Athlete Profile: Andres Juan Benjamin Arango, Will Alicea, and Nelson Quezada

Andres, Will, and Nelson are part of our Steve’s Club NYC program, an affiliate of Steve’s Club National.  Steve’s Club and its participating members provide a national network of programs through which youth from disadvantaged backgrounds are given the opportunity to improve their health, fitness, and personal development.

Get involved by donating to Steve’s Club NYC online, and get ready for our annual Beat The Streets fundraiser on Saturday, September 22nd!

Name: Andres Juan Benjamin Arango, Will Alicea, and Nelson Quezada

A – Harlem, NY
W – Bronx, NY
N – Bronx, NY

Year in School:
A – College freshman
W – HS Senior
N – HS Senior

Part of Steve’s Club Since:
A – I forget exactly; whenever it first started at CFV
W – August 2011
N – October 2011

Favorite WOD or Movement:

A – I like pretty much all of the workouts, but the ones with ring dips and thrusters definitely challenge me the most. I like squats, deadlifts, and box jumps.

W – My favorite workout is Elizabeth [21, 15, 9 reps of: Clean (135#), Ring Dips]. I love butterfly pull-ups – I can usually breeze through them because I’m fast and explosive. I also love box jumps – I can do them for days.

N – I love the muscle up because I recently did my first one. I’d have to say Isabel [30 snatches (135#)] is my favorite workout because it’s one continuous movement. The less brain power you have to use on remembering a rep/movement scheme, the more physical power you can put into the workout.

Least Favorite WOD or Movement:

A – I hate the push press because it hurts my shoulders.

W – Barbara [5 rounds for time: 20 pull-ups, 30 push-ups, 40 sit-ups, 50 squats. 3 minutes rest between rounds] and the overhead squat. Both of those are just painful.

N – I only tried Diane [21-15-9 reps of: Deadlift (225#), HSPUs] once, but I could only complete the first set. It was awful. I hate double unders because I can never get it.

How did you get involved in Steve’s Club?

A – I used to wrestle at Beat the Streets ( and one of the coaches, Michael, said we should come down to CrossFit Virtuosity and workout. I wanted to be a better athlete so I came. It challenged me, so I kept coming back.

W – My friend from Beat the Streets introduced me to it. When I first came to Steve’s Club, they beat the crap out of me. I wanted to cry it was so painful, but I kept coming back because I loved it. Now I tell everyone about it.

N – I got involved the same way as Andres and Will. Most people who come to Steve’s Club are from Beat the Streets and go to our high school.

What do you enjoy most about the program?

A – I like working out with other people because I know I wouldn’t push myself as hard if I was working out by myself. I use other people as a marker for where I should be. I’m not upset if I don’t come out in first place because that’s not my goal – I just want to work as hard as I can.

W – The people. I love coming to CrossFit Virtuosity because all of the people are so friendly and motivating. Sam, Blanco, Matt, Nikki. They all help make us better athletes.

N – I like how the coaches use us as examples for what not to do. Some people might see that as a bad thing, but I appreciate the opportunity to improve my technique. I had a horrible front rack position, but because the coaches kept pointing it out and reminding me of what I should be doing, I eventually fixed that bad position.

Have you entered any competitions? How did you do?

A – We all did the CF Apex Challenge. I took fourth overall.

W – The Apex Challenge was tough! So many workouts compressed into one day. I think we did 3 lifts and 2 workouts. It was the first time I ever did a sled drive – it was 200m uphill, then 200m downhill with a 95# sled. I couldn’t feel my legs after I stopped.

N – Will came in 6th, I came in 12th place. It was the most exhausting day of my life. They put the deadlift ladder at the end of the day. You start off at 165# and progressively get heavier – I ended up at 295#. It was painful, but a lot of fun. I gained a lot from that competition.

What are your goals both in and out of the gym?

A – Inside the gym, my goal is to always push myself until I fail. I don’t like holding back. When someone tells me to do a workout, I always try to do the heaviest and go the hardest that I can. I just graduated high school and started college, so I want to do well and excel in my courses.

W – I want to get really proficient in all of the movements – the clean & jerk, push press, deadlift, back squats.. everything. I want to be a strong overall athlete. I want to back squat 315#. When I’m wrestling at school, I want to be the best athlete on the mat.

N – The main reason I started Steve’s Club / CrossFit Virtuosity was to get better at wrestling. I wanted (and still want to) get as strong as possible, lose some weight, and ultimately, get better at wrestling. Since I started working out here, I’ve only met one person stronger than me and that’s Will.

Do you play any sports / do anything athletic outside of Steve’s Club? If so, how has Steve’s Club helped you prepare for that?

A – I’m a lifeguard, and you definitely have to be in great shape to save drowning people in city pools. I just started swimming this year, but CFV prepared me both mentally and physically to handle anything pool-goers may throw my way.

W – I’m more explosive, I last longer on the mat, I don’t die out at the end of a wrestling match. If someone beats me in wrestling, it’s not because of a lack of strength or endurance, it’s because of my technique. I have this mental toughness that I’ve never had before. I never did a 225# front squat but I told myself I could do it. It was the bar or me, and I chose me.

N – Steve’s Club at CrossFit Virtuosity prepares you for wrestling physically, but more importantly, prepares you psychologically. Since starting here, I’ve never felt that I couldn’t beat my opponent. I’ve never been tired after a wrestling match. Seriously, never tired.

Any best Steve’s Club stories?

A – During my first competition at CF Apex, I had just completed an AMRAP workout with burpee box jumps, KB swings, and sit ups. After the workout, an older woman, possibly one of the competitor’s Grandma, came up to me. She said, “You inspired me today.” No one had ever said that to me before, but I was flattered.

W – The first day, I didn’t know what to expect. I had never heard of CrossFit – they only told me it was a gym. I walked into this concrete warehouse with barbells and plates everywhere and was instantly intimidated. I didn’t understand the workouts at all. I think my first workout involved front squats (what an awkward position)… all I remember is being tired and hungry after that first day.

N – One day we were working with the big resistance bands around our waists. Your partner had to hold the band while you ran and touched a medicine ball about 10-15 feet away. Nikki and I were head to head the entire time. On the last run, Blanco moved the ball at the last second and I flew back.

What would you say to teens and kids considering CrossFit?

A – Do it. Anything that’s good for you and will help you improve is going to be hard at first. You improve just by coming back. When I was wrestling, sometimes we’d get injured but we’d come anyway because you can get a lot out of just watching and being in the environment.

W – The sooner you join CrossFit, the better. After the first day, you’re already better than you were before. It’s going to be painful, you might be scared, but as soon as you start you’ll start becoming a better person.

N – Everyone says they want to be in shape, but if you really want to be in great shape and get stronger, this is the best place to do it. No matter what sport you do, this is the best place to train. Once you start CrossFit, you’ll never feel like you aren’t good enough to achieve your goals.

Who’s your favorite athlete and why?

A – Besides me? …I can’t think of anyone.

W – Annie Thorisdottir. When I try to get female athletes into CrossFit, I always talk about Annie. She is in tip top shape.

N – Matt Chan. I think people see him as an underdog, but he came in second place overall at the CF Games this year. I can relate to being an underdog.

What do you want to be when you grow up? / After high school?

A – I graduated high school in June with a 93 average for my senior year. I’m going to CCNY (City College of New York) for engineering. I’m in the SEEK Program, which stands for “Search for Education, Elevation and Knowledge”. It gives students like me the opportunity to excel by providing financial help and some leeway in academics. I enjoy math, people, and traveling. Once I finish college, it would be awesome to find a job that combines the three of those.

W – I want to go to Columbia or MIT. I’m not sure what I want to major in, but I’m considering architecture. I also want to be a trainer because I’m inspired by all of the trainers at CFV. I love motivating people and leading by example.

N – After I graduate high school, I’m planning to major in architecture at college (I go to a trade high school that teaches architecture). If architecture doesn’t pan out, then I might study journalism. I’m a good writer (and I’m in the Honors English class!). I’m not sure where I’d like to go to college yet, I’m still considering my options. Will and I are always neck-and-neck in everything we do. He’s currently first in our class and I’m second by a point. We help each other. [Editor’s Note: Will has a 99 and Nelson has a 98 average].

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  1. Cheeks (Nikki G) August 6, 2012 at 9:31 am - Reply

    You Guys Are AWESOME!!!!!!!!

  2. Alex T. (7am) August 6, 2012 at 1:56 pm - Reply

    Keep up the great work! You guys are amazing.

  3. Dr. Mike August 6, 2012 at 6:37 pm - Reply

    What a great program! The Steve’s Club crew is a pleasure to have around the gym. Keep up the great work, ladies AND gentlemen.

  4. Nelson Q August 6, 2012 at 6:44 pm - Reply

    im not even in the picture

  5. elastigirl August 6, 2012 at 9:21 pm - Reply

    So great to read these stories! You guys are amazing!

  6. Maillard August 9, 2012 at 12:20 pm - Reply

    Really great interview….I see these guys training and some of them are super strong…its inspiring.

    Keep it up guys.

  7. Justin Ferris August 9, 2012 at 1:26 pm - Reply

    “I have this mental toughness that I’ve never had before. I never did a 225# front squat but I told myself I could do it. It was the bar or me, and I chose me.”

    Well said!

  8. Chaz August 12, 2012 at 4:12 pm - Reply

    Steves Club athletes inspire me to be a better coach. Congrats Andreas on winning the competition this weekend in Connecticut!

  9. belkys November 16, 2012 at 2:31 pm - Reply

    andrecito quien te escribe es la mama de gerardo este es mi correo cuando quieras puedes escribirme y gracias por querer tanto a mi nino para mi este golpe no ha sido facil un beso y saludos a todos sus amigos que lo recuerdan tanto

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