November Featured Athlete - Mandy McConaha


1. Where are you from?

Born and raised in Indiana and New Mexico. 

2. What brought you to Ithaca? (disregard if you aren't from here)

I was living outside of LA and one day I thought to myself - it is just too sunny and too hot here. So I took a job in CNY and packed my pups in the back of the car and moved 2,665 miles across country.  

3. What do you do for a living?

Most of my career has been spent working in communications and program management in non-profit organizations in SE Asia, W. Africa and the USA. I'm a professional photographer/videographer on the side. I currently manage the in-house creative team at Cornell University. 

4. What brought you into CFP?

My sister started doing CrossFit in Indiana and had impressive results. She also started crushing me at fitness and mud runs and signing her emails: Love your sister who can do kipping pull-ups and double unders. That was the last straw!  On a more serious note, I had been struggling to develop a consistent workout/fitness routine with a busy work schedule and some old injuries started to come back to haunt me and hamper my activity. I took my sisters recommendation and signed up for CrossFit to see how I liked it. I was pretty convinced after watching some CrossFit videos that there would be no way I could do 98% of the moves, but Tim assured me I would be fine. And I LOVE it.  

5. What keeps you at CFP?

The awesome coaching! And the lovely, supportive community. There are days I walk into CrossFit feeling like I literally have steam rolling out of my ears from my brain grinding gears all day, but I always leave with a smile on my face and a happy sore body. One of the best feelings is crushing a workout (or part of one) and looking at a classmate and just acknowledging, "We are such badasses!” 

6. What's your favorite movement?

Kettle bells, power cleans, deadlifts.  

7. What's your least favorite movement?

Squat snatch - soooo hard! 

8. If you could write a WOD, what would it look like? 

I wouldn't even know where to start! 

9. What's your favorite home cooked meal?

I can make a mean asian noodle/pad thai, sweet/savory salad, and Korean stew. 

10. What's your favorite Ithaca restaurant and what do you get there?

Depends on the day, but its usual asian food (Tamarind, Saigon Kitchen..etc): green curry or pho

Indian food (Mehak): pretty much anything on the menu is delicious CA-style Mexican food (Vive Taqueria & Cantina): Enchiladas or smothered burrito with a delicious goat margarita.  

11. Coffee/tea/both or neither? Toppings?

Coffee! Tea (if its in a hot totty) 

12. Liquor/beer/wine/cider or neither?

All - but mostly wine and beer

13. Do you have any pets?

2 dogs - Zoe, a 3 year old Labrador Retriever and Bella, a 5 year old lab/border collie mix

14. What's a CF goal you've crossed off the list?

I can't say they're crossed off the list - but I'm proud of the progress I've made with power cleans, snatches, box jumps, wall balls and anything that involves squatting. I have some fancy 

titanium hardware in my leg and when I started my knees were giving me all sorts of trouble. I had to stop running and limit my hiking for a time because my knees just couldn't handle it. 

After only a short time at CrossFit, I started to see really great progress in the muscle gain around my knees and and legs and now I can pretty much tackle any activity without worrying about tweaking my knee.  

15. What's a future goal you have a CF?

Mastering the illusive double unders, TTB and kipping pull-ups (partly to silence my sister ;) I'm focused on working hard at the areas and activities that I know I struggle with and sometimes that means coming in a bit early or staying a bit late to give them a little extra attention. I'm excited to continue to challenge myself at getting better, stronger, faster! 

16. What about a life goal?

Live and work in the tropics! Kidding...sorta. Someday I would like to run my own non-profit organization. Hike the Inca trail and dive the great barrier reef. Travel more. 

17. If you could have dinner with any musician, who would it be and why? 

I don't think I have a good answer for this one...

18. If someone was hesitant to start CF, what would you tell them?

I would tell them to jump in and give it a try, that you don't have to be an incredible athlete to participate in CrossFit. The coaches really go above and beyond to make sure everyone is scaling the movements appropriately. Some incredible perks of CrossFit (at least at CrossFit Pallas) is that there is always someone watching you during the class making sure you're doing the movement mechanics correctly to ensure you don't injure yourself.  And you will literally NEVER work out at home by yourself has hard as you will in a CrossFit. class. Also, the CrossFit community/family is incredible. Everyone is welcoming, encouraging and supportive - there is nothing quite like it. 

October Featured Athlete - Chris Anderson


1.  Where are you from?
I am Canadian – happy Canadian Thanksgiving BTW Monday October 8th -  I spent most of my formative years in the province of Ontario – in the general area between Detroit & Toronto.

2. What brought you into CFP?
Lindsay, my partner in crime started a few months before I did and it sounded pretty cool! I was participating in endurance events at the time -  my body needed a change and I really didn’t have the time anymore for 5 hour bike rides.

3. What do you do for a living?
I am a faculty member at Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration.  I broadly work in the area of data analytics and spend most of my time on pricing related problems. 

4. What's your best CF accomplishment?
Not sure if I have any of those, just happy to make it to class every day and avoid (exercise related) injuries.

5. What are some goals you have at CFP?
Overall fitness I guess, ideally make some progress on gymnastics related movements, keep up with my kids.

6. What's your favorite CF movement? / What's your least CF movement?
I will answer these questions as one as the great part about CF is that every movement should be your favorite movement - you just need to scale it appropriately so you get a good workout.  I really suck at anything that involves heavy weight but I am OK with because I just focus the correct movement with lighter weight.  Clearly wallballs, rope climbs, and rowing are tall-person friendly so are good for me, whereas movements that require more coordination are not!

8. If you could write a workout, what would it look like?
I am a big fan of grinders – any workout in the 30 minute window that doesn’t involve me trying to go to fast on any single movement; make sure there are some wallballs, burpees and pull-ups in there – box jumps are OK as long as there is a soft box (remember the coordination comment!)

9. What do you do for self care?
Try to hit yoga w/ Lex but that is pretty challenging on weekends as we seem to be always taking one of our kids somewhere for some kind of event.  I have an exercise ball and Interstuhl (google it) stool in my office to work on core and posture while I am pontificating at work.

10. What's your favorite Ithaca (area) restaurant?
The Pines – we live just down the road so it’s an easy & regular stop.

11. You're a regular 6am'er- what motivates you to come that early?
As you get older you find a need to ‘schedule’ exercise. With both Lindsay and I at Cornell plus three boys with their own busy schedules – 6 am is really the only time that I know I won’t have a meeting or don’t need to drive our kids somewhere (not quite true, we drop one off at crew practice on the way to 6am class). Plus, it is great to have it out of the way and makes the rest of day easier …. That said,  6am classes are getting busier so everyone else should go later in the day – I hear 8:15 is excellent!

12. You also come pretty regularly to Thursday mornings at 6am, what drives you on "off days to workout?
At some level it is just a pattern, get up early, have coffee,  go to gym – kind of like the old dunkins commercial where with the dude making the donuts ( ).  Thursday are great though – either makeup a missed workout from the week, work on something specific, little extra time rolling out the hammys…or like this Thursday going in to do some wallballs, pull-ups and box jumps just because they are fun!

13. What's your favorite season?
Summer and Winter are great as I find it easier to go out and do something w/ the kids, we live on the lake so in the summer there is lots to do, and in the winter you need to get outside and hit slopes to keep your sanity – these all seem to get harder as our kids get older and have their own agendas though.

14. Liquor, beer, cider, wine, all/none?!
Bud Light all the way no question!  If I know I am only having one, then a stout.

15. You've made great strides to improve at CF, including your squat! What measures have you taken to improve it?
Mostly just time and persistence, foam roller on the hamstrings and keeping the weight lighter to make sure I get full range of motion.

16. If someone was hesitant to start CF, what would you tell them?
It’s a great way to start the day! There is always a way for everyone to participate in every WOD, I had a 6 stiches in my index finger a few weeks back and I was still able to workout just needed to scale, well I always scale, just a little more that go around.

September Featured Athlete - Kelly Skeval


1. Where are you from? I'm originally from Alfred, NY

2. What do you do for a living? I'm a Real Estate Agent and manage our family’s real estate investment properties.
3. What brought you into CFP? My husband, Matt, signed me up for the foundations course for my birthday. I was surprised, excited and super nervous!
4. You are such a busy wife, mom and real estate agent, what keeps you coming back? Oh man! There are so many reasons as to why I keep coming back so I'll just keep it to a few.  I spend my days serving and catering to others needs (my children, clients, tenants etc) but when I'm at CFP, that one hour is all about me. The workouts are written for me so I just have to show up and work through them. I don't have to think at all, no answering questions, no doing anything for anyone but myself.  That's my biggest reason I keep returning. Second, I've been involved in sports and exercise since I was little. Crossfit is the only form of exercise I've found that makes me this strong and this fit with such a small amount of time invested per week. Last, but certainly not least, I love this community. Everyone says it, but the CFP community is one of my favorites. 
5. What’s your favorite movement? I've been really enjoying the gymnastics lately. 
6. What’s your least favorite movement? The snatch, ugh!
7. If you could write a wod, what would it look like? Hmmm well selfishly I like WODs with gymnastics and running. I'm not real strong so my better WODs involve things like TTB, pull-ups and movements that I can move through quickly.
8. What are some CF goals you’ve crossed off? I recently got my first bar muscle up and kipping hand stand pushups!
9. What are some future goals you have at CFP? I have a lot of fun here.  Life gets hard and sometimes it gets in the way and it can become difficult to show up.  Really my only goal is to continue to show up consistently and push myself just a little harder each day.
10. What do you do for self care? I try to stretch for a few minutes after every class. I see Dr. Gardner for adjustments and Teri Hornsby for massages. I'm always reading a book on personal development book!
11. What do you do for fun outside of work and CF? I spend time with my husband and kiddos!  Matt and I have busy schedules and he works crazy hours. Sometimes it's just time at the house, sometimes it's being together while we work on one of our apartments and other times it's fun day trips. As long as we're all together and focusing on us I'm one happy lady!  Our favorite thing to do is to have dinner picnics down at Taughannock when the weather is nice.
12. What’s your favorite restaurant? Oh geez...I don't have just one. Agava, Just a Taste and Luna are tops on my list!
13. Does Matt have a (cooking) speciality? He is a GREAT cook. He has perfected cooking eggs! They're so buttery and not at all macro friendly.  He cooks them for me every morning after we workout.
14. Do you think your children will do CF? Our older two are very competitive. Everything is a race, eating, buckling in their carseats, etc., so I think they're built for it but I'm not sure if Lia will get in to it. Matthew loves it! He often will workout next to Matt, he has a barbell and kettlebell. Mr. Tim and Mr. Darrin are two of his biggest idols.
15. If you were on a deserted island, what’s the one piece of CF equipment you’d bring? Probably a kettlebell, right? I mean you can do so much with one of those!
16. What would you say to someone that’s hesitant about starting CF? Do not be intimidated, every movement can be modified. People always seem to be looking for the secret to looking and feeling fit. Like a get fit quick scheme... I feel like I found it at CFP.  One hour a day, a few days a week and I've seen more people (including myself) than I can count experience amazing body (and mind) transformations!


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August Featured Athlete - David Small


1. Where are you from? 
Brisbane, Australia

2. What do you do for a living?
I’m a postdoc scientist working at Cornell. I study heart disease.

3. What brought you to Ithaca?
My job. The good thing about my career choice is that you can do it pretty much anywhere in the world.

4. What brought you into Crossfit Pallas?
My partner Anna. Anna did some crossfit back in Australia and convinced me to give it a go. I was hesitant at first and thought that it wouldn’t really be my thing. But she’s the boss, so it’s best to do what she says.

5. What keeps you coming to Crossfit Pallas? 
The 6:30pm class! It’s usually the same crowd. It was also a great outlet for me to meet and make new friends outside of work. I also like the constant variety of workouts. I used to go to the gym and do cardio and resistance exercises, but after doing that for so many years, it gets very boring. It’s great to go to a class, and do something different each day, and still know that you are getting better.

6.  Where do you see yourself in five years? 
Probably back in Australia with 5 kids (maybe ask Anna about that plan…)

7. What’s your favorite thing to do outside of CrossFit? 
We just bought some kayaks, so have been out on a few lakes in the region most weekends.

8. What’s your favorite meal or restaurant in Ithaca? 
There are so many good places in Ithaca, but I would have to nail it down to Massaman curry from Tamarind Thai. The Pad See Ew is also pretty banging.

9. What do you do for self-care?
I stretch for one hour before bed every night. I have the flexibility of a tire iron.

10. What’s your favorite CrossFit movement? 
I love DUBS and running

11. What’s your least favorite CrossFit movement? 
Anything that requires a big amount of flexibility, so overhead squats and pistols are a killer. Sometimes the mobility things we do for warmup or cool down are the hardest part of the day…

12. If you could write a WOD what would it look like?
30 DUBS, 5 power cleans, 400 meter run. 5 rounds for time

13. What are some goals you’ve marked off of the CrossFit goal board? 
Being able to get below parallel on the squatting movements. It took about a year!

14. What are some future goals that you have? 
I’m always trying to increase strength, but most of all, I would still like to improve my mobility, and one day be able to do pistols and OHS easy!

15. Where’s the coolest place you’ve been? 
Halong Bay in Vietnam was very memorable.

16. Liquor, wine, beer, cider or neither or all of the above? 
Beer, but depends on the occasion.

17. Do you have a favorite author or book? 
It’s hard to nail it down to one, but I’m going to say “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot. There is also a Movie based on the book. 

18. What’s your favorite season? 
Summer. Reminds me most of Australia.

19. Do you have a favorite sport or sports team? 
I played rugby and basketball growing up, so I would have to say my favorite sport to watch is rugby. Despite being here for 3 years, I still have no clue what the rules are in American football or baseball.

20. What would you tell somebody who is hesitant to start CrossFit?
Most people I talk to about crossfit have preemptive ideas that it is too intense, and full of crazy people yelling at each other lifting rocks. It’s not. Crossfit has the full spectrum of people at all different fitness levels, who just want to be healthier. I would say to these people, don’t diss it til you try it! The coaches are super knowledgeable and supportive, and every workout can be scaled.

July Featured Athlete - Leslie Brunker


1. Where are you from?

I’m from Fairfield, CT (classic New England prep school kid) but I went to Penn in Philly for undergrad and feel like I’ve absorbed some of the Phiily.

2. What’s your athletic background like?
I was a competitive gymnast until 7th grade, when I got too tall. I also played tennis pretty competitively until high school. I dabbled in field hockey. But my heart has always been with gymnastics, hence my love of handstand walking.

3. You are a Vet student at Cornell, what’s your specialty?

If only my specialty could be working dogs… While in school, I work with everybody: dogs, cats, horses, cows, and even the occasional kangaroo (not joking, I saw one last week). After school, certainly small animal will be my focus. I’m in the Army Veterinary Corps, so military working dogs are a passion of mine.

4. What drew you into that field?

Just about every 4-year-old wants to be either an astronaut or a vet. I went the vet direction… and then never grew up. I have a huge interest in preventative medicine, which might sound a bit odd for a person who is training to fix problems. However, my philosophy is one of holistic health in which diseases are prevented before they can occur, so that we can all live our best lives. There is no reason that this can’t apply to animals, too! Next thing you know, I’m going to have crossfitting dogs.

5. You recently went to Hawaii for Active Duty Training for the Army- how was that experience?

Apart from the miles of pristine beach and breathtaking hikes? It was a spectacular and eye-opening experience. This was my first real look at what my career in the Army will be, and I have to say, working with some of the nation’s most highly trained dogs and people was truly remarkable. And it wasn’t’ in the worse place :).

6. You are extremely busy, yet you devote so much time to school and CF. Where do you find the inspiration and energy?
Don’t let yesterday be better than today.

7. When are you done school and what’s your plan for after?

If all goes well, I’ll graduate from vet school in May 2019 and commission as an Active Duty Captain in the US Army Vet Corps that same month. Who knows where I’ll be for the next 4 years! Long term, it is my dream to open a rehab and training facility for working dogs (military/police/search and rescue/service dogs) that is co-located with a CrossFit gym and community center for military veterans. The blend of the CrossFit Health mentality with mentorship and camaraderie from current service members seems like a natural way to combat some of the stresses facing veterans and to allow veterans to share their wisdom with whole communities. We’ll see where that goes…

8. Do you have any pets?

I have one *baby* - my 13yo retired military working dog (Belgain Malinois), Mandy. She is my everything. She was a dual purpose (bomb sniffing and patrol) dog who served 2 tours in Iraq. 

9. What are some CF goals you’ve crossed off the list?

As silly as this might sound, one of the biggest things that drew me to CrossFit was the idea of the “cult.” While I now call it a tribe, one of my long-term goals of finding a tribe has come to fruition in more ways than I could every imagine.

Also, getting my first ring muscle up was pretty spectacular. 

10. What are some future goals you’d like to achieve? 

I know that I should have measurable, attainable goals. However, when I think of the thing that I strive for most and that gets me going every morning at 4am, it’s the desire to be happy, healthy, and kicking butt when I’m 80. 

11. What’s your least favorite CF movement?


12. What’s your favorite CF movement?

Somebody is going to come murder me for this, but: burpees. Followed closely by snatches. 

13. If you could write a wod, what would it look like?

Long WODs are my jam;

1 mile run

50 KBS

35 pistols


100’ HSW

20 CTB

35 WBS

50 burpees

1 mile run

14. Do you have a favorite Hero wod?
Murph. I cry every time I read the dedication and think about the man for which it is named. And then the WOD crushes my soul and I feel that I have accomplished the goal.

15. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Out of a backpack. The best place is where I am.

16. You are extremely inspiring to me, as well as many others at Pallas, who do you draw inspiration from? 

Are you kidding? All of you, Pallas Tribe! The people who you surround yourself with are just as important to your overall health as what you do with your body. I choose to spend as much time around this community as I can so that I can soak in the experiences and advice from all of the spectacular people who come through the doors to WOD every single day.

Those who have fought and laid down their lives for this country. I will forever be grateful and wish to honor their memories by keeping this country safe. 

17. What’s favorite place to eat in Ithaca?

Does the Farmer’s Market count? I don’t eat out much, but I love to buy all of the colors of veggies and make yummy meals at home!

18. What do you like to do outside of the gym and school?

I was a very serious classical musician (violin and piano) before vet school sucked away my time. So I love to play for myself or sight-read chamber music with close friends. 

19. Do you have a favorite season?
Definitely fall. New England falls are hard to beat!

20. What would you tell someone hesitant about starting CF?

It’s not about the fitness. I mean, of course it is, in some ways. But CrossFit is special because of the community that you are immediately drawn in to. Who knows who might be suffering through those 150 wall balls next to you. I’ve met some of the most inspiring individuals sitting in dueling pools of sweat after a challenging day in the CF gym. It’s those moments when you realize that we are all here to push ourselves and that what we do in the gym can seep into every ounce of what we do outside the gym. So, come to CrossFit and learn GRIT. Come to learn that you can do one more rep and not collapse. Because the next time you have to finish that demanding project or work that 48 hour shift, you’ll know that you are capable of pushing through more than you thought possible. CrossFit teaches you to keep pushing and lean on those around you for some belligerent cheering. You got this!

June Featured Athlete - William Maxwell

1. Where are you from?

Born in Philly, came to Ithaca in 1952

2. What do you do for a living or what did you do for a living?

1961-1998 Professor of Operations Research and Industrial Engineering at Cornell. 1988-1998 co-founder of CWay. Summers of 2003-2018 supervisor and head lifeguard at Alex Haley Pool across from GIAC.

3. What brought you into CrossFit Pallas?

A debilitating hospital stay precipitated a need for restoring my strength to continue lifeguarding.

4. How long have you been doing CrossFit for?

Since spring of 2014


5. How many CrossFit Opens have you done?

2015 and 2018. In 2018 there were eight people in their 80s. I was the oldest and one of two that did all 5 workouts.

6. What do you like to do when you’re not at the gym?

Spent time with my bride of 49 years, volunteer activities

7.  What’s your favorite CrossFit movement?

Back squat – proud that at my age I can squat

8. What’s your least favorite CrossFit movement?

Burrpee  - no other animal in the world would submit themselves to this movement


9. Do you have a favorite CrossFitter?

Tim in motion

10. If you could sit down and have dinner with any celebrity who would it be?

Barack Obama

11. What do you do for self-care?

Very active in volunteer work.

12. Do you have any pets?

Wife has a cat

13. What’s your greatest CrossFit achievement?

First pullup in my life at age 79.

14. What is a CrossFit goal that you have?

TTB once

15. What’s something that not a lot of people know about you?

In 1956 I was a factory certified Porsche mechanic.

16. What your favorite season?


17. What’s your favorite restaurant?

Saigon Kitchen

18. What’s your favorite meal to cook?

Spanish rice

19. Wine/liquor/beer/cider or neither?

At one time any and many, now none.

20. What would you tell someone hesitant about starting CrossFit?

Every activity can be scaled to an individual’s ability, the workouts are carefully planned, the trainers have that “critical eye” necessary for safety and improvement, and the comradery beats working alone in a weight room or on a bunch of machines.

The picture is from Antarctica in 2010.  We visited an island with over 100,000 penguins.