This year we had the amazing opportunity to send SIX stunning women to compete for and represent California Strength at the 2016 National Championships in Salt Lake City, Utah. The lineup included a number of individual medalists and one lady in Olympic Trial portion of the meet! We came together as a team that weekend and learned so much, bringing our friendship closer than ever before.
Let’s Meet the Ladies!
Rita Benavidez (63kg)
79/99/178 for 15th place. Rita and I were old teammates at CrossFit San Leandro from 2011 - 2012. She was there when I first found Olympic weightlifting and was someone I truly admired. She competed for California Strength in her first Nationals Meet in 2014, also in Salt Lake City. This time around, she snatched a competition PR in a crazy stacked weight class. I look forward to watching her continue to crush weights in the future!
Michelle Giannino (48kg)
I met Michelle in 2012 at my first American Open while competing for California Strength. In 2015 we reconnected at the Arnold and have been BFF’s ever since. She started following Cal Strength women’s programming shortly after Nationals that year. Unfortunately, Michey did not make weight this year. It was a great learning experience for the entire team including our coaches. She will however be back to compete for us in Orlando, FL at the American Open!
Nicole Lim (48kg)
62/75/137 for 8th place. That’s me. This is my 4th Nationals representing Cal Strength. I’m just grateful to have the opportunity to compete alongside some of the fiercest athletes I’ve ever seen. I mean, 48 kilos of muscle, people! The 48kg weight class has been growing over the years and becoming more and more competitive since Morghan King arrived on the scene. Little dynamite sticks, I tell ya!
Jessica Phillips (75kg)
98/117/215 for 2nd place. Jessica joined the team shortly after the Russian Grand Prix, her first international competition. She was invited to the Olympic Trials session where she also took silver in the snatch! I have to add that Jess is a mom and also a multiple time CrossFit Game Team competitor. NBD.
Rachael Stull (69kg)
75/97/172 for 22nd place. Rachael has been Cal Strength family since the launch of The Barbell WOD. She’s been training hard with our brother Charlie Zamora at Warrior Z CrossFit. While this was her first USA National Meet, she had a great showing, going 4/6 in another stacked weight class.
Jordan Weichers (58kg)
80/112/192 for 3rd place. We met Jordan through Jason Starks, our badass 105+ old bull from Texas. We couldn’t resist her. When Jordan came to train at Cal Strength she had desire to win and an undeniable raw energy that spread across the entire team. Jordan took home silver in the Clean and Jerk while cleaning an American record attempt, but narrowly missing the jerk.
Rachel Bommicino (53kg / Assistant Event Coach)
Although Rachel did not compete, she was a huge help and team player at Nationals. She kept us calm in the back and was perfect with handling every tiny detail you could think of, from loading weights to keeping a steady supply of coffee coming. Rachel also puts up some heavy weight herself as a Master lifter.
We ended up taking home the Bronze, placing 3rd overall as a Women’s Team. What is even better than a trophy is that we had an absolute blast together. We arrived in Salt Lake as a strong team but left as an even stronger family. Family is one thing that California Strength takes the utmost pride in and this group of women continue to carry on that tradition.
A huge thank you to our amazing sponsors Caffeine and Kilos, Cytosport Monster Milk, and FITAID for helping us in this accomplishment. We would not be able to do this without you all!
P.S. The Cal Strength Women’s Team WILL NOT lose to the CS Men’s Team at the American Open… You heard it here first!
Written by Nicole “Littlest” Lim