University CrossFit athletes take podium spots at Fittest of the Sierra competition

Students share passion for health and fitness through CrossFit

Alex Baker, CrossFit coach and facility coordinator at the University of Nevada, Reno’s Lombardi Recreation Center, placed first in men’s division of the Fittest of the Sierras competition this summer. Three athletes from the University’s CrossFit gym placed in the competition.

7/25/2014 | By: Annie Conway  |

More than 100 athletes from across northern Nevada and northern California gathered together in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., to compete in the fifth annual Fittest of the Sierra competition. Three CrossFit athletes from the University of Nevada, Reno placed at the competition in June.

Sixteen athletes from the Lombardi Recreation Center competed in the summer competition. University CrossFit athletes Alex Baker placed first in the men's division, Will Dermondy placed third in the men's division and Megan Halvorson placed third in the women's competition. Baker, Dermondy and Halvorson all are Lombardi employees and coach in the CrossFit program on campus.

"It is pretty amazing that 50 percent of the podium spots went to a single gym," Jim Fitzsimmons, the director of Campus Recreation and Wellness at the University and one of the Fittest of the Sierra participants, said. "What is more telling was the sheer number of University of Nevada, Reno CrossFitters who made up the final qualifying work out." 

Fittest of the Sierras 2014

CrossFit 3

University athletes Alex Baker, first place, and Will Dermondy third place, receiving their awards for the men's division.


Jim Fitzsimmons, the director of Campus Recreation and Wellness at Lombardi, getting ready on the thruster ladder.


Megan Halvorson, Lombardi employee and CrossFit coach, receiving her award for third place in the women's division.


Megan Halvorson on the thruster ladder at the summer Fittest of the Sierras.

Only the top-ten competitors in each division qualified for the final WODs, workout of the day. During the course of two days, they completed five WODs, with competitions ranging from wall balls to lifting a variety of weights on the thruster ladder.

"The Fittest of Sierras was an amazing experience," Baker said. "This was my second time competing in the competition and I cannot describe how the community supports everyone who is affiliated with Crossfit. The support from the University CrossFitters is amazing."

Baker began participating in CrossFit when he came to the University in 2009. Eventually, he started working at Lombardi and earned his certification to be a CrossFit instructor. He has been coaching at Lombardi for about three years and said he enjoys being able to share his passion for fitness and wellbeing with other students. He was recently hired as the Facility Coordinator at Lombardi.

"The best part about coaching at Lombardi is that I get to help others improve on their health and wellness," Baker said. "I am surrounded every day with people who have the same aspirations as me."

Halvorson recently graduated with a degree from Community Health Sciences and is an employee and CrossFit coach at Lombardi.

"Working at Lombardi has given me so many wonderful opportunities, such as coaching," Halvorson said.  CrossFit has become part of my lifestyle. It has made me a better person and has made me more driven and hard-working."

According to Fitzsimmons, the University's CrossFit program is the first and largest university-affiliate CrossFit program in the country. The program was recognized in a feature article by the American College of Sports Medicine and offers 14 CrossFit drop-in classes each week. More than 174,000 people have gone through the CrossFit program with classes ranging from the women's CrossFit Pink classes, beginning Cub Corp classes along with regular CrossFit classes. As CrossFit continues to grow, the University will continue to expand CrossFit and Campus Recreation and Wellness programs with the building of the E. L. Wiegand Fitness Center scheduled to open in 2017.

Learn more about the University's CrossFit program here.


For more news on the University of Nevada, Reno, follow @unevadareno on Twitter.

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