The Next Chapter

Trey Whitaker
5 min readMar 10, 2022


Effective April 1st, I will be transferring my ownership in Tolland CrossFit to a new partnership of DJ Harris and Dave Sutera. By April 1st, all responsibilities related to running the day-to-day operations will be shifted to DJ and Dave. In July, Cherry, Abbey and I will be relocating to Maui. In the interim, I hope to share more time with you at TCF.

With the creation of the TCF’s new leadership team, you have a partnership that will allow the community to evolve and build upon the success you’ve all helped create. I wish DJ, Dave and the TCF all the best and will continue to assist in any way possible.

When the 2022 CrossFit Open was approaching, I was thinking about how TCF athletes would perform now versus when they first joined. Based on what I’ve observed, I asked myself these two questions:

Is (athlete’s name) more capable since joining TCF in (month/year)? Has their overall well-being improved?

I have seen athlete after athlete become stronger and more fit. I’ve witnessed a community of athletes who have become friends that bolster and care about each other. As a group, you have made yourself and each other stronger in countless ways.

When I ask these same two questions about myself, I know that I’m not as physically able as I was when this journey began in 2016. That said, my life has been blessed by being immersed in this community of amazing people.

For a lifelong athlete, being physically less able is humbling. I’m truly excited to refocus. To be an athlete instead of an owner. To spend more of my time and energy on my family. To explore my interests in creating and adventuring.

Retirement isn’t about doing nothing, It’s about spending your time and energy doing what you prefer versus doing what needs to be done.

I’m thrilled to have had this experience. You have given me more than you can imagine. The community deserves the very best and I can no longer give that to you.

The early mornings and late nights take their toll. When you’re in the center, the flow of people coming and going takes a toll. Each departure hurts, at least, a little bit. Too many hikes with Abbey are spent thinking about what needs to be done versus enjoying the trail. At one time during the pandemic shutdown, I thought I might have the virus, but, as it turned out, it was just my heart aching at the prospect of losing this community.

When I look back at my life, I see photos of myself playing Little League baseball and Pop Warner football. Wearing mittens while shooting hoops in a snowy driveway. Hiking, parachuting, marathons, soccer, jujitsu and even standing on a couple podiums at CrossFit competitions. In retrospect, it’s clear that I should have been doing something like TCF instead of spending 35 years wearing a tie and sitting in an office. I share this in the hope that you don’t wait decades to follow your own passions.

This year, Cherry and I will mark our 33rd anniversary. If things go as planned, we’ll share that day with Caylee. They have been center of my world and my greatest joy. I’m certain that it will be wonderful to walk along with beach with them, but I will also be missing my friends at TCF.

There are far too many people to thank, but I would be remiss if I didn’t touch on my family’s support.

When I ran marathons, Cherry was there to massage out the soreness. When my grandparents and parents passed, Cherry was there to help me grieve. When I had cancer, she helped me recover. When I got mangled doing jujitsu, she helped me mend. She didn’t just support the dream of TCF, she painted and scrubbed. She gifted TCF the beautiful soaring eagle and lioness paintings that grace our building. Before there was a Cherry Clean Crew, she was the crew and cleaned the bathrooms hundreds of times. In the early days of TCF, when I arrived home after another long day, she’d urge me to eat when all I wanted to do was sleep. She kept me going. She’s always been there for me.

I can say, without a doubt, that seeing this community grow, persist, support, achieve and thrive has been one of the most magnificent experiences of my life. It has exceeded every expectation beyond my wildest of dreams. My only regret was not being able to share this with my parents, but am thrilled that my sisters, Penny and Whitney, and daughter, Caylee, were an integral part of the journey. It would take a novel to note all they did to support TCF and myself over the past five years. I cannot thank them enough.

Of course, there’s Abbey. When we first opened the doors of TCF, she was skittish and uncertain about all the people and the loud noises. Almost five years later, she excitedly jumps into the Jeep to see her friends at the box. She strolls around greeting members and checking for treats, guards us from the dreaded FedEx truck and has watched more workouts that anyone in TCF history. Thank you for showing her such kindness and care.

What will I miss?

The ERC gathering for a post-workout walking chat. Vikki’s woo-hoos. Being able to hear Tiffany’s booming laughter. CB’s pre-workout ‘Have Fun Guys!’ shout. The rolling of Alyssa’s eyes. Crystal trying to reign in the boisterous 10AM Sunday crowd. Matt talking Marcin and Bion into another bad idea workout. Chatting with the Cherry Clean Crew about Marvel movies and teen life. The big holiday and Open workouts when the energy swells to a roar. Talking and laughing with Gerald about sports, music and philosophy. The babies born, the marriages, the graduations, the new careers and the chats between lifts. Erasing the whiteboard after another month of PRs, but keeping the memories of the excited smiles and ringing bells. Watching teen athletes compete in their high school sports. Seeing awkward middle schoolers grow into license-holding young adults heading to university. Trivia nights, coffee chats and the three mile-a-day challenge. Burpeethons. Sitting outside the gym with my feet on a tire during a warm day. Seeing new coaches grow from the community. Looking back at the cleaned and organized gym at the end of night and flicking off the lights.

You’re an extraordinary lot. You’ve given me a lifetime of memories in just five years. Thank you to everyone that has walked through our doors.

My vision? By late summer, I will to be sitting on a beach on the South shore of Maui watching another spectacular sunset while Abbey plays in the surf nearby. This will be after a morning workout at CrossFit Aloha, a breakfast of acai bowls with Cherry, an afternoon spin class with Caylee and a few hours spent writing about and corresponding with the amazing people that have graced my life.

Being nearby might be preferable, but you’ll be in my heart every day. I like to believe that our paths will cross again and I’ll do my part to ensure that happens.

Until then, be well, stay safe and take care of each other.

Love you, Trey



Trey Whitaker

Former CrossFit gym owner, corporate manager, paratrooper, youth sports coach and jujitsu black belt. Now a trail steward at Haleakala National Park on Maui.