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The youngest of four siblings, Ence grew up in the dance studio, spending her childhood studying ballet, jazz and musical theater alongside softball, soccer, gymnastics and swimming.
“I’ve always wanted to be good at everything,” she says.
Feeling lightheaded as she locked out the weight, she was tempted to go for a more modest 235 pounds on her second attempt instead of the 242 pounds her coach, Michael Caza-youx, had prescribed.
“My first impression was: I’ve been athletic my entire life, and this is something that would make me a better athlete,” she says.
“One of the biggest things [dance] has given me is total body awareness,” she says.
“That’s what I attribute to my ability with the Olympic lifts and catching onto movements fairly quickly — it’s because of body awareness and being able to watch someone do something and do the exact same thing with my body because I’ve literally done that my whole life.” In 2011, Ence helped team Ute Cross Fit earn second place and its second trip to the Games at the Southwest Regional, though she did not compete on the team in Carson that summer, subbed out by Hackenbruck for a more experienced athlete.
The couple moved to Santa Cruz in 2012, and Ence worked in a local coffee shop before passing the Level-1 certificate course and taking a coaching position at Cross Fit West Santa Cruz.
Still, it wasn’t until the fall of 2013 that she decided to commit to training as a Cross Fit athlete.