Meet the winner of the Cascade online qualifier: Ehea Schuerch
If you live in the pacific northwest and you haven’t heard of Ehea Schuerch yet, it’s because she has only been doing CrossFit for a little over a year.
Her relative lack of CrossFit experience didn’t stop the talented 28-year-old former college basketball player from winning this year’s online qualifier against some top ladies who have been around a lot longer than a year. She also placed an impressive 49th in the 2017 CrossFit Open, with only 7 months of CrossFit experience under her belt at the time.
Schuerch, who was heavily into bodybuilding before CrossFit, took the time to answer some questions to reveal a bit more about who she is as a person and an athlete:
How do you balance training with your life?
By morning I am a CrossFitter, but by night I am a Corrections Officer. I work long hours every week. Most days, I am at work for 12 hours or more, which can make my work week anywhere from 52 to 60 hours. Finding time for training, sleep, recovery and anything else, on top of work, can be tough. Most of the time I sacrifice sleep to make my sessions. My Partner Theresa is my rock, and my support. She works hard and has taken on more of the domestic burdens to allow me to train.
What was your favorite event of the Cascade qualifier?
My favorite event would have to be event two: the lifting complex. Lifting heavy weights is my favorite. I was excited to test my strength at such a challenging complex. It was the two shoulder to overheads that drastically changed the lift for me.
Did you expect you could win?
To be honest, I didn't know what to expect. I'm still very new to CrossFit, and the competitions I have participated in all have been my firsts. Other than the World Police and Fire Games, (the Cascade Classic in October) will be my first big individual competition.
Goals for the competition in October?
My goal for the Cascade Classic is to compete maturely. Of course, I am going to go out there and give it everything I have, but more so I want to compete smart. Have a plan and work the plan. I want to use this competition to grow mentally. If I can learn to do this now, I know it will only benefit me exponentially in the long run. I hope by doing this I will land a spot on the podium.
Is your goal to qualify to Regionals next year? What are the biggest things you need to work on to get there, do you think?
I would love to earn a spot and compete as an individual at the 2018 West Regional. I decided to switch from a strict/heavy weight lifting style of working out to CrossFit purely because I missed competing. I missed getting to test my athleticism and strength. I came into CrossFit with the end goal always being to compete as an individual. I got a taste at this year’s Regionals with our team of what it would take to compete at that level. I will continue to grind to make this a reality. There are so many things that could use improvement!.Two things that I am trying to hit hard right now are my snatch and strict handstand push-ups. The snatch for me is really just about hitting the form hard and being more efficient in the movement.
What are your strengths and weaknesses as an athlete?
My strengths I think would have to be heavy weights and power. I love the fast, dirty, heavy, and odd object workouts. I used to be a sprinter and long jumper in track. Raw power and explosiveness were the most important ingredients in those events. After saying all that, I'm sure you could assume that the long-winded events are not my favorite. My main weakness coming into CrossFit was having to build up my engine. Since regionals this year I have been working super hard in this area.
What do you love about competing in CrossFit? What do you find most challenging?
I love that it allows me to test myself. That’s what is most intriguing for me. Competing has grown my mental resilience tremendously. It allows me to ask myself, 'What am I made of?' When push comes to shove, are the things I think I am made of true? Determination, hard work, relentlessness, resolve? What are my limits?
The most challenging thing in CrossFit I think is remembering there's a huge difference between training and competing. Daily, my focus should be hitting the training pieces to prepare for competition. It’s imperative that I keep my long-term goals in mind and don’t allow my competitive edge to be baited into a carrot. It’s not about winning but improving for another day.
I think the thing that I most love about CrossFit is that it loves diversity. Athletes are born in all different countries. They come in all different shapes, sizes, colors and lifestyles. In the end, none of that really matters. That's the beauty of fitness; it's unbiased to athletic ability.
Good luck in Seattle, Ehea!