October 2016 CrossFitter of the Month
Meet Phil Sturgeon, also known as “The Beast”! We think a better name would be “The Golden Boy.” The owners of South Tahoe CrossFit want to recognize Phil because he has worked hard inside and outside of the gym. He has a heart of gold and is often seen with a giant smile on his face. He is also a highly decorated Special Olympics athlete who has picked up several gold medals since he first began competing back in the 1990’s.
Phil was born in Merced, CA but moved to the Lake Tahoe area in elementary school. He grew up in Tahoe’s backyard: Markleeville, in Alpine County. He attended Diamond Valley Elementary School and graduated from Douglas High School in 1993. After graduation, he met Bill Murray, a former principal at South Tahoe High School and neighbor of Phil’s in Markleeville. Dr. Murray invited Phil to apply for a custodian position at STHS. Phil got the job and began commuting over the mountain everyday. In 1994, he and his mother, Carol Murdock, a retired STMS teacher, moved up to South Lake Tahoe so that they could be closer to their work. Once a resident of the south shore, Phil got his driver’s license. This was a really special achievement for Phil as now he had more independence. His job at STHS has evolved into a three-title position: cafeteria assistant, custodian, and softball coach.
Being involved in softball is one way that Phil stays active. However, Phil has always been involved with some type of sport. In the 1990’s Phil was a member of Team USA in the World Games for the Special Olympics in Boise, Idaho. He took home three gold medals from that event: slalom, giant slalom, and downhill ski racing. Since then, Phil has competed in other Special Olympics competitions. He especially loves winter sports. Last winter, he medalled again in the slalom, giant slalom, and downhill Special Olympic races held at both Heavenly and Northstar. Last summer, he competed in the Summer Games at UNR and received the gold in Track and Field’s 200 meter dash, 100 meter dash, and shotput. With all these accolades, it’s no wonder either nickname fits!
In 2009, a former STHS teacher and friend, Tim Anderson, told Phil about South Tahoe CrossFit. Phil checked it out and really liked it. However, as Phil recalls, he got “lazy.” Then, in 2012, after much nudging again, Phil joined in earnest and began loving it. He recalls that it was “challenging,” and Phil loves challenges. Phil comes to the gym almost every day of the week to work on his favorite movements.
When asked what are his favorite CrossFit movements, he emphatically responded: “Deadlifts and hang cleans!!” Phil explained that these two lifts are not easy for him and so for that reason, he enjoys them. He also mentioned burpees…an often-hated movement in the CrossFit Community. Phil’s reaction to this word was “Yay, Burpees!” Yeah, he doesn’t like them either…
Phil’s favorite WOD, or Workout of the Day, is “Murph,” a Hero WOD that is typically completed on Memorial Day in memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y., who was killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005. Phil explained that when he does “Murph,” he is actually doing it for those servicemen and women who have given the greatest sacrifice for our country, especially when the workout gets really hard and he feels like giving up.
Phil has many gym goals in the future. He would love to get his double-unders and rope climbs. Like many of us, he would also love to get his handstand push-ups! He is really looking forward to this year’s Barbells for Boobs event slated for October 15th at the gym. He is excited to work on his clean and jerks in honor of breast cancer awareness. Outside of the gym, he is on a weekly bowling team and golf team. He would like to get better in both of these sports as well so that maybe, one day, he can bring home the “gold” in these two sports!
Please make sure and congratulate Mr. Sturgeon, aka “The Beast” or “The Golden Boy” when you see him around the gym! We are very proud of your accomplishments inside and outside of the gym, Phil! You should be, too!