Dover Police Youth Academy members put through their paces

CrossFit Killshot owner and reality TV personality Javi Marroquin keeps a close watch as members of the Dover Police Department Youth Academy learn to catch poles Thursday before they fall after being let go by a teammate. The drill teaches fast reaction, agility and coordination. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

SMYRNA — Javi Marroquin promised a high-intensity hour but the workout stretched to 70 minutes.

There was so much to accomplish — including several essential water breaks and quick rests — inside the CrossFit Killshot owner’s gymnasium Thursday morning.

Several law enforcement vehicles arrived at 8:30 a.m. sharp, loaded with officers and 14 kids attending this summer’s two-week Dover Police Department Youth Academy.

Mr. Marroquin welcomed the visitors with a smile and quick introduction, then stretched them out and then led a quick jog down Artisan Drive in Smyrna.

The first step was designed to spike up heart rates and then lower them as the multi-faceted workout commenced, complete with standard situps and squats, along with rowing exercises, runs, pedaling stationary bikes and snatch lifts.

The fast-paced activity came as music blared and a clock above counted down time to complete the sessions.

Mr. Marroquin, who was featured on MTV’s “Teen Mom 2”, goes over the schedule with Dover Police Youth Academy members for a one-hour physical training class at his CrossFit Killshot gym in Smyrna.

Near the end, 26-year-old Mr. Marroquin advised the kids that “You all are finding a niche, whether it’s CrossFit or any other physical fitness activity.

“If it’s anything you’re passionate about stick with it.”

Youth Academy Coordinator Cpl. James Piazza said he’s tried to improve the academy program each year, and thanks to Mr. Marroquin, the 2019 program enhanced it from the year before. It was quite a day for the kids, who experienced a graduation ceremony at Elizabeth W. Murphey School later in the day.

Police instructors sought to introduce the kids ages 11 to 14 to a different kind of exercise approach to cap the academy. Mr. Marroquin’s six-year active United States Air Force stint fit the bill.

“Javi’s overall demeanor works for this. He runs a military-style CrossFit program that incorporates principles of everything we want our kids to strive for — to be a leader, to step up and separate yourself from everyone else, to do the right thing when no one else is looking, not to be comfortable with ordinary but work to become extraordinary,” Cpl. Piazza said.

“Javi shares many of the core principles that police have. He’s not rigid and strict and presents himself as an ordinary person and kids can relate to that.”

Dorelle Ngadeu, 14, described the program as “intense but fun at the same time. (Mr. Marroquin) is very motivating, very encouraging and seems like a really nice guy.”

Ethan Sapp, 11, said the workout was “pretty fun, makes you breathe a lot and makes you stronger.”

Mr. Marroquin — father of sons ages 5 and 7 months old — returned the compliment, saying he was impressed by the youth’s “camaraderie, their unity, their politeness. This is their graduation day. They’ve been together for 10 days. I’m trying to get them to crack a smile, they made it.”

Dover Police Youth Academy member Codishay Strayer, 13, of Camden goes through a warm-up routine at the CrossFit Killshot gym in Smyrna Thursday.

An Allentown, Pennsylvania native, Mr. Marroquin never blinked when approached by Dover PD Patrolman First Class Anthony Smith to host a CrossFit introduction to the youths.

“He’s a family man himself who always wants to help out kids in the community,” said Pfc. Smith, who coordinates the Police Athletic League and has partnered with Mr. Marroquin before.

“He specially created a program for them that’s fun and energetic.”

The CrossFit gymnasium opened in January after Mr. Marroquin — who had a 2015 season role on MTV’s “Teen Mom 2” reality series — transplanted himself in the area following an assignment to Dover Air Force Base.

Mr. Marroquin leads a run down Artis Drive in Smyrna Thursday.

“This is what I’m passionate about,” Mr. Marroquin said. “Being active and fit is so important these days and personally I’m always trying to get better at something each day.”

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