December’s Extraordinary Athletes – Our Awesome Coaches!

That’s right! This year for one of our most thankful months of the year we want to highlight our awesome coaches. They do so much for us and for all of you – and best of all they do it because they LOVE it! So here is some info on the crazy CrossFitters!

Lara Norton has been with us the longest. She came from coaching at a couple of other CrossFit gyms and she has a long history and background in gymnastics and Olympic lifting. Lara is the single mom to her beautiful daughter, Lilly, and two adorable dogs and several cats, all of whom you may have seen at the gym (except for the cats). Lara is somewhat shy and quiet, but she knows her stuff like nobody else! You may see her standing at the back of the room giving you “the eye” because she spotted a movement issue. What everybody loves about Lara is that she is always back there worrying about you and doing everything she can to make you feel good and not get hurt. Lara knows that strong is great, but feeling good is better! Lara teaches Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings and Saturday morning at 9am she has a movement class that focuses on the details!

 

 

Austin Cantwell, was our next coach at CrossFit Odyssey and he teaches our Teens classes. Austin is a L1 Certified Crossfit Coach and has been involved in Crossfit for just over four years. He enjoys being in the gym as often as possible but also spends time running and still playing sports at any opportunity he can find. Austin is a transplant Texan by way of Albuquerque, NM where he grew up with two younger brothers and competed in three sports. Austin then headed to college in Abilene, TX continuing his baseball obsession and skillset while graduating with two business degrees. His athletic passion then led him to Nashville, TN where he worked with a branding and design firm specializing in collegiate and professional athletic facilities. After a stop in California and again in New Mexico Austin has been in Dallas since 2013 and locked in his Texan residency when he married a Dallas girl, Meredith “MC”, and moved just up the road from the gym. Austin has coached middle and high school lacrosse, baseball, and football and doesn’t miss an opportunity to watch the Texas Longhorns or the New York Yankees. Austin’s full time job is as the Area Director of North Dallas for Young Life – a Christian group that introduces adolescents to Christianity and helps them develop their faith.

Austin’s Crossfit Coaching Goal: I want athletes of all ages to believe that they are capable of far more than they think and that fitness and healthy living is for everyone and not something to be intimidated by.

CrossFitAccomplishments:

  1. Multiple years of competing in The Crossfit Open – “never want to, always do it, never regret it
  2. Generations Crossfit Competition with other Odyssey Coaches – I didnt cost us 1st place but I didnt earn us 1st place either
  3. Rowed a Marathon for my 29th birthday on an erg – “two words: bubble wrap”
  4. Coaxed 7 of our 10 immediate family members to come to a Crossfit Odyssey class – “we’ll see if they ever come back
Meredith Cantwell, Austin’s beautiful wife, teaches our Tigers class – a funfilled basics class for kids age 3-5. I promise you have never seen anything cuter! Meredith grew up right here in Dallas and graduated from The Hockaday School and The University of Texas at Austin. She first came to CrossFit Odyssey after Austin Cantwell (the Teens Coach) proposed in 2017, and has grown to love CrossFit ever since! She has competed in the past two Opens and takes as many classes as she’s able to. She has always had a passion for leading younger children, which led her to work at a Texas summer camp for 4 years called Pine Cove and serve Hockaday High School students through a ministry called Young Life. She previously taught Barre classes for two years and has enjoyed the opportunity to apply her coaching skills to a younger generation through the CrossFit Tigers class. She helps develop learning and listening skills while growing an awareness of body movement and fine motor skills in her students. These classes include games, challenges, and functional movements to keep the kids engaged and having fun. Meredith’s full time job is Head of Creative Marketing with Hari Mari – the Flip Flop company!
Campbell Lillard was our next coach and most of you know his story, as CrossFit and fitness literally saved his life and helped him leave a life of drugs. Campbell started pursuing a coaching career in prison where he served 10 years. As a recovering heroin addict, he feels that it is our struggles that define us and our scars that make us strong. Campbell made the incredibly difficult decision to change his story for the better and become the guy who not only overcomes and succeeds, but helps others overcome and succeed as well.

After his release from prison and his start at CrossFit Odyssey, Campbell did everything he could do to improve his knowledge and understanding of fitness. His Certifications include CrossFit L1 and L2, CrossFit Gymnastics, CrossFit Adaptive Athlete, CrossFit Strongman, and CrossFit Weightlifting.

CrossFit Odyssey was Campbell’s first Affiliate and he will always consider it home. He loves the community and the people who train here. Coaching and human movement are his long-term passions. He loves spreading the doctrine of functional fitness and making health and CrossFit accessible to everyone. He believes that the strength of CrossFit lies in working to make yourself more capable every day, but the community is truly what is special about it.  Campbell has also started working for a non-profit that brings free CrossFit classes, as well as other active programming to people in recovery free of charge.  Campbell teaches Tuesday morning at 6am, Friday evening at 5:30pm and alternating Sundays at 10am. He also hosts a Sober-Fit class Friday night at 7pm that is FREE to anyone who has been sober for 24 hours.

Eric Wallach is our newest coach here at CrossFit Odyssey and he came to us via his beautiful new wife, Katrin. Eric’s involvement in CF began in December 2008 at CrossFit Valley Park in St. Louis. From that point forward, his fitness life gravitated into the orbit of CrossFit. He participated in team competitions in New England and St. Louis on a “for fun” basis. CrossFit infiltrated his consciousness to such an extent, he wrote a short book on the integration of CrossFit and faith (yet to be released). After acquiring an L1 certification in August 2018, Eric began coaching StrongFit principles at CrossFit VP and attended an on-site seminar at the gym conducted by StrongFit pioneer, Julian Pineau. Although Eric’s experience in CF extends over a decade, he has yet to master the ring muscle up and strict handstand push ups; two movements he classifies as his “nemesis,” but will one day subdue both into fluidity.

Eric’s coaching style is relaxed and checkered with sarcastic humor. He appreciates CrossFit’s ability to facilitate a sense of accomplishment, confidence, and autonomy amongst members who master movements they never believed they could achieve. CrossFit promotes building strong relationships and an encouraging atmosphere a person cannot experience at a globo gym. He strives to edify each member at CrossFit Odyssey to achieve their own personal goals and meet others where they are at in their fitness lives. He hopes to eventually becomes certified in CrossFit gymnastics.
Eric’s educational background includes 2 master’s degrees (Therapeutic Recreation and Biblical History and Geography). He formerly worked at a children’s hospital in St. Louis as a therapeutic recreation therapist. His personal crowning achievement was acquiring his Masters of Arts in Biblical History while living in Jerusalem for 2 years.
Eric moved to Texas to be with his wife, Katrin, and their 3 pets (one named Odyssey!). He enjoys reading, playing piano, eating chocolate frosted Hostess donuts, absorbing information on Twitter, and learning ancient/Semitic languages. He teaches Tuesday 6:30pm, Friday 4:30 and alternating Sundays.
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