Streat’s Road To The Games


I am writing this blog to speak a bit about Streat’s journey as I knew it from the day I met him at CrossFit Dubuque to the present day. His athletic journey started long before that, as he was always active in sports and wasn’t brand new to the sport of CrossFit when I was first introduced to him, which was right after his 78th placing in the 2015 CrossFit Open.

Let me start by saying that Streat is one of the hardest working athletes I have ever had the pleasure of training and working with—very likely THE hardest working athlete, truth be told. He will do whatever is asked of him to do and he always keeps his ego in check. He is a very humble athlete who shows consistency, perseverance, and is always patient with the process.

It didn’t take me long after meeting Streat and working with him that I realized that he had some pretty serious potential in the sport. He had a fantastic build for the sport, he had a great strength and aerobic base, and he moved exceptionally well. I knew he was going places, but I never knew with any certainty how far or when it would all start to click.

I want to be honest about 2 distinct times throughout our approximately 2 year relationship that I coached Streat where I was wrong about him—where I underestimated his abilities—and I want to openly admit those major misjudgments not only to Streat, but also openly to my community as well as to myself for the sake of personal growth, transparency, and honesty.

The first time I felt I had misjudged Streat was during the 2016 CrossFit Open. I honestly thought at that time that 2017 was realistically the year that he was going to be able to qualify for Regionals. I still had my sights set on 2017 as the year Streat would qualify for Regionals—in my eyes, we were doing the Opens more or less as a benchmark, but I honestly didn’t foresee that his season would continue after those 5 weeks of testers.

I was wrong.

Streat qualified 12th place in the Opens that year in the North Central Region and went on to Regionals, where he finished 21st place—right in the middle of the pack. I knew he was good and I knew he had potential, but his rate of adaptation exceeded my expectations. I was wrong about how good he was at that point in time during the Opens and felt guilty about that underestimation. After his season was over in 2016, we went back to the drawing board and came up with a training plan to get him back to Regionals in 2017.

I had the pleasure of continuing to work with Streat as his coach until the completion of the Opens in 2017, at which point due to his physical location as well as his involvement with CrossFit Kilo and the fantastic athletes they produce there, it made so much more sense for us to part our coach/athlete relationship at that time and for him to train full time with other Regional-level athletes in person. So, to be clear and transparent about my level of involvement, I have not been responsible for the progress he has made since the Opens this year (2017), but I still considered him to be just as much a part of us and our community as he was before.

This year, I had confidence that he would qualify yet again for Regionals, since he had continued to improve and his rate of adaptation was certainly competitive with others at his level. I also felt with certainty that he would qualify higher than he did the year before at Regionals—I thought top 10 was well within his reach, and top 5 was possible, but 2018 was more likely going to be his year for the Games…after all, time has always been on Streat’s side being as simultaneously young and great as he is in the sport.


To say that Streat exceeded expectations hits the nail on the head—I have always been impressed with what he’s able to do, but he worked so well under pressure and was such a professional, focused athlete who just simply delivered. He ended up in 2nd place in the Central Regionals (not to mention the margin between 1st and 2nd came down to a tiebreaker!).

I felt simultaneously extremely proud and happy for him and his entire family, but I also felt a pang of guilt. My guilt stemmed from the fact that I have underestimated him twice now during his athletic career, and I think a coach should always be the one dangling the carrot out and expecting more and more than they can possibly achieve…to continue to push the limits of human potential. To have an athlete fall short of a hard-to-reach expectation means you were driving him; to have him exceed your expectations twice now left me thinking I didn’t go far enough. When think of the things I may have done right and wrong as a coach with him, I believe that this is where I failed the most. Streat has been capable of so much more than I suspected and improved at a rate that is faster than I could have predicted. Granted, especially in this sport, there are so many factors and variables from one event to another that it makes prediction incredibly difficult.

Streat, I’m proud of you beyond words, and I am glad to have been a small part in your upbringing as an athlete. Working with you has been a fantastic learning experience for me as a coach, and while there are always things we would have done different or better in hindsight, I have very few regrets and couldn’t be happier with your progress in our two years of working together. I am also incredibly grateful to have been able to get to know you and your entire family during your journey, as they are truly some of the best people I’ve ever had the pleasure of spending time with.

In closing, one thing I will say with certainty about Streat is that he will continue to impress us all and excel at anything he works hard at, in and out of the gym. You make me and the entire CFD family proud and honored, and I hope you know that you have a large community of people who are cheering you on.

Thank you for the journey!

—Coach Phil