Our Coaches

Brian Bender - Head Coach

brian_benderGrowing up in CO has given me the opportunity to always be active and enjoy a variety of awesome sports. Particularly, since age 7, my main sport was hockey. After high school, I was a little burned out and decided that I wanted to be a ski bum instead of a hockey player. I moved up to Winter Park and worked the grill. Within a month of opening day, I over shot a jump and burst one of my lower vertebrae. I’m actually extremely lucky to even be able to walk today but that’s another story.  At some point during the four months that I was immobilized in a full body brace, I decided that I would enroll in college and play hockey again. I also started coaching for the youth hockey club for which I grew up playing. I started helping out with hockey camps, then some strength and conditioning camps (for all youth sports), and moved on to coach high level youth teams. I started seriously lifting for hockey during college and realized that my back pain disappeared as I got stronger.  This led to experimentation with different programs until I eventually found one that combined them all…CrossFit! Everything at CrossFit just made sense to me and I have been hooked ever since. After coaching hockey for a couple of years, I realized that I enjoyed coaching as much or more than I enjoyed playing. I am finding CrossFit to be exactly the same! I am also extremely passionate about the sport of Olympic Weightlifting. Luckily, Olympic Weightlifting has a significant amount of skill transfer into CrossFit.

Education and Certifications:

  • BA in Economics – University of Colorado
  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • CrossFit Level 2 Trainer
  • CrossFit Football Trainer
  • CrossFit Gymnastics Trainer
  • CrossFit Strongman Trainer
  • CrossFit Olympic Weightlifting Trainer
  • CrossFit Competitors Trainer
  • CrossFit Kids Trainer
  • CrossFit Defense Trainer
  • USA Kettlebell Lifting / IKLF Instructor Level 1
  • USA Weightlifting Advanced Sports Performance Coach
  • USA Hockey Level IV Coach


  • (Coach) 2016 Master’s Pan American Championships 53KG Class: Gold and World Record in C&J
  • (Coach) 2016 Youth National Championships 53KG Class: Gold in C&J, Silver in Total and Snatch
  • 2015 American Open 85 Kilo Class
  • July 2015 Rocky Mountain State Games Weightlifting 85 Kilo Class: Bronze
  • February 2015 Colorado State Championships 85 Kilo Class: Silver
  • (Coach) 2015 U13 Youth National Championships 44KG Female: Silver
  • November 2014 FRCF Weightlifting Championships 85 Kilo Class: Silver
  • July 2014 Rocky Mountain State Games Weightlifting Meet 85 Kilo Class: Silver
  • November 2013 FRCF Weightlifting Championships 85 kilo class: Bronze
  • July 2013 Rocky Mountain State Games Weightlifting 85 kilo class: Silver
  • July 2013 Rocky Mountain State Games CrossFit (partner div): Bronze
  • June 2013 CrossFit Games Regional Team: 10th Place Southwest Region
  • February 2013 Colorado State and Open Weightlifting Meet 85 Kilo Class: Bronze
  • (Assistant Coach) 2010 Tier II Nationals: Midget Minor AA Hockey

Katie Bender - Coach

katie_benderI grew up in a very athletic family. My dad was an avid marathon runner and from an early age I loved running. Throughout my childhood, I tried every sport imaginable from ballet to karate to soccer. I played soccer for about 8 years until I hit high school and transferred my efforts to swimming. I excelled quickly and made it to state both in school and on summer league.

By the end of high school I felt burned out and wanted to take a break. I kept up with intramural dodge ball and flag football but had lost the teams that I spent years building and growing up with. It wasn’t until my last year in college that Brian introduced me to CrossFit. I was hesitant at first but quickly fell in love with it. It was everything I needed in my life; community, sport, team, and personal growth.

CrossFit has also helped me become more active in the community pursuing a career in Firefighting. CrossFit has positively changed my life in every way possible.


Education and Certifications:

  • BA in Communication Studies and Business Entrepreneurship – Colorado State University
  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • CrossFit Kids Trainer
  • CrossFit Endurance Trainer
  • CrossFit Defense Trainer


  • November 2014 FRCF Weightlifting Championships 69 Kilo Class: Gold
  • July 2014 Rocky Mountain State Games Weightlifting Meet 69 Kilo Class: Gold
  • June 2014 Legends Competition: Silver
  • September 2013 Cruxy Half Marathon: 1st place (Female 20-24)
  • July 2013 Rocky Mountain State Games CrossFit (partner div): Bronze
  • June 2013 CrossFit Games Regional Team: 10th Place Southwest Region
  • Multiple medalist high school swimming: free & back

Mike Medina - Coach

mike_medinaI’ve lived in Colorado all my life. I was a scrawny kid in High School. Growing up I had a passion for rock climbing, snowboarding and pretty much anything outdoors.

I figured out I wanted to be a firefighter soon after I graduated. I started training and gaining strength to complete the physical agility test required to become a firefighter.

After getting hired as a career firefighter in 2008, I was introduced to Crossfit. It started as hobby and now Crossfit is one of my favorite things. I always like to challenge myself with new goals and coaching Crossfit is my newest endeavor. I love sharing my knowledge of fitness to motivated people.


Education and Certifications:

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • Firefighter Fitness Trainer
  • Swift Water Rescue Swimmer

David Hageman - Coach

david-hagemanDavid is a West Point graduate and has over 15 years experience as a competitive athlete, coach, and trainer. David served as a Strength and Conditioning Coach at West Point Prep and has also trained Olympic athletes at the United States Olympic Training Center as well as Special Operation Soldiers, Firefighters, Police,  and youth athletes.

David was a three year starter and earned All-Conference recognition while playing football for Army at West Point. He is a former Army Captain, a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and currently a Fire Lieutenant and Rescue Diver with the Denver Fire Department. David has served as a Strength Coach for the Military Athlete Program, Driven Strong CrossFit, and Rescue Strength and Conditioning.


Education and Certifications:

  • Johns Hopkin’s University, MS student
  • United States Military Academy, BS
  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • Military Athlete Certified Coach
  • Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, NSCA
  • Tactical Strength and Conditioning Facilitator, NSCA
  • Sports Performance Coach, USA Weightlifting
  • US Army Master Fitness Trainer
  • SPARQ (Speed, Power, Agility, Reaction, Quickness) certified coach
  • Peer Fitness Trainer/Mentor Denver Fire Department

Patrick Dawson - Coach

Most of my life I have played one competitive sport or another.  As long as it required strength, speed and an aggressive mental drive to succeed, I wanted to be a part of it.  Spending a majority of my youth in Maryland I learned to compete in soccer, football, swimming, wrestling and lacrosse; I earned a state and divisional championship title in the latter two respectively. Eventually I enjoyed coaching youth wrestling and soccer as a way to stay in the game as I got older.  After college I participated in various intermural sports and dedicated a majority of my free time to finding new, creative ways to maintain my fitness level.  Crossfit was introduced to me back in 2012 and quickly became an obsession.  What drew me to Crossfit was the ability to challenge yourself in new ways, physically and mentally, every day and be a part of a great community.  I attend as many workshops, clinics and training as I can so that I can grow as an athlete and pass on what I have learned.



Education and Certifications:

  • BS in Marketing – George Mason University
  • American Sports & Fitness Association Kettlebell Instructor

Jon Buschbacher - Coach

5808_1475357547297Being active has always been something important to me. I have and do meddle in as many athletic activities as possible. Growing up I played all the sports kids play in the U.S. Though, I found myself more interested in outdoor activities, extreme sports and weightlifting.  As a professional I have moved my way through the fitness industry starting with bodybuilding and moving through strength and performance into trying to discover balance in health and fitness for everyone.

CrossFit is an important instrument in my tool kit that allows me to push myself and help others push themselves into further self-discovery. I first started coaching CrossFit in 2010 and enjoyed the constant introduction of new methods for self-improvement. Because of CrossFit’s introduction into the fitness industry we all now have a plethora of methods for achieving our fitness goals and reaching our relative potential.

The thing I enjoy most about CrossFit is the community. I don’t mean that in a superficial sense, but I feel that the comradery built around supporting each other before, during and after workouts helps build a sense of commonality that can’t be matched by many other means in fitness.

I’m always looking to learn and improve myself as a coach, be it for my own personal fitness or for helping others find theirs. I truly believe that the path of individual fitness is closely related to their path in life.

Ashlee Barrow - Personal Trainer / Group HIIT Instructor

Even though my height suggests gymnastics, I grew up playing soccer in beautiful New York. After playing Division I soccer, I struggled to find a new hobby in which I could push myself.  After graduation, my best friend suggested we run the 2014 Boston Half Marathon and to my surprise I not only completed it but LOVED it!
Now Colorado allows me to take in the beautiful scenery with hikes and local 5k races. CrossFit has helped me add a varying element of strength and conditioning that I’ve never experienced before without interfering with my running regime. My favorite part is definitely the accepting community and team atmosphere.
Education/ Certifications
– B.A. Communication

Alexandra Schultz - Personal Trainer / Group HIIT Instructor

I have lived in the wonderful state of Colorado my entire life and that being said, throughout my life I have never been able to sit still (which has been  perfect for an active state such as Colorado), ever since childhood I have always had an un-containable energy (you will often see me pulling out my sweet dance moves in my classes!!).  Whether I am participating in power lifting (my  favorite), CrossFit,  HIIT training, hiking, biking, playing Frisbee, or simply driving my husband crazy as I walk around the house in circles, I just love to move. I have always wanted to spend my life helping others and luckily I get to do that every time I step into CutThroat. This drive to help others find happiness in fitness is why I decided to get my certification in group fitness.  I thrive on creating an inclusive and fun class environment (don’t forget fitness should be fun!!) and that feeling of helping others reach their goals and to find their strength that lives buried within is so rewarding. So many people discount themselves when they shouldn’t and I love helping to build confidence.  I am devoted to seeing my students find their own strength, to be proud of who they see in the mirror and there is nothing comparable to the power, motivation and support that comes from group fitness. It’s an addicting environment. My goal in life is to make my students happier, healthier, stronger and more confident, one burpee at a time.

ACE Certified Personal Trainer

Jake Sterny - Barbell Club Coach / Private Trainer

Jake moved to Colorado from Minnesota two years ago where he grew up playing team sports  and lifting heavy in after school programs until he graduated high school. Jake started CrossFit prior to the end of his Senior year in high school and specialized in weightlifting after his Freshman year at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. Since his move to Colorado, Jake has worked with athletes at local competitions and has coached most of the same athletes during National competitions as well. Jake prides himself on being one of the best technical coaches in the area and one of the best competition coaches in the country. When not coaching Jake also competes.


USAW Advanced Sports Performance Coach

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