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Recreation

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Harrison Heller, a former Canterbury soccer player, will attend the Regional CrossFit competition in Cincinnati.

Athlete finds new fit in CrossFit

– CrossFit is all the rage. Just ask Harrison Heller.

A Fort Wayne native and Canterbury graduate, Heller, 25, is about to go to “The Big Show,” as Crossfitters like to call it.

CrossFit itself is defined as that which optimizes fitness (constantly varied functional movements performed at relatively high intensity). Before his interest in CrossFit, Heller was a standout soccer player. He played on a travel team through age 18, as well as for Canterbury. He finished his senior year with only four goals and five assists, but according to his former coach Greg Mauch, his leadership on a team that was loaded with sophomores helped set the tone for what many thought was impossible during the preseason – a run at the state title.

It was that mentality that propelled Harrison to play Division III soccer at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and has now taken him to yet another level of athleticism and competition. He will be attending The Regional CrossFit competition Friday-Sunday in Cincinnati.

Heller took up the sport because he was looking for a better challenge than a traditional gym.

“The Globo Gym approach wasn’t working. I wasn’t satisfied with it and found there were so many plateaus,” Heller said.

His then fiancée and now wife, Leslie Straessle, found a CrossFit in Denver that she started attending with Heller.

“When I went, it was quite embarrassing. It showed me just how out of shape I was,” Heller said.

Heller and his wife proceeded to open their own CrossFit location in Chicago that they operated for two years, before moving back to Fort Wayne. Heller now works at Heller Homes.

The CrossFit World Wide Open began with 140,000 competitors, each participating in five workouts over a 5-week period. From there, the field was whittled down to the top 48 men and women within each of the 17 regions worldwide. Heller is one of 48 in the Midwest region.

When he arrives in Cincinnati, he will be competing in a series of seven events in hopes of becoming one of the top three who make it to the finals in Carson, California.

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