Two-a-half years ago, you could find Jack Ryan Brooks where you would find many kids his age - in front of a TV on his PlayStation. Now the 14-year-old is a regular at CrossFit Conway, placed first in the Arkansas Boys (14-15) division in the CrossFit Games Open and qualified for the next month’s CrossFit Games Open Age-Group Online Qualifier.
At the urging of his parents, Jack Ryan began training with his father, Ryan, who is also a coach, at CrossFit Conway and, according to his father, hated it.
“He was out of shape,” Ryan said. “There were new movements that he wasn’t used to and there weren’t any other kids in the class. He eventually started to figure out the movements and gain muscular strength and endurance. That’s when he started to notice that he felt good after working out and he gained a lot more confidence in himself.”
During last month’s Open, Jack Ryan, who also runs middle distance for the Conway Junior High School track team, won the first and final events of the Open state-wide to lay claim to the top spot in the state while also finishing 63rd in North America.
His success has not only impacted his life, but also the CrossFit Conway community. When Jack Ryan began his CrossFit journey there wasn’t a teens program at the box, forcing him into the regular classes. Now behind the success of Jack Ryan and others, CrossFit Conway has opened a teen class that has trained three of the top four teen athletes in the 14-15 age bracket for Arkansas.
Finding balance in his life has been huge for the younger Brooks. Before starting his CrossFit journey, Ryan Brooks struggled to get his son to ride a bike or even run around the neighborhood with his friends. Now, Jack Ryan trains three to four times a week at CrossFit Conway after his track practices and can proudly call himself the Fittest 14-year-old in Arkansas.
Dan Froehlich & Smitty