Paige Semenza is a former collegiate hockey player, dog mom, and 2018 CrossFit Games qualifier. She took some time out of her busy training schedule to answer a few questions for the Weekly Wag. We hope you enjoy her story and cheer her on out in Madison this year!
Wags: How did you get started with fitness? Tell us about your athletic background..
Paige: I was always active as a kid and played all different sports- softball, baseball, basketball, field hockey, ice hockey. I started ice hockey when I was about 8 years old and that was my main sport throughout grade school and college. I played D1 for the Ohio State University all 4 years of my college career. I loved it. After I graduated, I dabbled in a little bit of powerlifting, doing one USA Raw Nationals meet in 2015. I found CrossFit shortly after powerlifting and never looked back!
Wags: How/when did you find CrossFit? Why did you decide to compete?
Paige: I found CrossFit in 2015 when I first moved back home from college. I reconnected with an old hockey friend who introduced me to the affiliate I currently still workout at, CrossFit Vertex. For about a year, CrossFit was just something I did for fun with my friends and really just enjoyed the friendly competition inside the gym. In 2016, my second Open, I finished 29th in the Atlantic Region and was fortunate to receive a late invite to Regionals that year. I had about 3-4 weeks to prepare and ended up 14th overall in my first appearance. CrossFit filled a void that I missed so much with ice hockey. I have a very competitive edge and I love to push myself. I knew then that this was going to be a great fit for me. In 2017, I moved to Minnesota for 8 months of the year to be with Timberwolf CrossFit. We finished 8th at the Games and it was such an incredible experience that I look forward to building off of this year.
Wags: How do you feel going into the 2018 CrossFit Games? Any expectations/goals?
Paige: I feel excited, nervous, eager, and amped to be going this year. My biggest thing throughout training is to make sure I stay healthy. I’ve dealt with injuries in the past and I’ve learned the hard way the importance of being healthy.
I also set a goal for myself to finish in the top 20 this year as a rookie. Something that I know is incredibly difficult but doable and incredibly rewarding when you put in the time and effort. Going in as a rookie, I feel like I still have plenty to learn and so much room to grow as an athlete. I look forward to giving everything I have this year and building off the momentum for the next!
Wags: Tell us a little bit about your pup...
Paige: Oh my goodness, I could tell you so much!! His name is Hammer (pictured below)! He is a full bred American pittie, all white fur with a big brown spot on his side. He is also 90lbs- 90lbs of pure cuddles and love! My family and I think he is part human because of the mannerisms he has. He uses pillows to sleep, he talks back when asked questions, he loves chicken. He’s also afraid of the washing machine lol so we can only do laundry on days when Hammer is at doggy daycare. He loves to be loud and bark but at the end of the day he’s a big snuggle bug, always needs to be cuddled against you when its’s time for bed.
Wags: Why do you think dogs & fitness fit so well together?
Paige: Peanut butter and jelly. Salt and pepper. Ham and eggs. Dogs and fitness. There’s only so many things that go together like two peas in a pod!
Wags: Favorite cheat meal?
Paige: I have a few but I’ll keep it to 2 options: 1- Smiler’s loaded nachos with turkey chili and 2- Benny’s hot wing hoagie and wing bites! These are two local bar and grill restaurants where I live. And I can assure you they will both be eaten within the same week after the Games! :P
Wags: If you could have a never ending supply of ONE thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Paige: Puppies. Plain and simple.
^^(we knew we liked Paige!)
Wags: One piece of advice for any aspiring competitors out there..
Paige: Do not ignore injuries. Even something minor that is ignored can turn into something that causes you a year of stress and frustration. Embrace resting and prioritize rehab when it’s necessary. What we do in the gym is not easy, but it sure as hell is rewarding when we are doing things we love! Take the proper time to recover from the beat down you give your body. I can promise you, it will make training so much more enjoyable knowing you have zero nagging issues!