Athletic Mentors Coach’s Corner: K-Wings to Raise Cash for Victims’ Families

February 24th, 2016 by Athletic Mentors

The Kalamazoo Wings (K-Wings) ECHL pro Hockey Team is hard at work in Athletic Mentor’s dryland training program. Athletic Mentors was named the team’s official Strength and Conditioning trainers for the 2015-2016 season.

Athletic Mentors invites you to support the K-Wings pro hockey team as it aims to raise cash to help victims of last weekend’s mass shooting. The Kalamazoo ECHL team is donating $2 from the proceeds of every ticket sold to its next home game March 5th against the Utah Grizzlies. In addition, arch rivals, the Toldeo Walleyes, have offered to donate $5,000 toward community outreach. (Get tickets here.)WE are Kalamazoo JPEG.jpg

In an emotional moment Sunday night at the regularly scheduled league game, the K-Wings and Walleyes stood together in remembrance of the eight victims in the random shootings perpetrated Saturday by a suspected area Uber driver.

“Our lives may never be the same,” said K-Wings director of sales Toni Daniels in a press release. “But we want to be able to provide the city of Kalamazoo an outlet—an opportunity for lives to feel normal.”

The K-Wings have set an organizational goal of $10,000 worth of donations that will be accumulated through ticket sales and auction items. In addition, the Toledo Walleye have pledged nearly $5,000, the Utica Comets of the AHL will be providing memorabilia to be auctioned for the fund on March 5 in Kalamazoo, and the ECHL have announced their plans to donate a portion of the jersey auction proceeds from the 2016 CCM/ECHL Hockey Heritage games, which were celebrated in Kalamazoo in early February. The ECHL will also be encouraging other member teams and their fans to do the same to support their fellow ECHL community.

Read the rest of this entry »

Nordic Ski Team Starts Strong Season at Cote Dame Marie

January 29th, 2014 by Athletic Mentors

Team Athletic Mentors has assembled a great roster of past, present and future skiers. With the excellent snow season this year allowing for highly competitive and sometimes brutal conditions, the 2014 Nordic Ski Team has been pushing limits, reaching season goals and topping the podium.

Five athletes represent Athletic Mentors this year and each of them took top placements in pre-season events. Alex Vanias, Kaitlyn Patterson and Ryan Harris represent the future of the sport, having combined for five individual wins and one relay win so far this year. Daniel Yankus and Jon Morgan round out the team providing leadership and experience, both finishing with great results, adding a win and multiple podium places to the team’s high success. Combined, the group has reached the podium 12 times in just five races.

The official season began Jan. 18 with the prestigious Cote Dame Marie. The men competed in the 24.5 km freestyle race and the women in the 13.3 km freestyle.


As seen in the picture to the left, the start for the men was quick, fast and crowded, yielding 100 total competitors. Alex Vanias led the race and kept the pace up to eventually win in roughly 1 hour and 16 minutes. Behind him, teammate Daniel Yankus finished 2nd in a close sprint, marking a time just a minute and a half behind Vanias. Ryan Harris finished 6th, and Jon Morgan finished 14th. In the women’s freestyle, Kaitlyn Patterson kept the success theme of the day by winning a four-way battle to the line, making her the victor. Only four seconds separated places one through four. Who says slow twitch athletes can’t win a sprint?

For complete results from the Cote Dame Marie, click here.

Follow the “read more” link to see the summary results from the Cote Dame Marie and the other pre-season events. Stay tuned for more big results from Athletic Mentors’ Nordic ski team! Read the rest of this entry »

Join Athletic Mentors at Gran Fondo & You Might Be Riding With a World Record Holder

June 24th, 2013 by Athletic Mentors

chris gottwoldGearing Up for Gran Fondo Saturday June 29th

Whether you’re riding to condition for a 2013 World Record attempt like national cycling sensation, Chris Gottwald, or taking the family out for a Euro-style leisure ride and epicurean wander, Team Priority Health & Athletic Mentors staff will be there to ride or guide all comers to Grand Rapid’s inaugural Gran Fondo next Saturday, June 29th.

Gran Fondo means “big ride” and for Michigan, it’s a big deal. Proceeds of the ride benefit skin cancer research at MSU. The event also shines the light on local breweries and Michigan-made food during the Gears for Beers Microwbrew & Music Festival. It promises to be a perennial favorite for its high-fun-quotient and low entry bar, with a 12 mile “family ride,” a medium 40-mile course, or an 80 mile race/ride to Lake Michigan.

For Team Priority Health Elite Team Captain Chris Gottwald, it’s a chance to ride for fun and a bit of conditioning before attempting a world speed record July 5th at the Indianapolis Velodrome for 100-mile timed trials. Gottwald put Michigan on the worldwide cycling map with his 3,000-mile Race Across America “Cyclist of the Year” title, and most recently led the PH Elite team to total victory in West Branch. No stranger to the podium since his early days on the Purdue cycling team and owner of his 3rd consecutive King of the Mountain title, the 42-year-old pilot calls his imminent effort his “first attempt” at the World Record, which will benefit the global water crisis through an organization called Active Water.

“What I really want is for people to be inspired. If I can do this, so can they. I’m just the guy next door…What motivates me is how lives can be impacted. Every 15 seconds a child dies somewhere in the world because they don’t have clean drinking water. So it’s really not so hard to drill it for four hours and 480 laps in a velodrome by comparison,” Gottwald said of the record attempt. (To donate or learn more, follow this link.)

By comparison, the Gran Fondo will be downright fun. Gottwald is hoping his 11-year-old daughter, Gigi, rides the 12 mile, and plans to kibbutz with fellow cyclists and newcomers to the sport.

“It’s an outstanding opportunity to experience the joys of riding and the great sense of satisfaction you get raising money and awareness for a good cause. That’s what kept me going in the Race Across America, and that what makes the Gran Fondo a “don’t miss” event,” said Gottwald.

Athletic Mentors co-founder and multisport coach, Cheryl Olson, manages Team Priority Health and recently ran a clinic to help registrants get ready to ride.
“The best part about Gran Fondo is that there is a course for every level of participant, right down to a casual family 12-mile ride,” says Olson. She credits the mass-participation and recreational nature of the Gran Fondo as causing the burgeoning popularity of the format. Grand Fondos events are springing up worldwide.

“Priority Health chose to be a title sponsor not only because of the very worthy cause, but because it gives the whole family the opportunity to get active and create a starting point for healthy living.”

Olson says the free registration for children under 12 and the European flavor of the family-oriented portion of the ride are great ways to introduce young people to endurance sports, a goal close to the hearts of her athletes and their community outreach efforts.

“Everyone should experience the camaraderie and exhilaration of a great ride. It’s a wonderful way to spend a day,” she said. “If we want our kids off the couch, we have to show them the way!”

Fast Facts About the Gran Fondo

• 12 Mile family ride
• 40 Mile ride
• 80 Mile ride

Event Schedule
8:00 a.m. – Start for the 40-mile and 80-mile rides
9:30 a.m. – Start for the 12-mile family ride
Afternoon – After Sparty at the B.O.B. – Gears for Beers with Michigan microbrews and wine sampling, amazing street food stations and great live music
Afternoon – Herman Miller Brickyard Classic (nearby location)
Post event – Electronic timing and ride results posted at
To Register, or Learn More:

FREE Cycling Clinic: Prep for the Gran Fondo!

May 6th, 2013 by Cheryl Sherwood

Do you know someone that has been considering getting a little more involved in cycling? Tomorrow night (May 5th) we are offering a free clinic to prep for the Gran Fondo. There are 12 mile, 40 mile and 80 mile options. At this clinic, we’ll cover everything you need to know from equipment, to nutrition, to how to be fit and ready. We’ll give away a free training plan and raffle off a free registration. Click here for more info!

FREE XC Ski Clinic Hosted by Team Priority Health!

February 12th, 2013 by Cheryl Sherwood

Come experience XC skiing with free instruction provided by Team Priority Health and Nordic Ski Racer. Rental equipment is available and with the ability to make snow, conditions are guaranteed.

Read the rest of this entry »

Triathon 101- FREE Clinic

December 30th, 2012 by Cheryl Sherwood

Are you or someone you know thinking about trying a TRI in 2013? This free clinic put on by Athletic Mentors USAT Certified Coaches in conjunction with the Grand Rapids Triathlon is a great opportunity to hear what it’s about. Our coaches will discuss equipment, training, racing tips, smooth transitions and much more!

When: January 19th @ 9am
Where: YMCA – David D. Hunting Center (475 Lake Drive)
For more info and to register: Visit the GR Tri Website




Tri Swim Class Close to Capacity

December 19th, 2012 by Katie Whidden USAT certified coach

There are a few remaining spots in the triathlon swim class that starts January 6th. Click here for more information!

This 8 week class will be focused on improving your swim speed, endurance and efficiency.

Earlybird Pricing for Tri Swim Class Ends December 1st!

November 29th, 2012 by Cheryl Sherwood

Earn Cash for Volunteering at the MI Titanium Triathlon!!

July 25th, 2012 by Roxane Kippen, USA Triathlon Certified Coach

The directors of Michigan’s first ultra distance triathlon, the MI Titanium, are offering a $150 donation to any organization willing to provide 15-30 volunteers for an 8-hour shift on race day, August 26th. The race will host a half and full distance triathlon starting and finishing at Versluis Park in NE Grand Rapids. Athletic Mentors is a sponsor of the event knows that lots of volunteers are critical to the success of the race. So, if you know of a sports team, church group, or team of associates looking for a group outing to support healthy living, have them contact the MiTi Volunteer Coordinator, Melissa, at Volunteer orientation and training will take place on August 23rd at 6:30 pm, so no experience necessary!

2012 Basketball Camp – Spread the Word!

May 31st, 2012 by Athletic Mentors


Check out this outstanding 10-week camp for varsity basketball players looking to ratchet their power, precision and play!

This camp is a great opportunity for athletes who are at the Junior Varsity or Varsity Level looking to improve their basketball skills.Anyone interested to improve their basketball skills can check out this great post by Mega Slam Australia to begin with. Our intensive summer camps feature specific training modules within the areas of Physical, Mental, Nutritional and Recovery management. From energy systems development to micro and macro nutrition and recovery strategies, our players emerge as well-developed athletes powered by the perseverance and commitment that transcends talent. Our unique blend of performance-powered mental and physical conditioning coupled with precise skill development is designed for serious players who want to ratchet up their level of play.
Read the rest of this entry »