About Us2018-12-31T22:25:29+00:00



Donna Benjamin, Owner

I began CrossFit in 2010, and since opening CrossFit Homeward in 2016, I have fallen in love with training all over again. Our mission is to provide wellness to a broad spectrum of adults and youth. Our Coaches are incredible people inside and outside the gym. Graduated University of Virginia 1989, BA and University of Chapel Hill, 2001, Master of Social Work. I’m a lifetime student of health and wellness.

Faith Stewart, Manager

I am originally from Philadelphia, where I played soccer and lacrosse in high school and ran half-marathons for fun. I have a background in equestrian showjumping, which I pursued for more than a decade with Olympian, Lisa Jacquin, before transitioning into fitness for time. I have been a Crossfit athlete for five years and a Crossfit coach for three.

I started Crossfit while pursuing my undergraduate degree in Military History and Political Science at Duke and fell in love with the sport immediately. I began coaching soon after, as I enjoyed the transformative impact of Crossfit on my own life and hoped to be able to enact similar changes for other people. I love coaching the progressions to higher-level skills and Olympic weightlifting, and currently wouldn’t be caught dead running for fun. I enjoy coaching, training, and have personal aspirations to compete at an elite level in the sport of fitness.

Sage Holley

I am originally from Durham, North Carolina and have returned to the area after attending Appalachian State. I started CrossFit after watching the Games and felt that varied fitness training could act as a supplement to my lacrosse and football training. I enjoy CrossFit because unlike other training methodologies, the sport requires a wide variety of skills and strengths in order to complete the range of workouts presented in regular CrossFit workouts.

I have done CrossFit and Olympic weightlifting for almost five years, and remain engaged in the process of providing people with a way to participate in an encouraging and competitive fitness atmosphere.

Ashley Bishop

Bio: I am the proud mom of my amazing 9-year-old son, Kai. I received my BS in Physical Education with an emphasis in Outdoor & Experiential Education from Winthrop University in 1999. I’m well versed in a variety of coaching methodologies and have led outdoor experiences like ropes courses, kayaking, and climbing in addition to my time coaching Crossfit.

I discovered and subsequently fell in love with CrossFit in January 2012, and obtained my CrossFit Level 1 the following year. I am driven by a passion for helping others to live their healthiest lives. I am energized by helping people discover that their strengths and abilities are far beyond what they could imagine. The combination of Crossfit coaching, massage & bodywork experience, and personal training has proven to be a well-blended approach to my career in the health and wellness field.

Michael Tancini

I started training when I was 14, long before I’d heard of Crossfit. In pursuit of a career in college baseball, I trained in both powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting, as well as more traditional speed and agility training. I continued these training protocols throughout my time playing baseball in college. I started Crossfit in 2010, and since then I have qualified for and competed at four Crossfit Regionals (3x Individual: 2012, 2013, 2014, 1x Team: 2017), Wodapalooza (Elite Division: 2015), and the Granite Games in 2015 on a team.

Currently, I am a Doctor of Physical Therapy at my business, Ground to Overhead Physical Therapy, and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. When I’m not working with athletes to address their pain and dysfunction through physical therapy, I enjoy helping athletes to optimize their performance and stay pain-free in the gym! My goal is to help athletes perform their best, stay healthy, and optimize their health and wellness through improved fitness and movement quality.

Audrey Tancini

I am a native of New Mexico where I grew up on a dairy farm and played outside as much as humanly possible. I swam and played volleyball and softball throughout my younger years. I settled on swimming when my family moved to Chapel Hill in 1997. I swam competitively year round and for Chapel Hill High (GO TIGERS!). I attended UNCW where I took a hiatus from exercise and became an elementary school teacher.

I returned to Chapel Hill in 2008 and made a pact with a friend to get into shape. We set a New Years resolution to train for the Tar Heel 4 Miler. And ta-da I fell in love with exercise again, which led me to Crossfit. After one class I was hooked. I quickly became certified to coach and began competing in local competitions. Since then I have competed in the Open every year, at the Granite Games, and at Wodapalooza. I love Crossfit because it helped rekindle my love for exercise, structured training, and competition. Also, I met my husband at the CF gym (xoxo). I love helping people set and meet goals and allowing them to discover the path to being their best self. If I am not at the gym you can find me playing with my dog Sadie, studying for Grad School (currently working on my masters in Special Ed), or drinking an iced coffee with Michael.

Amanda Utevsky

I am from New York City where I grew up training in gymnastics and ice skating. After a bad back injury, I turned to weight lifting for rehab and quickly fell in love with lifting weights and feeling stronger. I was introduced to CrossFit in 2011 through boot camp-style community classes and joined a box soon after.

The camaraderie, exhilaration, and measurable progress got me hooked. I love sharing my passion for CrossFit style metcons and lifting heavy barbells with anyone I can get in the gym. I recently completed my PhD in Psychology and Neuroscience from Duke, and when not in the gym, I enjoy hanging out with my husband and pups and having a casual drink out in Durham.

Hugh Swaso

The most important thing about physical fitness is carry over into your day to day life. No matter what your fitness goal is, as long as your “Quality of Life” improves, then you’re taking a step in the right direction. I am a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Fascial Stretch Therapist, with a specialization towards corrective exercise.

My goal at CrossFit Homeward is to guide, educate, and inspire all of our members to achieve their individual and collective goals.

Scott Carroll

With a distance running and beer league hockey background, I started Crossfit in 2014. I am a Firefighter and EMT in Chapel Hill, and I started coaching in hopes of sharing the knowledge and skills I learned as an athlete with other members of the CFH community.

Molly Leiker

I am from Huntersville, NC where I grew up playing competitive soccer and swimming. When I was a junior in high school, I went to my first CrossFit class and immediately fell in love with it. I moved to Chapel Hill in 2015 to start my undergraduate degree at UNC-Chapel Hill. I got my CrossFit Level One in the summer of 2016 and have been coaching ever since.

I was also fortunate enough to work under two CrossFit Level One flow masters for a summer at Reebok CrossFit One in Boston. I have a passion for helping people reach their health and fitness goals. When I’m not in the gym, you can find me cooking a new recipe, reading a book, or exploring new places with my friends.

Autumn Philyaw

I am from Hickory, North Carolina where I grew up playing soccer and softball but ended up cheerleading in middle school and high school. My senior year in high school I started going to the gym with one of my friends and immediately fell in love with fitness. I’ve been doing CrossFit specifically for a little over a year. I am currently a senior at UNC Chapel Hill, GO HEELS!

I am an Exercise and Sport Science- Fitness Professional Major and absolutely love it. In the past year, I have received my NASM-CPT and CF-L1. I love lifting heavy barbells and the “lift and sit method”. One thing I love about CrossFit is the community that the sport builds and the friendships made when you join a box. When not in the gym, I enjoy eating cheeseburgers and going out with friends.

Jamie Taylor

I have been a Licensed Massage Therapist for 18 years, a CrossFit athlete for five, and a CrossFit coach for three. I started CrossFit in 2012 in a gym that first started as a shed in the woods. Recently, I’ve traded out the shed spiders as gym partners for my son, Achilles, and my newborn, Thea.

My goal at CrossFit Homeward is to guide, educate, and inspire all of our members to achieve their individual and collective goals.

Eric Horlbeck

I have been studying the effortless magic of Aikido Kokikai’s principles applied to human movement since 1983. My current focus is complementing whole body functional strength and fitness training with mind/body coordination and awareness. The combination produces astonishing results! I am a husband and a father actively involved with my boy’s Scouting and school activities. I enjoy ballroom dancing and training Sadie, my dog.


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