Category: AOTM


March Athlete of the Month: Skyla DeSimone

By Suzie Lilakos,

“On November 11th of 2020, I walked into CF 128 with a couple of my friends after church. Coach Ryan was in the middle of locking up the gym doors for the day when my friends and I stopped and asked him some questions about the gym and when we could get started. As we were all talking I couldn’t help but observe the stack of plates, the barbells, the giant rig, and wall balls lined up on the back wall. I was immediately drawn in just from the environment that was presented to me. My first ever CrossFit session was with Coach Ryan and we were going over some movements that would show up in class. I felt confident in the dumbbell movements and having the barbell in my hands from the start. To wrap up the session we did an 8-minute workout with the assault bike and dumbbell thrusters…. Needless to say, I completely plateaued in that workout within the first 40 seconds and couldn’t even bring myself to get to the thrusters. 

Coming from an athletic background filled with martial arts, basketball, lacrosse, and sprinting, I’d never inherited the term “pacing” when it came to working out. Crossfit opened my eyes to the idea of gaining strategy and understanding my body along with its capacity; something I was so ignorant towards in high school sports and martial arts. Beyond working out and gaining so much knowledge about the technical aspects of Crossfit, I realized what really separated CrossFit(especially CrossFit 128) from every other sport I have ever been exposed to: community. As individualized workouts can be, everybody in class alongside you is doing the same workout, in the same amount of pain(maybe even more!), and we all encourage each other to push to the finish regardless of how many reps we do end up completing. 

I’ll never forget as we were preparing for the 2021 CrossFit Open, Coach Chris came up to me after I had done a couple of snatches and he rhetorically asked, “So you’re telling me you’ve never picked up a barbell or have never had any Crossfit experience before being here?” I just shrugged my shoulders and shook my head. In response, he smiled under his mask and said, “well whatever it is that you need, I’m here for you kid.” I was so taken back because out of all of the coaches I’ve had, the teams I’ve been a part of, no one has ever said that to me or anything related to it. It is because of Coach Chris that I’ve found the confidence to succeed in the sport of CrossFit and set such high goals for myself.  CrossFit 128 has shown me the true meaning of what family is, and how fitness brings people together(even at 6:15 in the morning). I’m beyond blessed to be a part of such a humbling, charismatic family. I thank all of the coaches and 6:15 members for their constant support. I’ve never felt so welcomed by a group of people and their dogs!”😁🍩🐶

February 2021 Athlete of the Month: Jyll DyHoyos

By Suzie Lilakos,

“I started going to the gym a few years ago to get into shape. I was going for about a year and a friend of mine asked if I would be interested in going to a boot camp with her on Saturday mornings. I said “yeah, I’ll go”. That was the start of my CrossFit journey. Although the boot camp was dumb bell based, high intensity movements, it was my first taste of CrossFit workouts. The warmup, strength, and then kick your butt wod! Lol I couldn’t get enough of it. Working cardio into the workout in a way that you’re not just focusing on ‘getting your cardio in’ on a treadmill or bike but putting movements together in such a way that it’s all included.

I started going to the other classes when I couldn’t get enough of the boot camp only being once a week. I was learning so much, seeing so many different results. I was absolutely loving it! I ended up going to the gym only 1-2 days a week and going to CrossFit the other 3-4 days of the week. Then “Coronavirus” graced us with it’s presence – things changed.

After about a month and a half into quarantine unfortunately the CrossFit gym had to close it’s doors. I was honestly devastated! But then someone told me about CrossFit 128. And that is the beginning of my journey with you. 🙂 I appreciate the focus on stretching and mobilization. All of the teaching on proper form has really helped me grow. I’m doing things that honestly scared the crap out of me before like barbell snatches and overhead squats! I can now do both of these movements without doubting myself.

I’ve always enjoyed pushing myself, my own abilities. But having coaches that believe in me and also push me only makes it better. This includes the original coaches I had that will always hold a special place in my heart and the new coaches that have taught me so much. I have goals and am meeting them one by one. I truly believe that if someone enjoys the fitness that they are doing then the sky is the limit!

Thank you CrossFit 128 and all of your coaches. I appreciate you all!”
Jyll (the thrill) 😂🤪

January Athlete of the Month: Derrick Rockosi

By Suzie Lilakos,

“First off it’s an honor to have my name associated in any context with the word “Athlete”. At the beginning of the year I had just left a terribly stressful job that caused me excruciating anxiety, terrible diet and sleep, and lack of exercise.  As I started to get back into a fitness routine, COVID hit leaving me looking for more ways to exercise at home. I kept coming across CrossFit workouts and liked how the routines would constantly change and how challenging they were.  Since our family put a hold on our old gym membership I decided to explore joining a CrossFit box in the area.  

I reached out to Suzie at CrossFit128 and after my initial sessions with Ryan (and learning that I’ve never done a push up correctly in my entire life) I was drawn into CrossFit128. Immediately felt the difference having great coaching and a supportive community of athletes & friends had on my performance and well being.”

I’d like to thank all of the coaches, (Chris, Suzie, Jon, Kevin & Ryan) for their training and answers to my annoying questions, and everyone in the morning crew for making me feel welcome to this awesome community.  I look forward to pushing, sweating, and seeing everyone achieve their 2021 goals as the CrossFit Open comes around the corner.  So here’s to the backroom book club and a great 2021! (90’s RB forever!) 

December 2020 Athlete of the Month: Nate Johnson

By Suzie Lilakos,

“I am truly honored to be selected as the athlete of the month for December. I would first like to thank all of the coaches and the entire Crossfit 128 community, especially Chris, Suzie, and the rest of the 5 am morning crew for making me feel at home so quickly. 2020 obviously was not a great year for anyone but joining 128 was a bright spot for me amidst everything else.

I started 2020 looking forward to finishing my senior year at Amherst, and my last season on the crew team. Unfortunately, my season was derailed early due to injuries. Just as I was getting healthy again our campus shut down and everyone was sent home. Like most other people my age, I moved back in with my parents and lost almost all motivation to stay fit. I was burnt out beyond belief after four years and couldn’t bring myself to hop on the erg knowing I wouldn’t be back with my teammates any time soon. I knew that what I was really missing was a community to keep me accountable and motivated. I had followed Crossfit for a little while and knew some friends who really enjoyed it.

In August I finally decided to reach out to a few of the boxes in the area. It just so happened that Ryan emailed me back first to set up a first consult. I showed up a bit nervous, knowing that I was out of shape and unsure of what I was getting myself into, but after just a few minutes I could tell that I was going to love it. I stayed for my first endurance class and almost killed myself, but I couldn’t wait to get back the next day. 

I can’t say enough about what the community at 128 has meant to me over the last few months. I have grown so much thanks to the support everyone else crazy enough to try slog through open workouts and max back squats at 5 am, and especially Chris, who saw me doing some mobility in the corner one morning and asked me how hard I wanted to push myself and where I wanted to go. I still don’t know exactly, but I’m positive I’ll be supported and challenged every step of the way. 

All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end 2020, and here’s to 2021!”

November Athlete of the Month: Ashley Slattery

By Suzie Lilakos,

“I have been going to Crossfit128 since July 2016. (That’s right took 4 years but I’m athlete of the month!!!).

I wouldn’t say I was the most consistent athlete during that time but during the lockdown I realized how much I missed and took for granted going to an organized class everyday. Since the reopening I made it my goal to make fitness my priority and try to get to the gym as much as possible to chip away at the “committed club”, in an attempt to make the whole year!

Each class is different, each coach has his/her own vibe and the community is unmatched. Thank you to all the coaches for keeping the gym clean, organized and as close to “normal” as possible. These last few months have been tough on everyone, your hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed. And thanks to the members for making 128 more than just a gym!”

October Athlete of the Month: Kevin Petrosino

By Suzie Lilakos,

***Kevin Petrosino***

One day last week, Coach Chris asked me to demonstrate one of the warmup moves and said you need to be able to do that to be an athlete of the month. The “light didn’t go on” at first, I just did not want to screw up the demonstration in front of the rest of the class.  I did not know that after class, Coach Suzie was going to tell me that I am the Athlete of the Month for October 2020.  My first reaction was that there are a lot of hard-working members here not only at the class (6:30 am) I attend, but the entire membership at this Box. I turned to Coach Chris and said that had I known this was coming after class I would have done a much better demonstration of the move earlier.

Ever since I walked into a CrossFit Box a few years ago, I knew this is something I wanted to do and be a part of. Olympic weightlifting and Cardio are a great combination. After a few classes, I was hooked, mostly because I always give 100% of whatever I do and want to constantly learn and improve all that I do. 

Earlier this year, due to the Pandemic, the previous CrossFit Box I worked out at decided to close for good and I did not know what my next move was going to be. I would like to thank Brian Trippe (former member of my old CrossFit Box) who suggested to check things out here at 128. Brian had mentioned that several other members were already here, which would make it easy for a smooth transition.  In late June, I made arrangements for an appointment, met Coach Ryan and Coach Suzie and did the paperwork right away.  I could not wait to take my first class in early July, which happened to be with Coach Kevin.

One of the first impressions I got right from the first class and Coach Kevin was the “focus and positive reinforcement on technique” of whatever movement was being done in the class.  I have always tried to get “the form” correct and then figured “the weight” would follow.  I have learned so much proper form and techniques from ALL the coaches (Suzie, Chris, Ryan, Kevin and Jon) in the short time I have been a member here and am quite confident that will continue to increase.

I would also like to thank and acknowledge the welcoming feeling that the membership has been here as well, what a great bunch of athletes, which makes it so easy to come to class.  Thank you.

I very much appreciate the recognition of the efforts I put into class but am also humbled by it.  It is also a great motivator to continue to work hard and improve.  Now will I ever get Dubs, that’s another story!  

Thank you to ALL the Coaches!

August Athlete of the Month: Tanya Markos

By Suzie Lilakos,

“I’d like to start out by giving a big thank you to Coach Ryan for helping me to achieve “Athlete of the Month”. I have been working on building a strong foundation on things like lifting mechanics and core work. Through working with Ryan, I found that I love learning about barbell movements and continuously trying to improve. Although I’m still working on stringing them together, I can officially do “dubs”!

As someone who was pretty sedentary after college, I’m really proud of myself for how active I have become and the love I’ve developed for this sport. It’s really exciting to wake up in the morning and actually want to go to the gym. I also just want to say how much I appreciate being a part of such a special community. The members and coaches are always helping me to push myself that extra distance. We have an incredibly supportive and encouraging community and I love that about 128.”

July Athlete of the Month: Tyler Gauthier

By Suzie Lilakos,

“If you asked me 5 years ago if I’d be a regular member of a CrossFit gym, I would have told you you were crazy. I never expected CrossFit to be something that I have grown to enjoy and rely on as an outlet. 


As a high school, college and then professional baseball player, my exercise routine was always focused on being a stronger, faster, more versatile pitcher. It kept me in shape, but when that chapter of my life ended- I hadn’t found the next thing to keep me motivated and challenged to keep physically and mentally strong.


The lifestyle switch from coaching college baseball to sitting behind a desk quickly caught me off guard- and I found myself lacking energy despite too many cups of coffee a day and lost without the commraderie of being part of a team environment. 


My brother in law, Kevin, got me to try CrossFit 128 almost two years ago and even though I couldn’t walk for 2 weeks, I knew I’d be back for more. I have some work to put in to get back to my playing days body…but I feel up for that challenge thanks to the team atmosphere at CrossFit 128. Some days when the workout gets hard someone is always there to pick you up, and I am always motivated by the people in the gym with me. Most days I mentally take note of one or two people to challenge myself, and I can always count on others to push themselves so that I can do the same. Plus my wife says I’m less grumpy, especially after a solid gym ass kicking.


Thank you CrossFit 128 Fam! #LegDay

May Athlete of the Month: Debbie Simpson

By Suzie Lilakos,

So I received an e-mail from Suzie telling me that I have been picked as athlete of the month.  How could I possibly write about myself being an athlete, I by far would never consider myself and athlete just an older woman trying to stay healthy. I first heard about CrossFit through my oldest daughter she took me to one of her classes, but I was not ready to join at that time a little scary for me.

I have never participated in any sports growing up, but I have always exercised, minor stuff, mostly exercise video’s, being a single mother at the time with two small children I didn’t have the time or money to go to a gym so I used good old (Jane Fonda) exercise video’s. “Showing my age with this one”. Once my two oldest children grew up and moved out and my youngest daughter got her license and started driving I found that I wasn’t a momma taxi anymore and had a lot of free time on my hand’s.  I’m sure all you young mother’s can relate to this or will relate to it soon.  

A friend of mine asked me to join Title Boxing so I did, I lost 15lbs and kept it off, I met so many nice people at Title and loved being a part of a gym where you felt like family. I still keep in touch with many of them.  After five years of boxing I wanted more of a workout that incorporated weights so I bought a two month groupon for Crossfit at a very good price close to my house.  Long story short, I fell in love with CrossFit and had to make a choice between boxing or CrossFit even though I loved boxing I just loved CrossFit, the workout is never the same, I found I never got bored, let’s face it belonging to two gyms becomes expensive fast.

So my Crossfit journey began at a prominently all Female gym, everyone was still younger than me, but some were slowly creeping into their 50’s with aches and pains that come along with the ageing process.  I was quite happy there and met so many wonderful women. I participated in the CrossFit games and every year when I went to visit my daughter in St. Thomas I would dropped in on her gym, two years in a row I did an open workout in St. Thomas how cool is that and hit a PR’d for the first time. 

As time goes by the owner of my gym gives us the news that she is moving her gym to a location that just wasn’t convenient for me.  This is what lead me to CrossFit 128, Deena offered to have a bunch of us drop in to take a class, 128 was so close to my house I was siked. People were working out on the rig outside which I thought was cool it gave me the feeling like I was dropping in at my daughters gym in St. Thomas without the Caribbean effect, but awesome just the same.  After that I dragged my youngest daughter  to come to an evening class at 128 with me because I was to nervous to go alone. She is also into Crossfit it runs in the family, they finally got me to drink the cool-aid as many say.

Suzie was offering a summer deal so I took advantage of it.  The first few months at 128 was very intimidating for me there were way more men than women that I wasn’t use to as the women outnumbered the men at my old gym.  Everyone were all so strong and lifting some heavy weight. I was like what the heck are you thinking you are too old to be at this gym, its not the gym for you, but I was wrong all of coaching staff made me feel comfortable I love all of coaches at 128 everyone of them bring their own uniqueness to the gym.  I have learned things that I never did at my old gym, they are awesome at correcting my form and they just made me feel like I can do the workouts.  I cannot say enough about the coaches and the people at the gym

So now I am a 6:00 a.m. person and I come into class with the workout written down the night before on my trusty whiteboard because I can’t see the board from far away and I bring my special ab mat so I don’t get cuts from all the sit ups (lol did I say I was old)  I’m not going to lie I still get intimidated and nervous most of the times when a workout gets posted, and scared to death when Suzie’s post her killer Friday workouts.

I just wish more people my age would try Crossfit it really does change how your body feels, makes you so much stronger and you can pick heavy stuff up than most people my age.

I would like to end this with special shout out to Ryan and the 7 a.m. people in our zoom class, Chris with his weighted vested, Bill with his compliments, Lindsey with her sweetness, Irene for keeping us all accountable to show up for class, just to name a few it’s so much better working out with everyone of you and your children.  I know for me it has kept me sane through this pandemic. Suzie’s for your programming and your Saturday zoom classes I enjoy your family they as so fun.  I even participate in Ryan’s barbell classes something that I normally wouldn’t have done if it wasn’t for zoom. So thank you all! I’m glad I found CrossFit 128!    

April Athlete of the Month: Kristin Stewart

By Suzie Lilakos,

“I woke up this morning to a text message from Suzie saying I was the April athlete of the month and I almost started crying.  The world is such a crazy place right now and I think all of us are a little anxious, scared, and cooped-up.  When you can’t even see your community outside of zooms (which by the way, have been a major bright spot in my day the past few weeks), it feels like such an honor to be recognized.

I started Crossfit in 2013, the same year I got diagnosed with cancer.  I attribute a huge amount of getting my health (both mentally and physically) back to Crossfit.  Crossfit immediately gave me a sense of hope in my body.  I felt for a long time like my body had betrayed me; being sick felt really dark sometimes. 
I lost about 35 pounds from cancer, which I did not really have to lose in the first place.  My first Crossfit class I struggled to get out of the bottom of an air squat, I could not push-up from my knees, and I definitely couldn’t clean more than the PVC pipe.  But after my first on-ramp class I was hooked.  Crossfit gave me goals to strive for, took my mind off being sick, and made me feel like part of a community.  It also completely changed my body image. 
Like a lot of women, I had been really into the idea of being skinny.  As I started getting healthy, I started putting weight back on.  I needed to gain weight, but there was this part of my brain that raged against the idea of no longer being sickly thin.  Crossfit, and the women of Crossfit, was giving me a different standard of beauty.  I wanted to be able to DO things with my body.  I wanted to do pull-ups, and snatches, and things that I saw really strong girls doing.  As I got healthier and put on some more muscle, Crossfit kept challenging me.  I had never done something that always felt new and where the better I got, the harder the sport got.  Another life changing aspect of Crossfit: I met my now fiance, James, at a Crossfit gym.  I can’t imagine my life without him.
After 7 years of participating in this sport, and being a member of probably just as many gyms, I can safely say that Crossfit 128 is special.  Walking into a new gym is always a little scary.  When I joined 128 last year, everyone at immediately put me at ease.  The 6am and the 5pm groups both feel like family.  I feel so lucky to have found a place that challenges everyone to be their best selves, gives each of us the tools to reach all of our goals, and where the coaches truly care about each of us.  
For real though, if you haven’t been doing coach Ryan’s zoom classes during this quarantine, you’re missing out.  It is so incredibly comforting to see everyone’s smiling faces for a few minutes every day.  Sometimes, you even get glimpses of Suzie’s new puppy, Reese!  I have to admit I do not always feel motivated to workout after sitting at home all day.  But once I start moving, I feel so much better.  Knowing that the Crossfit 128 crew is still there to support each other during these trying times is really special, and I’m truly grateful.  I can’t wait to see all of you back in the gym, hopefully really soon. “

  Category: AOTM
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