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GMAZ segment by Ryan O'Donnell
Posted on August 11, 2014 at 11:02 AM
Updated today at 3:13 AM
PHOENIX -- Valley fitness nuts now have a professional league of their own. Phoenix is one of eight major U.S. cities to have a National Pro Grid League, and what's unique about this team, is that it is co-ed.
The National Pro Grid League (NPGL)is the world's first professional spectator sport with co-ed teams competing in human performance races.
"We are proud Phoenix was selected as one the cities to represent the National Pro Grid League," said James Fitzgerald, Phoenix Rise owner, coach and athlete. "We believe that this league, with its team-based approach, represents the natural evolution of functional fitness competitions. Given the popularity of the sport from fitness fanatics to weekend warriors, we look forward to showcasing elite athletes racing here in the Valley."
"We moved away from bicep curls and treadmills into making those actual fitness workouts and actual competition, so that led to people competing individually and now it has blossomed into making it a more fan engagement process in a team setting so that anyone could watch this," Fitzgerald said.
The team trains in north Scottsdale and while it looks like CrossFit exercising, it actually falls into a different category.
“CrossFit teaches how to be fit across an entire continuum and they test for the fittest person on Earth," Fitzgerald explained. "The difference between that and what we do is a co-ed team, which is a professional sport based upon a team setting in fitness."
All NPGL teams feature five men and five women, with at least one of each being 40 years of age or older, who compete in head-to-head timed fitness competitions called "races." There are 11 races in each two-hour Grid match.
"The Grid is where athletes come together to race towards a shared destiny," the NPGL website explains. "In order to win on the Grid, everyone must work together."
The eight founding teams will compete in an abbreviated season that culminates in a single-elimination tournament for the Pinnacle Trophy in October at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on the Las Vegas Strip.
The NPGL plans to expand to 16 teams in the 2016 season.
Phoenix Rise inaugural home gameSaturday, Aug. 23, 6 p.m.vs. DC BrawlersJobing.com ArenaTickets: www.thephoenixrise.com
Tickets can be purchased at the Jobing.com Arena box office, online at Ticketmaster or by calling 1-800-745-3000. Ticket prices start at $25 for upper level to $89 floor seating.
Keep track of the team atFacebook.com/NPFLPHX or follow it on Twitter. The handle is@PhoenixRiseNPGL.
Phoenix Rise men
Danny Nichols, 32, San Rafael, California
Marcus Filly, 29, Mill Valley, California
Nate Schrader, 29, Fayetteville, North Carolina
James Fitzgerald, 40, Scottsdale, Arizona
Bryan Miller, 23, San Diego, California
Brandon Phillips, 31, Kennesaw, Georgia
Rasmus Wisbech Anderson, 22, San Diego, California
Brandon Pastorek, 29, Belvidere, Illinois
Cody Loeffler, 27, West Chester, Pennsylvania
Chris Exarhos, 42, Bainbridge Island, Washington
Phoenix Rise women
Amanda Goodman, 23, Central Islip, New York
Emily Pale, 25, West Chester, Pennsylvania
Alexandra LaChance, 26, St. Louis, Missouri
Lisa Rendic, 41, Marin, California
Jessica Phillips, 23, Kennesaw, Georgia
Valerie Calhoun, 19, Rocklin, California
Bjork Odinsdottir, 26
Melissa Popovich, 32, Huntington Beach, California