July Athlete of the Month: Jason Gulak

Congratulations to Rising’s July athlete of the month, Jason Gulak!  Jason started his Crossfit career in April of this year. His consistency and effort caught the attention of the coaching staff and we are excited to honor him this month.  Get to know him a little bit better by checking out his story below!

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Rising May Athlete of the Month: Kristine Golden

Congrats are in order for Rising’s May athlete of the month, Kristine Golden.  New to Charlotte, this little powerhouse of an athlete has been impressive since this first day she set foot in the gym just a few months ago.  Check out her interesting story below!

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April Athletes of the Month: Steven and Kailey Zahurones

Congratulations are in order for not one, but two athletes as we celebrate Steven and Kailey Zahurones as Rising’s April Athletes of the Month! They have been consistent attenders of our evening classes since September of last year and have made some amazing progress.  Get to know them a bit better by checking out their story below.

Date you started crossfit:

Both: September 2017

Day job:
Steven: Digital Marketing ManagerKailey: Insurance Adjuster

Athletic/fitness background:

Steven: I played hockey in high school, and I have been into various different types of training throughout the years. I’ve gone through cycles focused on bodybuilding, powerlifting, racing, and endurance.

Kailey:  I grew up dancing (ballet, jazz, tap, modern) and earned a minor in dance in college.  I still find dance classes in the local area, and I enjoy Pilates and yoga in my free time.

What made you decide to start CrossFit?  

Steven: I was looking for something that would combine everything I loved about fitness. I would always get bored with my other training methods. I also wanted an element of competition on a daily basis. And, I can’t leave out, we wanted something we could do together as a couple.

Kailey:  Steven and I had previously joined a UFC gym nearby so we could workout together, but then it closed. We realized Rising was nearby so we thought we would try CrossFit!

Something that we don’t know about you is…:

Steven: I used to be a professional wrestler. WWE style, but I only did it for local independents in the Wisconsin region. Jon “The Franchise” Stevens.

Kailey:  I’m a leap year baby! I will be forever young because my birthday is every four years.

Favorite quote:

Steven: “I’m going to have hamburger helper and wine coolers” – Dan Garten on what he is having for dinner most nights

Kailey:  “Gratitude is a celebration of love, just as love is the lived, ‘Yes,’ of joyful mutual belonging. Gratitude celebrates life with the joyful ‘Yes,’ and every knot of the great network in which everything is connected to everything.” ~ David Steindl-Rast

Hobbies/interests outside the gym:

Steven: Video games, comics, manga, playing with my dog.

Kailey:   If I’m not at CrossFit, I may be in a yoga or Pilates class. I also enjoy walking my dog Yugi and playing disc golf with Steven.

Favorite CrossFit movement:

Steven: Burpee.

Kailey: Burpee.

Least favorite CrossFit movement:

Steven: Med ball cleans.
Kailey:  Med ball cleans. Answers not coordinated. 😉

What do you love most about CrossFit?

Steven: The community and competitive feeling.

Kailey:   I love the community and the coaching staff.  Everyone truly cares about each other doing the best of their ability. I enjoy how each workout can be scaled to the individual and there is always opportunity to grow.  It’s the teamwork and comradery that keeps me coming back.

What is your biggest challenge with CrossFit?

Steven: Getting sweat in my eyes.

Kailey:  Med ball cleans.


February Athlete of the Month: Steph Leigh

Congratulations to Rising’s February Athlete of the Month, Steph Leigh!  She  impressed as a member of the second place team at the Rising Games and she pretty much has been killing it at the gym all month long.  Get to know her better by checking out her story below!


Date you started Crossfit: January ’17

Day job: regional office manager

Athletic/fitness background: cheerleader 12 years

What made you decide to start CrossFit? Something to replace cheerleading and being competitive.

Something that we don’t know about you is…: I want to open my own clothing business

Favorite quote: Do or do not, there is no try.

Hobbies/interests outside the gym: monogramming 🙂

Favorite CrossFit movement:  power cleans

Least favorite CrossFit movement: SDLHP

What do you love most about CrossFit?  The intensity and different variations.

What is your biggest challenge with Crossfit? My biggest challenge would be running and gymnastics.


January Athlete of the Month: Crystal Phifer

Congratulations are in order for Rising’s January Athlete of the Month, Crystal Phifer!  Crystal has been consistently crossfitting, usually beside her bestie Mo Robinson, since Rising had its humble beginnings in a converted preschool classroom at the local YMCA way back in 2010.  She is convincing evidence that the process works…..that if you make a commitment to show up and work hard, you will see lasting results.  In the past few months, Crystal has recorded several new PRs and we are proud to celebrate her!  Check out her story below!

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November Athlete of the Month: Heather Gonzago

Congrats to Rising’s November Athlete of the Month, Heather Gonzago.  Heather recently returned to Rising after a break to train for some races and she has been killing it lately!  She is a consistently hard working athlete and we are so proud of her!  Check out her story below!

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October Athlete of the Month: Katie Caldwell

Congratulations to Rising’s October athlete of the month, Katie Caldwell. Katie joined Rising last year with her mom, Margaret.   Since those first few foundations classes,  Katie has been a regular in our 10:45 and noon classes and she always shows up ready to work hard….even when she tells me she hates the workout.  😉  Get to know a little bit more about her by checking out her story below.  

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September Athlete of the Month: Bruce Edwards

Congratulations are in order for one of Rising’s finest…..a member from the day this little engine-that-could affiliate opened its doors in a YMCA in 2010, Bruce Edwards has been the model of consistency and commitment we should all strive for with regard to our health.  A regular in our daytime classes, Bruce can daily be heard wishing everyone a heartfelt “good luck” as the 3-2-1 ticks down to go time. Get to know a little more about him by checking out his story below.  

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August Athlete of the Month: Mike Robinson

Congratulations are in order for Ardrey Kell high school student Mike Robinson as he claims the Rising athlete of the month title for the month of August.  Mike has been consistently attending classes at Rising for over a year and recently stepped up his game this summer.  Get to know a little bit more about this interesting young man by checking out his story below.  

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June Athlete of the Month: Jenn Kauffman

Congratulations are in order for Rising’s June athlete of the month, Jenn Kauffman! A dedicated attendee of our 7:30 am boot camp class, Jenn started CrossFit with our first New You Challenge Group in the fall of 2016.  After six grueling weeks of the challenge, she decided to become a full time Rising member and has been kicking butt ever since.  Get to know a little bit more about her story below! 

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