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. 

May Featured Athlete - Sabrina Jenner

1. Where are you from?

Dryden, NY

2. What do you do for a living?

I am a Recreation Therapist at Kendal at Ithaca 

3. What brought you into CFP?

I came to a bring a friend day with my mom and Phil, and really liked it! 

4. Did you visit your mom and Phil (other CFP athletes) when they were in Qatar? 

My mom and Phil lived in Qatar. I did visit them 3 or 4 times. It was an amazing experience and my first time outside of the country! 

5. Would you ever live in a different country?


6. If so, where?

Its hard to choose but I think I would live in Ireland! I think Australia would be awesome too.

7. What are your CrossFit goals?

My goal is to be able to be more comfortable in the gymnastic movements and maybe be able to do a pull up one day! 

8. What are some goals you’ve accomplished?

Some CF goals that I have accomplished are I can now do a couple double unders!, I was able to do a toes to bar and I think that in just the short amount of time we have been able to run outside, my running has greatly improved. I was able to back squat 205lbs which was pretty cool too!

9. What’s your favorite CF movement? 

I really like rowing and power cleans! I really like the heavy lifting and finding new PRs 

10. What’s your least favorite CF movement?

My least favorite CF move is snatches, but I think with more practice they will get better! 

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

I really have no idea how to write a WOD because I am still learning everything!  But I think it would look something like 5 rounds for time of a 15 cal row and 10 thrusters, as heavy as possible.  

12. You started CrossFit at the beginning of the year and have improved leaps and bounds! What do you think attributes to that?

I think that I have been able to improve because I am willing to try new movements and keep a positive attitude that I can do it! Having an athletic background helps too. I played soccer, basketball, and softball in high school. 

13. What’s your favorite restaurant?

I LOVE Mexican food so Chipotle, Moes, Viva... its hard to pick just one

14. What do you like to do outside of the gym?

Outside of the gym I like to spend time with family and friends and when the weather is nice going for hikes with my two basset hounds Bonnie and Marshall. I love to take our 4-wheeler out in the woods for a ride, and hunting with my fiancé Jonny.  I am hoping to get a kayak this summer and spend my days off at the lake!!

15. What do you do for self care?


Cuddle on the couch with my basset hounds! They are the best cuddlers!! 

15. You have an upcoming wedding, where did you meet your fiancé, Jonny?

Jonny and I met in 8th grade and were friends throughout high school. We started dating after high school almost 5 1/2 years ago! We are planning our wedding for fall 2019. 

16.  Do you have any pets?

Yes! I have two dogs and two cats and they are like my children! If it were up to me I would have all the dogs. 

17. Do you think the Bruins are going to win the Stanley Cup?

Yess!! Hopefully, Go Bruins! 

18. What would you say to someone that is hesitant about joining CFP?

I would say just do it! Theres nothing to loose and so much muscle to gain!! 

April Featured Athlete - Ritchie Scott


1. What brought you into CFP?

I first started back in 2014 for a brief time, but did not stick with it because of an injury. Life happened and never got back until November of 2017. Started at CFP because of my Cousin Matt Skeval, who is a longtime member, and to get fit! I have now certainly been bitten by the CF     bug and am officially addicted! 

2. What do you do for a living?

I am the Sales Manager at Maguire Hyundai Subaru. 

3. Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa and moved to Trumansburg, NY, where i still reside, in middle of my 9th grade year in 1999.

4. What's a goal you've knocked off your list since starting CrossFit?

 I could barely do pull ups back in November, now i can do 6 strict and do CTB.

5. What are future goals you have?

I eventually want to RX every WOD. I want to be as technically perfect in all lifts and movements. Can't wait for my first Muscle Up!

6. What's your favorite CF movement?

Dead Lift

7. What's your least favorite CF movement?

Double Unders

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

5 Rounds FT

10 Dead Lifts @225

5 Thrusters @100 

15 Cal Row

9. It was mentioned that I should peep your Insta...Can you tell me a little bit about your weight loss progress? (if it's too personal and you don't want to share, just don't answer.)

I have lost 63 lbs since June 1, 2017 in an effort to get healthy. Started with Nutritional Ketosis and lost the first 50 lbs by nutrition alone. I am now doing a cutting template through Renaissance Periodization. I have two boys ages two and six, who i adore. I grew up with two terminally ill parents. My mother battled Colon Cancer for 8 years and my Father fought Huntington's Disease. They had medical issues pretty much my entire life up until their passing in 1999. That leaves me behind the eight ball genetically speaking. Last May, i weighed myself and saw 260 lbs for the first time in my life and decided enough is enough. I needed to get healthy for not only me, but for my family. I want them to see what healthy and fit living looks like, something i didn't get growing up. I want to make sure i can put myself in the best position as possible to fend off whatever my genetics have in store for me. I want to see my kids graduate high school, something my parents missed. Since joining CFP in November, i have gone from 209 lbs to 198 lbs and 20% body fat to 17% and dropping. I have seen major development in my strength and technique. I have a LONG way to go, but I'm having fun! 

10. What do you do for self care?

I go to Dr. Sarah Gardner for knee and shoulder issues. I also do ROM WOD daily. 

11. Do you have any animals?

I have two dogs. Stanley and Lexi. Pit Bull/Lab mix. 

12. What's your athletic background?

I was a three sport athlete in high school, with Football being my passion. I played collegiate football at Utica College as a offensive lineman.

13. What's your favorite season?

Summer baby! :) 

14. What's your favorite thing to do in Ithaca?

Taking my kids to the park!

15. What's your favorite thing to eat?

Oooooohhhh, its a toss up between Taste of Thai Green Curry and Spicy Asian Kung Po Chicken!

16. Wine, liquor, beer, cinder or neither?

Gees, depends on my mood. Wine is Merlot or Tug Boat Red. Beer is Octoberfest or Dog Fish Head 120 minute IPA

17. If you could bring one piece of equipment to a deserted island?


18. What would you say to someone hesitant about starting CF?

Take it slow and take the small victories early on. It can be over whelming to practice all the high skill movements and perfect the technique, something i am still doing. Have fun and write down your progress!


March Featured Athlete - Gina Giambattista

March Featured Athlete - Gina Giambattista

1. What brought you into CFP?

I was looking for a gym and a community. I had been working out at a different facility that had a limited workout schedule which eventually stopped meeting my needs, and I was encouraged by several of my closest people to check out CFP. As a "Masters" participant and lifelong athlete, my fitness goals are more towards holistic wellness with a competitive edge.

2. What's your workout or athletic background?

I played basketball and ran track in high school, tried being a heptathlete in college, and eventually settled as a long-slow runner as an adult. I followed my dad into marathons for a decade, running seven with him and my brother, which was great family fun! When I moved to Ithaca, there were so many other options... as a water-lover, I soon found StandUp Paddleboarding and all of the fun that goes with it. SUP yoga, SUP time trials –on the inlet, right outside the door – and bigger races up and down the east coast and Canada. Along the way, I’ve enjoyed the Finger Lakes Triathlon, solo and as part of a team (TeamDeBoerBBQ #eatmorebrisket), and I have a long-time running group of amazing women and one dear guy, who have kept me running, humored, bolstered and nourished for many years. I’ve been very lucky and rather blessed to be parts of some amazing communities of athletes and friends!

3. Where are you from?

I’d say I’m from Harrisonburg, Virginia... we moved there as a family when I started high school, and I also went to college there (James Madison University *go Dukes!). I moved around quite a bit growing up –my dad was in the Navy when I was very young, then we moved overseas with Kimberly-Clark International for most of my youth. I lived in Mexico City and Sao Paulo, Brasil before moving back to the states for high school. All that said, I’ve lived in New York for longer than I’ve lived anywhere else! But my roots... def still in VA!

4. What do you do for a living?

I’m an administrator at Cornell. Officially I am the Director of the Office of the Assemblies,

(the shared governance groups on campus); which have been very active, given the national and global political climates. I’ve been doing that for about four years, and I’ve been at Cornell for almost eleven.

5. What’s your favorite sport other than CrossFit?

SUP!! (in any form...) Come on and give it a try!

6. What's your favorite breakfast food?

I love breakfast! I try to love eggs and veggies in the morning, but I actually love BearNaked granola, Wegmans Frozen berries and icy cold almond milk. I know, I know... it’s like dessert for breakfast. But you asked.

7. If you are a cookie eater, what's your favorite cookie?

I am a cookie eater, and I LOVE oatmeal raisin cookies. I have a family recipe that calls for molasses and blanched raisins that I make only once in a while, because I have been known to eat “most” of them.

8. What do you like to do outside of the gym?

I love spending time with my son who is a sophomore at St. Lawrence University; we go up almost every weekend in the fall to watch him play football; and I cook a lot when he’s home, (he’s an O-Lineman… my baby!) And I’m so fortunate to have fallen in love with an amazing man; he loves the water as much as I do, so we spend time on his boat or SUPping when the weather permits. I also enjoy running, theatre, yoga, shoes...

9. What do you do for self care?

Oooh... Yoga, massage, pedicures, laugh, walk on the Waterfront Trail, hang out with nurturing souls...

10. What's your favorite movement?

Well, I’m still learning them all... but so far, I’d say either the deadlift or the push-press.

11. What's your least favorite movement?

Outside of the ones I just can’t do? Box-Jumps! I don’t trust myself enough to not trip, so I psych myself out... I’m determined to embrace them though.

12. If you could write a WOD, what would it be?

Oh gosh... I don’t know all the short-hand and acronyms yet, but my WOD would be a 14-minute AMRAP which includes some number of:

ERG Rows

Feet Up the Wall (is that a thing?)

Kettlebell Swings

13.What are some goals you've accomplished at CFP?

·      I did three sets of Box Jumps one day! (#20inchsoftbox)

·      I signed up for the Open and did the first workout! (and up until late Sunday night when the rest of the world entered their scores, I was in the top 80% for my age group!) 

14. What are some future goals you have?

I really want to do a legit pull-up. I’m working on it and will ring the bell when I do! (N.B. There should be a whole lot more bell ringing in my opinion. In fact, I’ve never heard the bell rung yet. Ring. That. Bell!!!)

15. If you could bring one piece of gym equipment to a deserted island, what would it be?

Ooh... hmmh... I think a kettlebell. Although I could probably find a couple of coconuts to do the same thing... How about the rowing ERG? That way I’d be in super great shape to row off the island in my hand-made dinghy.

16. Do you have any animals?

Not currently.

17. What's your favorite Ithaca area restaurant and what's your go-to meal?

Agava, and their Black Bean Burger with hand-cut fries. And a Zing (or two)

18. What would you tell someone that's hesitant about starting CrossFit?

Jump in!! I think CrossFit is intimidating for many because its forward faces are ultra-toned, solid-ab’ed, amazingly-fit looking folks. I was hesitant because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep up, or be fit enough, or have to eat kale... and then I came in! I did my Foundations course with Darrin, and joined the 6:00am crowd with Janessa and Tim –and all of those anxieties faded. It really is fine to set my own pace, and everything is scalable. I’m often not the fastest or strongest in the class, but I am always supported for doing the most I can do on any given morning. The group energy is amazing... and at 6:00am through the winter, the community is what really makes a difference. (plus, deltoid definition).

February Featured Athlete - Sue Sappington


1. What brought you into CrossFit Pallas?

I've always worked out (running, zumba, aqua classes, bootcamp, cycling, etc.) and wanted to work out using more weights so I could get stronger.  I read somewhere that when you are over 50 it's important to use weights on a regular basis.

2. What motivates you to come so regularly to the 6:30 class?

I love the 6:30 pm class!  We are just one big happy family in that class.  Plus, I love Jana, Andy, Kylie and Darin who are the coaches for that class.   I like the challenge of trying to make it through a workout having done everything on this list (even if you have to scale it).   Everyone in that class is so encouraging with each other.

3. What’s your favorite CF movements?

Back squats

4. What’s your least favorite?

Overhead squats

5. If you could write one WOD, what would it look like?

Running 400 meters, 20 thrusters and 40 squats, repeat, repeat, repeat until you can’t possibly do one more

6. What are some goals you’ve accomplished since starting CF?

When I first started Crossfit I could barely hang on to the bar for more than 2 seconds, now I can actually do a kip swing!  I also remember not being able to put any weight on the bar when we did any kind of lifting.

7. What are some future goals you have?
I want to do double unders (more than one at a time), at least one pull-up, climb the rope (at least halfway) and do a handstand push-up.

8. Where are you from?

I live in Trumansburg, NY

9. What do you do for a living?

I work at Cornell in the ILR School as a program assistant in the alumni affairs and development office.

10. Do you have any pets?

2 cats and 1 dog

11. What’s your favorite season and why?

Winter because I hate being hot unless I’m working out or at the beach.

12. Vodka, beer, wine, cider, or neither?

I'm a rum girl!

13. If you could go on vacation anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

Greece so I could eat real feta cheese and Kalamata olives

14. Who’s your favorite author or what’s your favorite book?

Right now I'm reading The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn.  It's a really good book!

15. What do you like to do outside of CF and work?

Read and shop for things I don't need with money I don't have.  I'm a shopaholic.

16. What do you do for self care?

I go to Crossfit!

17. What’s your favorite local restaurant and what do you like to get from there?

Falls Tavern of course!  I love their breakfast on Sundays.  Stuffed croissant French toast is the best!

18. What’s your favorite home cooked dish?

Anything that someone else makes!

19. If you could have dinner with one famous person past or present, who would it be?

Richard Gere because I've got a thing for him.

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

Don't be afraid!!  The coaches will teach you everything you need to know!  I love the fact that at the beginning of every single class we go over the workout and I swear I learn something new every time.  Everyone is so nice and welcoming, you never feel out of place.