Sports: Field Hockey & CrossFit
Born: April 13, 1977
Michelle Vizzuso was born April 13, 1977 in Fairfield Township. Quick and coordinated, with amazing strength and stamina, she excelled in a number of youth sports. Michelle and her sister, Lorraine, practically destroyed the family basement practicing their field hockey shots. By the time Michelle entered West Essex High School in North Caldwell, she had become a high-scoring field hockey forward. She demolished the record books playing for the Knights, who had a long tradition of excellence in the sport. She set new state records for goals in a season with 69, and graduated with the career record of 145. Her 345 points in four varsity season remains a state record, too.
Michelle led Linda Alimi’s West Essex squad to three state titles. In 1994, she began playing for the national team in under-21 tournaments. By the time she graduated in 1995, she was on the top of every college recruiting list in the country. Michelle decided to accept a scholarship from the University of Virginia.
Michelle was ACC Rookie of the Year in 1996 and earned All-America recognition in each of her four varsity seasons with the Cavaliers, with first-team status in 1997 and 1998. She led the Cavaliers in scoring as a senior with 53 points and broke the school for career assists, with 60. That number ranks in the Top 20 NCAA all-time. Michelle was also the first player in ACC history to total 50-plus goals and 60-plus assists, and established new UVA records for career games and game-winning assists.
Michelle began playing for the national senior team in 1997. A few years earlier she had attended camps run by Kelli James and Tracey Fuchs. Now she was playing beside them in international competition. She was a member of the silver medal-winning team at the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg—the same year she returned to Virginia as a member of the coaching staff. Also in 1999, Michelle was honored by the Newark Star-Ledger as the state’s Field Hockey Player of the Century.
When Team USA failed to qualify for the 2000 Olympics, Michelle—who was now married to Casey Crawford (left), a UVA grad and NFL tight end—retired as an active player and began coaching at Wake Forest, where she was attending law school. She practiced law in the Charlotte area and had two daughters. Eventually, Michelle discovered CrossFit, which combined her competitive fire with her love of fitness. To the surprise of no one, she became one of the nation’s most successful CrossFit athletes.
Michelle now owns and operates Rising CrossFit in the upscale Ballantyne section of Charlotte, North Carolina.