SPS Rite of Passage Recap

If you were on Facebook this weekend, you would have seen a flux of photos and videos from our 6 athletes representing United Barbell at the 2nd Annual Rite of Passage at SPS.  This is my favorite meet of the year to coach.  Watching UBers go out and face their fears of competing out in the world and conquering their first meet is always exciting.. and this year did not disappoint!  This year I had coach Sam (aka "Unlce Sam") and card master Dave H. helping me keep the team organized and focused.  To give you an idea of the experience, I asked the 6 lifters to share their thoughts...


Chris Comma:

  • Snatch: 55kg
  • Clean & Jerk: 67kg

"1) Lifting in a meet is very different than in the Box. For one, it’s you and the barbell and that's it. A crowd is watching, so for me, it was difficult finding a focal points with so many people. Focusing on the judge in front of me was the only place on which to place my gaze.

2) Having coaches and friends allowed me to stay loose. The coaching team of Jenny and Sam and having my lifting partner Dave counting cards took the guess work out of being ready. Having Brigette and others help load plates for warm ups allowed me to get settled and focus on the task at hand. The support was needed and helpful as making lifts in the warm up area allowed me to have fun. Listen to your coaches and do what they tell you as they are there to help you.

3) Lifting with team mates (Sunli and Joven) in the same heat created familiarity in that it felt like a regular sesh at UB. Also, it was fun lifting with a co-worker and my good friend Marilyn K. and Leka from CrossFit Endzone.

4) It was helpful having friends and supporters in the audience. Thank you to Jason, Manu, Gil, Sean, Max, Ruo (Original UB member circa 2012) and meeting new ones alleviated worries."


  • Snatch: 48kg (lifetime PR!)
  • Clean&Jerk: 58kg

"Don't celebrate before you're done.  Lost my focus between snatches and clean and jerks.  Someone named Jenny Werba actually warned me about that but I still let it happen.

Lift for yourself!  Don't lift to impress, don't lift for the gram, stick to what you've set out to do for yourself and do it. 

Get a team!  In alphabetical order: 

  • Max Cantor: Personal Photographer and Biggest biceps I’ve gotten close to
  • Dave Huynh: Assistant Coach and 69kg Role Model
  • Jay Itagaki: Body Work and I Want To Punch You When You Do That
  • Jason Luk: Mental Coach and Human Extraordinaire
  • Robin Guerzoni: Wife and Thanks for leaving me the entire bed for my recovery
  • Nikki Staley: Mobility Goddess and All Around Badass
  • Jenny Werba: Head Coach and Wonder Woman"
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  • Snatch: 41kg
  • Clean & Jerk: 58k

"It was really fun and also terrifying. Science says its good for your brain to try new things, so that's what I've been trying to do.

Shoutout to Jenny, Dave and Dave's assistant, Sam, for dedicating your weekends to holding our hands through our first meet. We couldn't have done it without you."




  • Snatch: 61kg
  • Clean & Jerk: 91kg

"I had a lot fun! Thanks for all the coaches and volunteers that help me with the warm up and set the 2nd and 3rd attempts weight. You guys made my life so much easier!

"Lesson": Always listen to the pregnant lady, haha ... nah, cause Jenny is just so great at coaching the lifts!

Special thanks to Sam: I definitely feel my nervous and stressed is eased with Sam's encouraging style of coaching, Sam is pretty awesome!"

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Austin I.:

  • Snatch: 92kg
  • Clean & Jerk: 127kg

"I didn't realize how important is would be to have coaches at the event helping decide numbers and helping jokey for a better position to increase time between takes. I had a goal to make 100kg snatch which didn't happen at the event. So when you guys said that you would take the reigns on the clean and jerk numbers, it was so relieving that all I had to do was go out and lift and leave the numbers game up to the coaches. Potentially if I didn't even know what numbers they were telling me to do I wouldn't have even psyched myself out with what was even on the bar. Very appreciative for my coaches guidance during the experience.


  • Snatch: 68kg
  • Clean & Jerk: 91kg (Lifetime PR)

"I would say a big lesson is that you're not alone, you have a whole team of coaches and volunteers to support you and help you think through what to do. So if you're overwhelmed by the work, know others will help bear your burdens!

Additionally, I was surprised at how huge the crowd was and at first pretty nervous and intimidated. As the afternoon wore on, it became clear that it was a very supportive group, and everyone there is scared too because all the athletes are competing for the first time. It's a safe place to try a new experience, and to fail."

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Last but not least, a note from Dave H. who was our assistant coach extraordinaire:

"Overall, coaching was a great learning experience and kind of stressful, but also very rewarding.  So happy everyone did well at their first meet with all competition PRs and a few lifetime PRs. I came into the gym Monday and Today ready to put in more work because of how motivating the experience was and the fact that I now have more teammates to train with."