About 125 friends and family gathered at CrossFit Council Bluffs July 20 to honor the memory of Austin Ebertowski, a 2011 Abraham Lincoln High School graduate who died unexpectedly on June 14 in Reno, Nevada.
The Austin Ebertowski Memorial WOD, a free event, featured nine heats of a 25-minute workout, shirts bearing Ebertowski’s image as an A.L. football star, tables of food, a minute of silence, and lots of hugs, smiles and fellowship.
Ebertowski charged into the local sports scene as a standout running back and sprinter for the Lynx, and then went on to play for University of Northern Iowa and Morningside College.
More recently, Ebertowski was a CrossFitter at CrossFit Bangerang in Reno, where he and his girlfriend had moved earlier this year for a job promotion. Meanwhile, his family members were members at CrossFit Council Bluffs.
“It is an honorary tradition to do a workout in memory of a member who has passed away,” CFCB owner and head coach Drew Goodin said. “In CrossFit, that usually involves a fallen soldier, police officer or first responder. But in CrossFit, it also includes friends and family who are a part of our CrossFit community.”
Goodin and Ebertowski’s immediate family members created a special workout for Austin, and they chose to unveil it on July 20, which was Austin’s birthday. They call the workout “The Bert Fresh,” which was Austin’s nickname.
“The Bert Fresh” workout:
25 minute AMRAP
21 Thrusters 95/65 lbs.
39 Hang Power Cleans 95/65 lbs.
The numbers in the workout hold special meaning. The “25 minutes” represent the number of years he was with us. (AMRAP means “As Many Reps As Possible.”) During his sophomore year, Ebertowski rushed for “451” yards in one game, which is still one of Class 4A’s highest single-game rushing totals in Iowa state history. “21” was the number on Ebertowski’s A.L. football jersey.
During his senior season he rushed for “39” touchdowns, and the family chose “hang power cleans,” because Ebertowski excelled at that lift. Lastly, he was the state of Iowa “100-meter” dash champion his senior year, with a hand held time of 10.3.
Not only did CFCB celebrate Ebertowski’s life with this workout on July 20, but so did CrossFit Bangerang in Reno.
“We recognize Austin’s athletic accolades, but I believe the greatest gift he gave us was the way he brought us all together,” Goodin said. “His brother, Dalton, described the unique bonds that he forged between people who more than likely would not be associated with each other without Austin’s help.
“We wanted to honor that aspect of Austin’s life by inviting every one of Austin’s friends and family to this event. We had so many people come out and do the workout who were not remotely involved with CrossFit. They took on the challenge to honor his life. That is something special that everyone at the event will carry with them for the rest of their lives.”
Goodin plans to make the Austin Ebertowski Memorial WOD an annual event.
While the event was free, CFCB did initiate a Go Fund Me page following Ebertowski’s death in June. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the family cover expenses at: https://bit.ly/2OmIOHr.