June’s Athlete Spotlight is Bridget Dunnivan

Welcome to our Athlete Spotlight! Each month we highlight a dedicated member of our gym so you can get to know them a little better!

June’s Athlete Spotlight is Bridget Dunnivan!


What is your favorite song at the moment?

I’m not a big favorite song person but I’m really liking songs from Chainsmokers like Don’t Let Me Down and Closer.

What did you want to be when you were 10 years old?

I remember answering “I want to be a Physical Therapist when I grow up” whenever grown ups asked me. But I also remember not really knowing what it means and it just sounds cool to me :).  I also remember wanting to be a scientist.  In all honesty, I don’t really know what I want to be and makes me jealous of kids who sounded so put together and confident on what they wanted to be :).

What would your favorite breakfast be?

My favorite breakfast is buttery croissant with jelly, super crispy bacon, and eggs, OR just a warm buttery croissant is heavenly for me. On our trip to France, I told everybody eating a buttery croissant will be the very first agenda as soon as I get there and so I did – 4 buttery croissants to be exact.  

What would you perfect WOD be? All of your strengths, none of your weaknesses.

Box jumps, thrusters, and TTB

This question has two parts: You have told me before that when you first started working out at NRCF you thought I didn’t like you. I have a feeling you may not be alone in this thinking. 😉 Why did you think that? And then what happened that made you realize that wasn’t the case?

Personally, I think it was because you were super serious when you are correcting my movements 🙂 I changed my mind when you were so helpful and patient with me when I was learning how to do handstand pushups, and when you were super proud and excited for me when I was able to do pull ups :).

Bridget, I absolutely love having you as one of our members of NRCF! I’ve loved getting to know you, coach you, and see you accomplish some of your many goals. You’re always so kind to our new members and so much fun in class. Thank you so much for being a part of our little family!

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May’s Athlete Spotlight is Alex Laube

Welcome to our Athlete Spotlight! Each month we highlight a dedicated member of our gym so you can get to know them a little better!

April’s Athlete Spotlight is Alex Laube!


What is your favorite current song?

Favorite current(ish) song –  Empire by Of Monsters and Men

What is your favorite childhood movie?

The Mighty Ducks. I watched this movie on repeat every time I stayed home from school sick. It’s an absolute classic. Ducks Fly together!

What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

Advice for my 20-year-old self. To loose the distractions and the social noise that you think make you happy and focus on self-improvement. That your priorities dictate your outcomes so figure out what you actually want out of life and focus your time effort and energy on those things that matter most like health, family and your career. Finally that it’s ok to struggle but it’s not ok to let your struggle affect your effort.

I know I sound like a self-help book but these are lessons I learned the hard way between 20-26 That have helped me accomplish a lot of goals since then. 

What would be your wheelhouse workout? All of your strengths and none of your weaknesses?

First, there wouldn’t be a barbell in site. 🙂  It would be something long with rowing, running and double unders. Like the triple 3 from the 2014 games. No rounds to count, just set a pace and keep moving.

Tell us about your awesome, new, amazing, life-changing, wowzers, holy-cow-I’ve-been-working-so-hard-for-this-it’s-about-dang-time, journey that you’re about to embark alongside with Brittany?

In May I begin the 3-year Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program at East Carolina University. It’s a fantastic PT program and I feel very fortunate to have been chosen for enrollment. I’m glad you mentioned Brittany because this would never have happened without her! Over the last three years, she’s supported me through 36 hours of prerequisites, 200 hours of shadowing at various PT clinics, 2 rounds of the GRE and more admissions forms/essays than I can count. I’m also incredibly grateful to the NRCF community, especially you and the other coaches, for helping me maintain my sanity during this endeavor and can’t describe my excitement for the adventure that awaits in Greenville! 

Alex, It has been so great having you be a part of the NRCF family. Your positive personality and laugh will leave a big void in our gym! You will be missed so much, but we are so excited for you. You’ve worked so hard for this day and it’s finally here! Hugs and many kisses!!

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March’s Athlete Spotlight

Welcome to our Athlete Spotlight! Each month we highlight a dedicated member of our gym so you can get to know them a little better!

March’s Athlete Spotlight is Jamie McCuiston


How and when did you get started with us?

I started in February 2016 because I wanted to run the Tough Mudder and the Spartan Races.  I knew I could run that far but the obstacles posed a problem for me.  I knew I needed to be stronger and to gain more confidence in order to even sign up for one.  I had heard of CrossFit and had spoken to the coaches at another CrossFit gym and had even gone to a free introductory class but I just didn’t think it was the right fit for me but I did love the theory and knew that the right fit for me was out there.  So I started looking around at places close to RTP where I work and found NRCF.  The pictures and reviews looked great so, I bought the Groupon (In case I hated it…no commitment).  And I have been at every class I could since then.  I am so happy with my decision, I have met a super supportive group of people who even on a bad day will cheer you on to finish and encourage you after failure to keep trying.  I have learned so much and can’t wait to keep trying. 

What’s the best part about working out with your usual 11:30 am crew?

I think the best part of working out with my usual 11:30 am crew is the people.  We are mostly there on our lunch break, day off, or trying to fit a workout in before getting the kids.  This helps us to identify with one another’s daily routines.  We all have different strengths and weaknesses but are all super supportive of each other on good days and those occasional not so good days.  They are all so great at encouraging you to try something you aren’t so comfortable with because they know you can even when you don’t think you can and celebrate in your success when you do it.  I also love the break in the work day and the energy and positivity to go through the rest of my work day.  Thanks 11:30 you guys are great!!!

What does a day in the life of Jamie look like outside of the gym?

I have a pretty set routine every work day.  I get up every morning and make breakfast and pack my lunch and then make sure all of my animals are taken care of.  More on them later.  Then I head to work.  I am a scientist at an agribusiness company, so I guess I am a lab rat.  My brother says I punch holes in leaves all day, but in reality, we work on improving the food that we eat every day through biotechnology.  I love my job and take pride in seeing how we can improve our crops to help feed the world’s growing population.  I take a break in the middle of the day to join the 11:30 class.  At the end of the day, I head home to feed my animals and cook dinner.  Finally, I get some time to settle down and watch TV or head to bed.  Then up again the next day to do it all again.

Tell us about all of your animals.

I have a whole herd of animals that demand my attention every day. I am definitely a cat person.  This is proven with my 9 cats, Rowdy, Spitz, Daisy, Lulu, Tux, Little Kitty, Spottie, Midnight, and Diesel.  I wanted an orange tiger cat but what is the one color cat I do not own… an orange tiger cat.  But I wouldn’t trade any of mine for a different one.  I love dogs too, so I have 2 dogs, Baby and Bella.  And finally my newest addition, “The Girls” my 6 chickens; Minnie, Penny, Jenny, Bennie, Winnie, and Annie.  At least they provide me with “gifts” aka eggs every day.

If you could be anyone famous for one day – like body swipe type of deal – who would it be and why?

That is a tough question.  I am so bad at recognizing celebrities and knowing which movies/songs they are in, but I think I would like to be Carrie Underwood.  She is a beautiful woman who is super in shape and seems to have a great balance in her life, but I also love her dedication to animal rescues.  She supports a lot of animal shelters both monetarily and with her time volunteering to clean cages and to walk and play with the dogs and cats something I can’t do and expect them all not to go home with me.

Jamie, I am so proud of you and so happy that you are a part of our gym. You are one of the hardest workers I know. I am so proud of you. You have an great attitude, outstanding work ethic, and are always such a joy to be around. Thank you for being one of our members!

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February’s Athlete Spotlight

Welcome to our Athlete Spotlight! Each month we highlight a dedicated member of our gym so you can get to know them a little better!

February’s Athlete Spotlight is Cory Smyer


What is the wallpaper on your phone right now?

It’s a picture of Aubie, Auburn’s mascot.  I went to NC State, but grew up in Alabama.  My dad is a 3rd generation Auburn graduate so I’ve been an Auburn fan since birth.  War Eagle!

What is the first CD you ever bought?

Do people actually remember this?  I do remember having a greatest hits of Jimi Hendrix CD when I was young.  It was probably that.  “Experience Hendrix”.  My Dad, older brother, and older sister are music lovers so I was brought up on stuff like Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and The Beatles.  The good stuff.

What is your most favorite meal ever?

There’s no way I could really decide a single favorite.  I love food too much.  Vin Rouge in Durham has definitely provided one of my favorites though.  French Onion Soup and some raw oysters for an appetizer.  For entree, Steak Frites with Bearnaise and a side of their mac and cheese.  I’m going there for my birthday next weekend and will probably need a wheelchair to get out.

What would your perfect WOD be? All of your strengths and none of your weaknesses.

Probably something with TTB, Double Unders, and a small amount of ring muscle-ups.  50 DUs, 10 TTB, 3 MUs.  3 Rounds.  Still, Jonathan would beat me and my shoulders would fall off.

Who is your favorite person to “compete” with/against at NRCF and why?

For 364 days of the year, it’s Ashley Denton.  If she doesn’t do the WOD, I win. Then, there’s that one day a year when she does the WOD and finishes in half my time.  That’s frustrating.

Cory, we love having you as a member of our gym and as part of our crazy little family. You’re always a lot of fun, easy to coach, and very welcoming to the new folks. Thank you for being one of our people!


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January’s Athlete Spotlight

Welcome to our Athlete Spotlight! Each month we highlight a dedicated member of our gym so you can get to know them a little better!

January’s Athlete Spotlight is Mika Cantrell

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

Superpower:  Teleportation!  This is partly because I love to travel and visit new places, partly because we just finished the 16+ hour car ride home from visiting family last week.   Just think of being able to “pop over” to Hawaii for the day …

What did you want to be when you were 10 years old?

When I was 10 years old I loved anything horses or related to horses.  I wanted to be a combination jockey/trainer/stable owner.  I should have realized that would be a problem when at 10 years old I already outweighed most pro jockeys.

If we could play a victory song for being our Athlete Spotlight what would it be?

I don’t know that I like enough “uplifting” songs to have a victory song … when I am unenthused about 6:15, I play Drones in the Valley by Cage the Elephant to wake up some.   But … When we moved to Raleigh 20 (!?!) years ago, I worked at the Mad Hatter Bakery in Durham and our accountant crowned me The Whitest Woman in America to Superfreak.  So maybe that’s been my victory song all along. 🙂

When did you first start working out at NRCF?

July 2014.   I joined because I felt like my middle age years were starting with not much potential.  3 out of 4 of my grandparents lived past the age of 90, so I decided I wanted to be as healthy as I can be when I get there.   My Grandmere celebrated 100 in August … it’s good motivation. 

What have you learned about yourself since starting Bootcamp?

That group fitness doesn’t have to be awful.  Everyone was super nice and encouraging and Jonathan was neither too-hyper-puppy nor “oh-you-just-started, I’ll-ignore-you-till-you-get-better.”  I never thought of myself as an athletic person, so it was cool to learn these new skills and change my mental image of myself.   

Mika, we appreciate your hard work and your consistency in our Bootcamp at NRCF. It’s been great seeing your smiling face each week! We are thankful to have you as a member!

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December’s Athlete Spotlight

Welcome to our Athlete Spotlight! Each month we highlight a dedicated member of our gym so you can get to know them a little better!

December’s Athlete Spotlight is Ryan Kretchmer!

ryanWhat would your autobiography be titled?

Hmmm, I would have to title it, “Stumbling About: My Life, Times, and Thoughts”.

What’s the last thing you searched for on Google?

“Sarcastic Workplace Wallpapers”

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

Well, I am not sure “Magic” would count so I would have to go with Telekinesis probably.

Sorry, but I just have to add that that makes me think of, “It’s not magic, Michael. It’s an illusion.”

If you could pick a workout with all of your favorite movements and lifts, what would that workout be like?

I like simple things that you can go all out on, so it would probably look like the below:

10 Back Squats @ 95#
10 Box Jump Overs
10 Deadlifts @ 225#
200m Sprint (as in not jogging)

When did you begin working out at NRCF? And was it magic at first workout or what?

I began 3 years ago in the spring, about two weeks after I moved to Raleigh from New York. I would say that it was love at first workout because the people were great, it was casual, and the workouts actually made you feel as if you were pushing yourself.

The only bad part was it was HSPU and I had never done a handstand before, so I got up and immediately fell onto my neck lol. I am pretty sure Ashley laughed at that too…

And duh. Yes. I laughed. 😉

Thank you, Ryan for being such an integral part of our gym! We are very thankful to have you as part of our crazy family at NRCF. 5:00 class isn’t the same when you’re not there! 🙂

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November’s Athlete Spotlight is Becca Kwiatkowski

Welcome to our Athlete Spotlight! Each month we highlight a dedicated member of our gym so you can get to know them a little better!

November’s Athlete Spotlight is Becca Kwiatkowski!

If you were stranded on an island and could only bring three things, what would you bring?

I would bring an airplane, an airplane pilot, and jet fuel…and I would leave that little vaca spot before I got sunburn.

What is the last thing you searched for on Google?

The last thing I searched for on google was “last minute Halloween costumes” … Google’s idea of “last minute” is entirely different than mine. I really mean last minute.. Google thinks last minute means you still have a day to gather props and whatnot for your costume…

What is your favorite childhood movie?

Over the Top.

What has been the best part about competing in CrossFit competitions?

The adrenaline rush.  It’s amazing what adrenaline will do for your PR :)… and working with someone who is working just as hard for you, as you are for them.  When in a competition, especially with that awesome partner, (ahem .. Jess) I want nothing more than to give it my all. That drive added to a big adrenaline rush pushes me to a different level. I think of nothing but to, go hard, and finish strong. It’s hard to keep that state of mind on just an average day. 1Corinthians 9:24-27 is a verse that helps me to keep things in perspective, and encourages me always “give it my all”.

What inspired you to walk through our doors for the first time?

I really just wanted a workout that was different and kept me interested. The regular gym/workouts never cut it for me. Kate encouraged me to join and the rest is history! I really never expected for this gym to become such a huge part of my life. I love the friends I have made at this gym, the strengths and confidence I have gained, and the challenges that I continue to face every day simply help to shape my character. Thank you NRCF and all of the coaches for being such an amazing team!

Becca, thank you so much for being such an awesome member! We love having you around our gym. Your smile, laugh, and hard work are contagious! Our gym is a better place because you’re a part of it!

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