Local athletes delivering real results

Nathalie Stickland


Just a few months ago Stickland of Estero, was sidelined with a pretty serious back injury. “I dislocated a rib, so I was out for a while. For three months I had to do very light weights,” she says. So when the 41-year-old athlete won her division at the first-ever FN Magazine Box Battles competition, she was thrilled.

Stickland, who trains at The Training Box at CrossFit Estero, won her division by running her way to victory. She says that she really pushed through the running sections to make up for the fact that the thrusters were hard for her. “The 45 thrusters were really hard, they were very painful,” she says.

After signing up for CrossFit on her 40th birthday, Stickland signed up for her first competition—the Box Battles—on her 41st birthday. And she says she’ll keep signing up for more competitions. “I think my strength as an athlete is that I’m very resilient. I’m not always the strongest or the fastest but I just keep going.”

John Redshaw


At 49 years old, John Redshaw says that he’s finally in the best shape of his life. While he’s always been an athlete—he played soccer and ran for many years— CrossFit has made him fitter than ever.

“I have abs for the first time in my life,” he says, adding, “I was always a decent runner but CrossFit has really tied it all together for me.”

Redshaw, who trains at Real Fitness, won his master’s division at the first annual FN Magazine Box Battles event. He says that the gym’s tough WODs leading up to the event got him more than ready for the competition. “The daily stuff was just as hard if not harder than what we did at Box Battles, they did an excellent job at preparing us.”

While running and body weight exercises are two of Redshaw’s strengths, he says that a big part of his success just comes from showing up day after day. “With CrossFit if you just show up and do what they tell you, and if you keep showing up, you’re going to get into really good shape.”

Erika Erndl and Justine Bowker 

In September, T2 Aquatics team members Erika Erndl and Justine Bowker were named to the 2013-2014 USA Swimming National Team. Erndl grabbed her spot in the 100 Butterfly, while Bowker grabbed hers in the 200 IM.

The team carries the six top-performing athletes in each event, based on results at several high profile swim meets. With Missy Franklin and Ryan Locthe headlining the team, Erndl and Bowker are in some very prestigious (and fast!) company.

“It’s always a goal; I had bigger goals, like making the World Team, but this was a good goal too,” says the 35-year-old Erndl. Previously Erndl made the team in 2009 and was on the Pan Am team in 2011.

Bowker was also on the team in 2009, but this is the first time she’s re-made the team since. “It’s a year-to-year thing, you have to re-qualify,” she says.

Both Bowker and Erndl were standout college swimmers and both say that their swimming has done nothing but improve under T2 coach Paul Yetter’s tutelage.

“When you get to that certain level your coach really matters. Paul’s been great to work with, he’s really developed me into a higher level athlete,” says Erndl.

Currently Erndl is taking a break from swimming and deciding whether she’ll return to try out for the 2016 Olympic team. Bowker however, is all in.

“What’s next for me is to re-qualify for the National Team next year. I’d like to work on my other events and maybe qualify for more than one. The goal is to set me up for a good 2016 trials,” says Bowker.