re not afraid of them. We want to beat them.”