M’CHIGEENG—Team Genetic Potential from Manitoulin Secondary School will participate in the Regional CrossFit Competition in Toronto from May 11 to 13 in Toronto. CrossFit is a core strength and conditioning program popular with fire, police and military personnel, as well as athletes worldwide.
In order to qualify for the competition, Manitoulin Secondary School had to place in the top 30 teams in Eastern Canada, which stretches from Ontario to Newfoundland. “This is significant because we are the first ever high school affiliate to qualify for a regional competition,” says Manitoulin Secondary School Principal Laurie Zahnow.
“There is a core of regulars who participate in the CrossFit training under the leadership of teacher Jon Balfe, but the opportunity for instruction in gymnastics, running and weightlifting is available to every student in our school,” she continued.
CrossFit involves constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity to optimize physical competence in 10 areas—cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy.
“The benefits of regular intense exercise are far reaching,” says teacher Jon Balfe. “There are direct physical, mental, social and emotional impacts. The increase in self-esteem and overall well-being contributes to student success.”
“The group dynamic that is not gender or grade specific creates a very unique atmosphere in our high school, with Grade 12 students working out alongside Grade 9 students,” the teacher added. “Students and staff are supporting each other.”
Grade 11 student Rachel Bondi and Grade 12 students Lucas Proulx and Phil Cress will participate in the CrossFit Regional Competition along with teachers Tina Balfe, Jon Balfe and Erin Rose. Lucas qualified for the individual competition, placing 40th in Eastern Canada. He was also 844th out of the 24,000 competitors in his division worldwide.
The Regional CrossFit Competition will include six intensive workouts over three days. “We are very excited to be the first high school affiliate to field a team at the regional level,” says Mr. Balfe. “We are training daily in preparation for the event.”
Last year, the CrossFit Regional Competition involved running, rowing, front squatting, over head pressing, overhead squatting, lunging, handstand push-ups, gymnastics work in the rings, pull ups, deadlifts, box jumps and burpees. “This year’s workouts will be released a few weeks before the competition,” he noted. “Until then, we train for the unknown and unknowable.”
The majority of the equipment used in training comes from private sources. Student participants supply a large portion, bringing in their own equipment for use by all members of the school affiliate.