Member Stories


Have you met Janka and Cameron? This incredible couple have been members at Back Alley CrossFit for over a year now! Between full time careers, two beautiful daughters, and a busy life schedule, this couple decided to make gym time, their time! Working out alone can be a challenge. Having your significant other side by […]

Women of Back Alley: Lindsey Kriz

Have you met Lindsey Kriz? She is one of the quiet, hardworking women you’ll typically find in the 9 a.m. class. You might not even recognize her these days. She’s put in the hard work, day after day, and the results are showing. Lindsey has an active history. She had an aggressive workout regime that […]

Member Profile: Alessandra Soler

Miami, Fla., native Alessandra Soler joined Back Alley CrossFit in April 2013 after her early morning bootcamp classes were canceled. She had always been curious about CrossFit and finding that Back Alley offers daily early morning classes, this busy executive and mom took the plunge and signed up. In 2014, she took her fitness to […]

Member Profile: Chris Tanner

Since September of 2014, Chris Tanner has been a regular at the 5:30 a.m. class. As the saying goes, the early bird gets the worm. That dedication and early alarm has paid off for Chris. Despite his newness to CrossFit, he signed up for the BACF paleo challenge. His goal is to get in the […]

Member Profile: Leslie Spector (Part 2)

A year ago, we featured Phoenix, Ariz., native Leslie Spector, who was pregnant with baby #2, and an advocate for CrossFitting while pregnant. Today, Leslie has not only shed the baby weight, she is also one of our paleo challenge champions. Her motivation to sign up for the paleo challenge was to lose the pesky […]

Member Profile: Dionne “Dee” Washington

Phoenix native, Dionne “Dee” Washington, was looking for an opportunity to better herself. Just before she signed a contract at a big-name health club, her partner, Bridget, encouraged her to try a class at Back Alley. Dee hasn’t looked back. “I hadn’t run in years,” says Dee. “Just a simple run, albeit slow, is achievable […]

Member Profile: Larry Sanchez

Born and raised in Hollister, Calif., Larry Sanchez’ fitness routine started the same way as most:  “I was the typical gym rat, you know the ones, “Brah, it’s my back day. Tomorrow I’m working bi’s and tri’s.” ” But in 2013, he took charge of his life and found CrossFit. It was a “come to Jesus” […]

Member Profile: The Cottos

Robin & Roberto Cotto entered the Back Alley a year ago at the nudging of member Leslie Spector and Coach Sean Cassidy. They both agreed – the mainstream gym they previously belonged to wasn’t providing the healthy maintenance they required or desired. The Cottos’ initial goal was common for most people seeking fitness: lose weight. […]

Sam Montini

A lesson in humility. Something most people could use. Sam Montini embraced that lesson head-on when he ventured into CrossFit. Sam had tried the mechanics of CrossFit in an informal setting, but in August of 2013, he decided to face it inside a box. Back Alley CrossFit was around the corner from where he was living. It was […]

Hadar Bekhor

April 10 is Hadar Bekhor’s CrossFit anniversary and one she is excited to celebrate. Hailing from Tampa, Fla., the energetic, spirited former gymnast was looking for a community when she moved to the Valley in 2013. “I wanted something that gave me the community feel I used to have as a competitive gymnast,” Hadar said. […]

Leslie Spector

Phoenix, Arizona native Leslie Spector began her CrossFit journey September, 2010 in an effort to train for Ragnar 2011, a 200-mile team relay race and medicate her recent diagnosis of bipolar naturally. CrossFit, in combination with paleo eating, did the trick, shaving more than two minutes off my mile time and balancing her moods like […]

Shana O’Mara

There’s the saying, “pain loves company.” In February, Shana O’Mara found herself crossing the Back Alley CrossFit threshold thanks to her employee, Sara Hillman, BACF member since August, 2012. Sara was coerced into CrossFit by family and friends … so she passed along the convincing to Shana. “Sara kept telling how much she loved BACF,” […]

Keith & Silke Winney

One of the benefits of Crossfit is having an opportunity to workout with your plus one. Keith and Silke Winney ventured into that commitment in November, 2012. “We joined Back Alley because of peer pressure and because the YMCA wasn’t getting it done,” Silke said. Let’s be real though, not seeing results ranks higher than […]


BACF Member Profile: Hannah Walworth Grand Canyon University Nursing student Hannah Walworth strives to give it her all … in class, at church, on mission trips, to her family and friends and certainly to her Back Alley Crossfit Community. Like most young women, she was intimated to start her Crossfit journey, but when she entered […]

Team Leatherman

Member Profile: Team Leatherman: Chad & Meghan Leatherman “He signed us up to run a half marathon?! I don’t even run!” Meghan Umphres thought to herself as she opened one of her Christmas gifts from her boyfriend Chad Leatherman. It was 2009. Meghan had recently moved to San Diego from Nashville, Tenn., and Chad was […]

Bill Avilla

Bill Avilla is the quiet type, but you can often find him in the afternoon classes at BACF tearing through WODs. A member since November 2012, Bill has set a number of personal records and raised the bar for many of the male athletes at BACF. However, he’s also been humbled by the experience. “One […]

Butch Raphael

BACF Member Profile: Butch Raphael While working at a local farmer’s market at a church, Butch Raphael discovered Back Alley Crossfit. Excited to have a box close by, Butch ran to his first WOD (and then obviously had to run home). Big mistake! “My first WOD included 200 air squats and a 200 meter run,” […]

Victoria Booth

BACF Member Profile: Victoria Booth Desperate to get in shape, Victoria Booth turned to her son living in NYC for ideas. His immediate recommendation was Crossfit. During one of his visits back to Phoenix, they visited some other affiliates. “Then I saw Back Alley had opened around the corner from me,” Victoria said. “I was […]

Katie Chandler

BACF Member Profile: Katie Chandler Pentkowski Three years ago, Katie Chandler Pentkowski gave birth to her third child. She was motivated to quickly lose the 50 pounds she had gained, so she took her husband Chad’s advice and signed up for Crossfit. In three months, she shed those 50 pounds and within eight months, secured […]

Iris Owings

Iris Owings isn’t shy about her age … she’s a 59-year-old Crossfit rockstar. “My daughter is a Crossfit trainer in Clarksville, Tenn. (Crossfit Conversion) and despite having two kids, she looks like she’s 25,” Iris said. “I want to look just like her!” Her daughter encouraged her involvement in Crossfit and helped her find Back […]

Sara Hillman

Sara has been with us since the days in the church. Sara’s strong as hell and always has a great attitude! She’s also the only person to complete a WOD dressed for winter storm! BACF Member Profile: Sara Hillman Sara Hillman was sick of hearing about Crossfit and being told she should check it out […]

Tanya Clark

150. That was Tanya Clark’s goal in the Crossfit Games 13.1 WOD. She nailed it. Sprawled out on the floor of Back Alley, a smile crept over her face. As she was catching her breath, her son Ethan, ran over to give her a kiss and said, “I’m so proud of you mom.”That’s the power […]