Our coaches at DSC, come from a broad background of knowledge, and life experiences.  We look good on paper, but are even better in real life…

Thaddeus Eshelman-  Owner, Head Coach, Program Design
Certifications: CrossFit Trainer Level One certified,  Gym Jones Level One Certified, Training for Warriors Certified, Coaches Prep Course, Olympic Lifting Certified, CrossFit Kids Certified, Mobility Certification, Gymnastics Certification, Rowing Certification, Goal Setting certified, CrossFit Football certified, Whole 30 Nutrition Clinic, EMT Certified
Thad has been a lifelong athlete participating in any sport they would let him play.  From an early age he found two sports that he loved, Wrestling and Soccer. He began coaching youth sports while still in high school.  He was a Basalt High School boys and girls soccer coach, and he is currently a Basalt High School and Middle School Wrestling coach.
In 2009 he attended his first CrossFit class and found his newest athletic and coaching endeavor.  In the summer of 2010 he and his wife Makenzie opened Glenwood Springs CrossFit. Outside of the gym he enjoys hiking, biking, skiing, and snowmobiling.  Thad is passionate about coaching people toward their potential. He is great at making those around him better.
Makenzie Eshelman– Owner, Head Coach, Program Design
 Certifications: CrossFit Trainer Level One certified, Training For Warriors Certified, CrossFit Kids Certified, Mobility Certification, CrossFit Gymnastics Certification, Olympic Lifting Certified, Coaches Prep Course, CrossFit Football certified,  Whole 30 Nutrition Clinic, Weightlifting Clinic with Paul Fleischer, Weightlifting Clinic with Olympian Holley Mangold, Self Myofascial Release Clinic with Jeff Alexander, AED/CPR Certified, Habla Espanol

Makenzie Eshelman has had a life-long love of all things sport since her first soccer practice at the age of 5.  She played soccer, softball, basketball, and dabbled in Cross Country Running throughout High School.  In college she played intramural Basketball and Soccer, and was active at the local gym.  After graduation with a degree in Spanish Language and Literature (se habla espanol), she moved home to take the reins of as Head Coach of her old soccer team at Basalt High School, got married, and was promptly convinced by her husband Thad to try this “new workout called CrossFit.”  She convinced her friend Deanna to go with her, and on January 4th, everything changed. Together with Thad, they opened Glenwood Springs CrossFit in August 2010.  Most days now you can find Makenzie “running the empire” at her desk at the gym, training our newest members, and assisting on the floor with larger classes.  Her favorite part of training and owning Defiance Strength and Conditioning is the people. Watching people gain new found self-confidence, watching our members lose 50 lbs, watching a girl get her first pull-up, it never gets old, and is the best part of the job.
Deanna Spracher– Owner and Head Coach
Coach Certifications: CrossFit Level 3, CrossFit Kids, Mobility (SMR), CrossFit Gymnastics, Olympic Lifting, Goal Setting, Whole 30 Nutrition Clinic, FRCF Competitors Camp, Weightlifting Clinic with Paul Fleischer, AED/CPR Certified

Deanna Spracher’s passion for athletics and physical fitness began at a young age. This passion was evident at the age of 4, when she was enrolled in her first gymnastics class. She was a competitive gymnast until middle school when she found her love for team sports. This love continued throughout high school as a three sport athlete. Heading to college, Deanna knew that she wanted to pursue a degree studying the human body.  Deanna was working as a PT aide, when she began CrossFit in January of 2010. She knew immediately this was the field for her. Five months later, she completed her CrossFit Level 1 Certification. She joined the team at DSC in the fall of 2011. Alongside being a trainer, Deanna has been a high school basketball coach for the past 5 years. She understands the importance of strength and conditioning in the development of a high school athlete in order to reach their full potential.
Cory House- Owner, Defiance West, Head Coach and Program Design
Certifications: CrossFit Level One, CrossFit Kids

Cory grew up spending most of his time enjoying and playing team sports.  While studying Kinesiology in college he found CrossFit and has loved it ever since.  He started CrossFit the hard way by trying to learn from friends and the internet on his own.  Although he learned a lot during this time he highly suggests going to a gym with trainers from the start, so you are not relearning many of the movements and making progress much faster.
Cory is the head trainer and co-owner of Defiance West and looks forward to helping people improve their lifestyle by making healthier choices.  He wants people to work hard in the gym so they can have a fun out of the gym.

Matt Cova- Coach, Head Weightlifting Coach, and Kids Head Coach

Certifications: CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, USAW- Level 1 Sports Performance Coach, Weightlifting Clinic with Paul Fleischer, AED/CPR Certified


Matt’s childhood was active and filled with sports. Physical fitness was a given and maintained throughout the early years. One year of college changed all of that. After ballooning up to 250 pounds in 9 short months, something had to change. Many years later and he is still on the journey toward optimal health and fitness. In 2008, he started dabbling in “CrossFit” workouts and high intensity training while cross-training for climbing and skiing adventures. The immediate benefits were obvious and he was convinced. In 2012 he moved to Glenwood Springs and started attending GSCF, where he finally understood the benefits of training in a gym rather than on a school playground.
As an elementary school teacher, Matt passionate about educating the youth. This passion transfers to the gym environment and he seeks to educate children about the benefits of physical fitness and instill in them a lifelong interest in the “Iron Life”. Through CrossFit he has developed a love for the Olympic lifts and constantly pursue perfection with these elusive beauties.
Tara Applegate- Coach, Precision Nutrition Coach
Certifications:CrossFit Level One, Precision Nutrition Coach, Weightlifting Clinic with Paul Fleischer, Self Myofascial Release Clinic with Jeff Alexander

Tara Applegate joined Defiance Strength and Conditioning in 2011. Growing up in New England she participated on both her school and club indoor and outdoor soccer teams, nordic ski team, down hill racing, track and field, trail running and Hunter/Jumper riding. Upon graduation she attended St. Lawrence University where she rode competitively on their Equestrian Team for 4 years. She captained the team to two nationally ranked seasons her junior and senior year. Before becoming a Level One Certified Crossfit coach in 2013 Tara coached downhill skiing and hunt seat riding from beginners to intercollegiate athletes to amateurs competing on the winter circuits.Tara‘s interest include proper human mechanics, goal oriented training, nutrition and body image. She currently is Precision Nutrition certified and available for nutrition coaching and consultation. It is of great importance to her that her clients move well, eat well and are healthy over the longevity of their lifetime.
Christine Smalley- Coach
Certifications:  CrossFit Level One Certified
Christine has been a member at DSC for four years and is excited to share her love of fitness with others.  She has coached youth athletics for the last seven years and is looking forward to branching out.  She loves running, everything in CrossFit (besides heavy thrusters, which make her cry a little), and playing with her four year old son.  She is a high school social studies teacher during her free time.

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