Coaches

Coaches are what set a CrossFit box apart from the rest. This is what you pay for when you walk into a CrossFit gym, and the reason why you would pick one box over another.  That's exactly why you should choose CrossFit Watsonville. 

Our coaches come from different backgrounds, but we all have a common goal, which is to help our athletes become the best versions of themselves. CrossFit is not just a sport, but a Lifestyle, and our coaches are passionate about fostering a sense of community, and overall fitness. 

Janella ruotolo

L2-CF Coach/Gym Manager 

Coach Janella is a CrossFit L2 instructor, holds a L1 certificate for Olympic Weightlifting, as well as various other certifications for specialized CrossFit courses, and First Aid/CPR. 

In 2000, she moved from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Santa Cruz with her family, and currently lives in Watsonville with her husband and three dogs. 

In the early 2000s she sustained a back injury which made it difficult for her to exercise regularly and maintain the active lifestyle to which she was accustomed. After trying (and failing) with all the "conventional" approaches to fix her back pain, she learned to cope with chronic pain until, in 2015 she stepped into her first CrossFit gym-CrossFit Watsonville.

Looking for a new challenge, and an activity which could help her stay in shape, as she struggled with low back pain, she was able to strengthen her body and mind, and significantly reduce the amount of pain she had learned to cope with. She never looked back! 

Janella dedicated her life to to serving her community, working at non-profit organizations, with a special focus on serving the underprivileged, people with disabilities, and monolingual Spanish speakers. After working as a mental health counselor, she realized the drastic impact fitness, and healthy habits have on an individuals overall health and wellbeing; and decided to pursue CrossFit coaching full-time. 

Janella fosters a positive training environment, and is passionate about helping all athletes, from absolute beginners, to experienced ones, overcome self-doubt, remove self-imposed limitations, and achieve their full potential, not only in the gym, but in life. She strives to support her athletes, as they make that mind/body connection that is essential to  accomplishing their goals. 

"Knowing that I get to play a small part in helping another human accomplish a goal, or overcome a fear, and become the best version of themselves; not just for now, but for the long run? That is why, I love coaching CrossFit. Because it works." 



Cat Bechtold 

L2-CF Coach

Coach Cat is a CrossFit L2 instructor. She also holds various other CrossFit specialty course certifications, and has completed the Burgener Strength Weightlifting course which specializes in teaching the Olympic lifts. She is currently pursuing a degree in Kinesiology and her CPT license. 

Cat has been a CrossFit athlete since 2012. Before this, she was an avid runner, and obstacle course participant. In the last 5 years she has taken up competing in Strongman and powerlifting meets. She currently lives in Watsonville, with her husband, two active teens, two dogs and a kitty. She is a Disneyland fanatic and #1 SF Giants fan. 

Cat is passionate about helping our athletes become the best version of themselves. 

She fell in love with CrossFit, because through it she learned to love herself. This is a feeling she wants to share with everyone that comes through the door. 


PETE JOHNSON

L1-CF Coach

Hi, my name is Pete. Like a lot of people that find CrossFit, I was very athletic and involved in sports when I was younger but then didn't make fitness a priority in my 20's. I had played soccer starting at age 6 thru High School and also played on competitive club teams here in Watsonville. When I decided to "get back in shape" I had heard about CrossFit and gave it a shot. It was everything I was looking for and more.
I started CF in 2011 in Santa Cruz but switched to CF Watsonville when it opened and have been here almost every day since day one. I also train for and have completed over 30 GORUCK endurance events and train others for these types of events thru our GORUCK Training Partner program.
I enjoy coaching other athletes and find it very rewarding when someone comes up to me after a class and thanks me for helping them in some way, whether it was a cue I gave them that helped them move better or motivating them through a tough workout and showing them that they are capable of so much more than they think.

JASON HIGHBARGER

Owner / Head Coach



Jason, (a.k.a. “J-Dog”), the original “CrossFit OG” has over 20 years experience as a Strength and Conditioning Coach and Performance-Nutrition Consultant and a legitimate 20 years of CrossFit experience, having started with Coach Greg Glassman in the early 90′s. Jason was personally mentored by Greg “Coach” Glassman, the founder of CrossFit, and thus has a rather unique perspective of having intimately witnessed CrossFit’s evolution from the beginning, back before there ever was “crossfit.com”, the “CrossFit Journal”, a “CrossFit Certification”, or a “CrossFit Affiliate”. He is an “Original CrossFitter” who has spent a great deal of time studying and honing his craft an attending a multitude of seminars on mobility, weightlifting, gymnastics, nutrition
and related topics.
Jason has worked with an extensive scope of athletes and abilities. He has trained clients as young as 4 and as old as 90, ranging from those who have never worked out before in their lives, to “weekend warriors”, to pregnant women, to Professional athletes, MIL, LEO and FIRE clients who’s lives and livelihoods very much depend on their health, fitness and ability to perform under duress. He has helped clients rehab a multitude of injuries, ranging from common athletic back, knee, shoulder, ankle, wrist and elbow injuries, to patellar-femoral syndrome and hip replacement surgery, to those recovering from horrific accidents.
Jason is well known amongst the community for personally donating countless hours of his time every year to clients and athletes with special circumstances, such as “at-risk” youth, those recovering from violent car accidents, charity events raising money for families stricken with cancer, and scholarship programs for young athletes.
While Jason’s background and experience is quite broad and inclusive, his specialty is working with, mentoring, and developing serious competitive athletes in all sports and professions who are striving for athletic dominance. He has competitive clients in Junior High, High-School, D-1A Collegiate, and Professional ranks, including NFL, MLB, and MMA, as well as MIL, LEO and FIRE.
“My service and commitment to my clients is what fuels my existence. I love what I do. I am very driven to help improve the lives of my clients, not only in their sport/profession and pursuit of athletic dominance, but in their lives as a whole.” –
-Jason “J-Dogg” Highbarger

PATRICK LEAMER

Owner / Coach
Hi my name is Patrick. I was a tech worker for ten plus years when I found CrossFit. I initially did it to get in shape so I could survive the rigors of having a newborn baby and a demanding work schedule. I continued to do it because I love it. Not only is it one of the fastest most efficient ways to get in shape, it is fun. I have always had a passion for fitness and I absolutely love watching people achieve goals. In 2012 I quit my tech job to focus on family and pursue a dream of opening up a gym. Here we are!
patrick@crossfitwatsonville.com

Roy Nava 

L1- CrossFit Coach

Hello, my name is Roy. I was born and raised here in Watsonville. I've been active most of my life, being involved in sports since I was 5 yrs old. After high school, I had sustained so many injuries, I slowly stopped exercising and gained a lot of weight.  
I got tired of being out of shape, so one day I decided to walk into a local CrossFit box, and become a member...the rest is history. 

I've been a part of the CrossFit community since 2014, and in February of 2021 I obtained a L1 CrossFit certificate. I have been very fortunate to surround myself by amazing coaches and athletes, and gaining a lot of knowledge over the years. So I took a chance at becoming a coach, to pass the knowledge I've acquired over the years along to others, and help them pursue and achieve their fitness goals. 

Crossfit Watsonville

57 A HANGAR WAY,

WATSONVILLE, CA 95076

Phone. (831) 687-8239

Email. INFO@CROSSFITWATSONVILLE.COM

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