Katie Kuna’s 8-year-old daughter once approached her and started talking about a friend that had received a trophy for soccer. She followed up that comment by asking if she would ever get a trophy for doing CrossFit. The question spurred a realization in Katie that there weren’t many options for competing at a younger level, unlike the adult age group.
So, she decided to do something about it. Katie is a co-owner of CrossFit Viral in Omaha, Nebraska, along with James Kuna and Stephanie and Nathan Lauenstein, and they recently held The Descendants, a CrossFit competition dedicated solely for kids, at their Box.
“I realized that these kids work so hard every week without something to culminate toward,” said Katie. “As adults we have local competitions and then of course, the Games each year, but there really wasn’t an annual event dedicated to these kids. So it seemed like a glaring need to provide them with an opportunity to express their training.”
The name of the competition came pretty quickly to the owners as they realized a good majority of the kids in the program were the children of members in the adult classes. Because of the many parent and child partnerships at CrossFit Viral, they ran a toy donation during the competition as a way to include families that may not be able to participate in CrossFit.
“The fact that so many of the kids have parents or relatives that also CrossFit lent itself so well to the name, The Descendants,” said Katie. “The idea that this next generation of CrossFitters will do more than us because they embraced CrossFit early, and because they are being shown by example how to prioritize your health and wellness, is really exciting. That theme is also why we chose to make toy donations to the Children’s Hospital. We were thrilled to be hosting so many parent/child partnerships and realized that was not possible for everyone. We hope that those donations can make their reality brighter, if even for just a moment.”
Friendships with other Affiliates in the area made getting the word out about the competition rather easy. Nathan Lauenstein said there were teams from five different gyms competing at their Box.
“We wanted to provide the opportunity to as many kids and families as possible,” said Nathan. “For the first one, we kept it local and weren’t sure what kind of response we would get. The response was incredible. We filled up very quickly, it seems we were on to something with this competition.”
While the response to competing was incredible, it was most important to the owners to create a fun competition to show kids the rewards of hard work. The kids were divided into two age groups, 6-9 and 10-13, with two workouts per division. The children worked with adults to get through each workout, but standards were set early on by the owners on how to create the best workouts.
“No one wants to ‘No Rep’ a child, so we set standards that are easy for even your youngest participant to understand,” said Stephanie Lauenstein. “In competition, there is a range of motion that needs to be met to make it fair and for the younger the group, the simpler it needs to be. For example, we chose the air squat as a movement for our youngest division, therefore we had them sit to a target, a four-pound medicine ball, and stand up. Easy for them to perform and easy for their judge see.”
While Katie Kuna can still envision her daughter standing on a podium at the 2030 CrossFit Games, she can also see it happening sooner rather than later, along with many other parents now at CrossFit Viral.