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Ancaster and Hamilton CrossFitters in the News

Firefighter Combat Team posts best ever season

“Firefighter Combat Team posts best ever season”;

Mike Pearson, News Staff
Published on Dec 11, 2009

It’s been called the toughest two minutes in sports. But Ancaster firefighters Dean Morrow and Louis Boiteau hope to raise the bar to about 90 seconds when they hit the course next season with the Hamilton Firefighter Combat Challenge Team.

Combat Challenge, also known as Firefit, features a series of simulated search and rescue procedures designed to simulate a real-life emergency situation. Challenges include climbing six flights of stairs carrying a 19-kilogram fire hose. From there, competitors hoist a hose roll over a rail and race down the stairs, touching each step along the way. A forced entry exercise comes next. Entrants hammer a 74-kilogram steel beam which simulates cutting through a roof. A 30-metre sprint through pylons is next, followed by grabbing a fully-charged fire hose, running towards a target and spraying it with water. The final challenge is a 30-metre dummy drag featuring a 79-kilogram mannequin.

Veteran team member Morrow and the team’s rising star Louis Boiteau led Hamilton to its most successful season ever in 2009, with each team member posting a personal best time.

“Everyone is coming in with some kind of success story,” said Morrow, who posted a best time of 1:34 during the 2009 season.

Morrow, 41, plans to run in the 40 and over division next year with teammate Mike Cascioli. Cascioli, nicknamed Cash, posted a personal best 1:45.

“It’s a good physical and mental challenge,” he said, describing the competition.

Newcomer Mike Jones rounds out the Hamilton men’s team. Jones’ personal best in 2009 was 1:53.

Boiteau recently competed in the World Firefighter Combat Challenge in Las Vegas, where he finished in a best time of 1:37.

“I was somewhat happy with my time,” said Boiteau, who finished 48th in a field of more than 350. Boiteau’s first trip to the world championships has also provided some added motivation for next season. He hopes to crack the top-25 at the 2010 championships.

At a regional event in Evansville, Indiana, Boiteau cracked the top-20 and was named fastest rookie. The American course featured an intense challenge, with sharper turns, more pylons and a tougher forced entry exercise.

To stay in top-notch shape, the Combat team now trains exclusively at Crossfit Ancaster. Trainer Eddie Warne said the team is using a high-intensity workout designed to build explosive power and increase the cardio threshold. Workouts include Olympic lifting and body weight exercises.

“We look at the guys, see where their specific weaknesses will be and do skill development,” Warne said. “Everyone is different in some way. If you’re all around fit, you’re not going to be prone to injuries.”

Boiteau said a one-hour workout at Crossfit packs the same intensity as a two or three hour session using conventional training methods.

“That’s the biggest thing with Crossfit,” Boiteau said. “An hour is an eternity. “You’re crawling out of this place just begging for mom.”

Boiteau has already cracked the 90-second barrier at this year’s Canadian Championships in Gaspe, Quebec. His time of 1:24 was a personal best.

This year the Hamilton team welcomed its first ever female competitor, Michelle Potts. A few years ago, Potts asked Boiteau about joining the team.

“Louis told me I couldn’t do it, so I was determined to prove him wrong,” said Potts. After running some individual events in 2009, Potts hopes to encourage other female firefighters to join the team. With three additional female members, Hamilton could enter its first ever women’s relay event.

Potts has made a remarkable journey over the 2009 season, from her initial event in Kingston where she barely finished, to her third place finish at the Canadian championships in the women’s open class. Her personal best time is 2:28.

The Hamilton team is still seeking a corporate sponsor to help members compete at various events across North America. Next year’s Canadian nationals will be held in Brampton, Ont. The team also hopes to attend international events in Myrtle Beach, NC and Rochester, N. Y.

Boiteau has also started his own line of athletic clothing, called Box Water Apparel.

“It’s a funny translation of my last name into English,” Boiteau explained. Clothing samples and ordering information can be viewed on the Box Water Apparel Facebook page.

Cascioli said he enjoys the camaraderie of international Firefit events. Firefighters from across North America gather to cheer on each other and bask in their achievements.

“You sit and chat with the other firefighters. It’s good camaraderie with the team and the other competitors.”

From, Dec 11

above picture: From left, Mike Jones, Dean Morrow, Louis Boiteau, Mike Cascioli and Michelle Potts are members of the Hamilton Firefighter Combat Team.

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