- Mike RizzutoPresident, Girl's Team CoachMike started coaching in the fall of 1973 at the Lancaster Gymnastics School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and was also the assistant coach at Franklin & Marshall College. He coached at both places until graduating from F&M in the spring of 1977, and coached his first elite gymnast in 1976. He became assistant coach at Dartmouth College in 1978 and took over the head coach position in 1979. Was head coach for three years, and hosted the Ivy League Championships in 1981. In 1982 he became the head coach at Karon's Gymnastics Center in Fairfax, Virginia, and coached his next elite gymnasts at Karon's, along with 15 scholarship athletes. In 1985 he moved to Durham, North Carolina to become the owner and head coach of Triangle Twisters Gymnastics center. In 1986 he became a National Safety Certification Instructor for USA Gymnastics and has presented courses all across the country. He coached Junior Olympic National gymnasts and 8 scholarship athletes at Triangle before moving to State College in 1989 to become the owner and head coach of Nittany Gymnastics Academy, Inc. He has coached three Junior Olympic National Championship participants at Nittany and has coached 12 gymnasts who continued on to participate at the collegiate level.
Mike attended the University of North Carolina and received his teaching certificate in Secondary Social Studies. He also received a LL.M. from Georgetown University Law Center, a J.D. from Vermont Law School and a B.A. from Franklin & Marshall College. He is an active member of USA Gymnastics and is a National Instructor for the USA Gymnastics University. He assisted in publishing the Safety and Risk Management Text for USA Gymnastics. In 1985, Mike attended a gymnastics coaching seminar in Moscow, U.S.S.R. and has based his coaching system in large part based on what he learned.
Athletics has been a passion of Mike's all his life, as a participant and a coach. As an elite level athlete in Team Handball, Mike was selected as player and coach for the the US Olympic Committee National Olympic Festivals. He also was selected to attend the National (Olympic Team) tryouts and was a staff member of the LA Olympic Organizing Committee Team Handball Venue.
He played 4 years of varsity football at Franklin & Marshall College and was a member of three conference championship teams including an undefeated team in 1976. Was selected the most improved player in the conference at Maine Endwell High School on their undefeated team which finished 7th in NY State for large schools in 1972.
In addition to gymnastics, Mike has coached youth football for 9 years, youth baseball (T-Ball - Babe Ruth Teener League) for 11 years. Founded Centre Bulldogs Youth Football Organization and was Vice President for 11 years. He was a member of the Board of Director and the Executive Committee of the United States Team Handball Federation (the governing body which was a member of the US Olympic Committee) and was the national chairman of Organization & Competition. Was selected to the second class of Leadership Centre County-Leadership Training program in 1993.
His wife, Jeannette, is co-owner of the gym and his daughter, Miranda, is a PA State Trooper and mother of a wonderful grandson, Dominic. Mike's sons, Michael & Marshall, are students at State College High School and play football and baseball for the school. He loves the outdoors when there is time to enjoy it.
- Jeannette RizzutoOwner
Co-owner of Nittany Gymanstics with Mike Rizzuto, Jeannette has been involved in all aspects of the business operations; from HR to marketing to billing and customer service. She owns and operates her own recruiting business; Rizzuto Solutions, and has been a business leader for over 25 years. Enjoying a wide array of sporting events and outdoor activities, it is hard to pin Jeannette down. All of their children; Miranda, Michael and Marshall have participated in gymnastics classes or team at Nittany. They also have instructed and coached various programs at the gym.
Jeannette’s current involvement with the gym is managing the Student Tracking software and Nittany’s web presence. She plans to continue supporting the gym and program purposes of a destination where” Fitness is Fun and Excellence is Achieved!”
- Amy Adamek RiefelManager & USAG Girls Team Head Coach
Amy began gymnastics at Olympia Gymnastics in Pittsburgh at the age of 5. She continued her competitive gymnastics career throughout the Pittsburgh area and finally ended up at Westmoreland Highlanders Gymnastics until the age of 16 when injury forced her out of competition. Although unable to compete, Amy began teaching classes and eventually started working with the team. While Amy was a student at Penn State University, she began working at Nittany. In 2001, focusing on the recreational classes and the recreational team. In 2003, after graduating from Penn State University, Amy took a full time position as the head coach of the girl’s competitive program. Amy has been the head coach now for 8 years and has helped the program grow. She started our Hot Shot program, the first level of our non-competitive groups which lead into our nationally competitive team. Amy wants to share her passion of the sport with the young ladies that come into our program, as well as the community at large. She knows that the sport of gymnastics has taught her many life skills and wants to make sure that the gymnasts she coaches gain the same skills from this wonderful sport.
Amy received her B.A. in Communications from Penn State University in 2003. She is USAG Safety Certified, CPR & First Aid Certified, and attended USAG National Congress the past 7 years for education and training in the sport of competitive gymnastics. She also attended the High Performance Clinic in 2011 for coaches who have had level 10 national competitors.
- Lesley HeebnerProgram Director - GymstarLesley had been a competitive gymnast for Dynamats in Williamsport for 5 years, a Dancer for 14 years and a Cheerleader for 7 years. She is Nittany's GymStar Director since 2010, managing the class programs operations, staffing and gymnasts progressions. Prior to joining Nittany, Lesley was the Program Director and instructor at The Little Gym of Hunt Valley, MD for 2 years. Upon returning to central PA, she resumed her role as Varsity Cheerleading coach with S. Williamsport School District. Over the years she has instructed private home cheerleading and dance camps.
Graduating Cum Laude with national Dean's List her Junior and Senior years, Lesley received her B.A. in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal justice in NYC. She is an active member of USAG and is CPR and First Aid certified. Her spare time is consumed with fundraising for charities, contributing to the U.S.O., Breast Cancer Awareness and A.S.P.C.A.
Lesley moved back to this area in 2010, married her husband John Heebner, a native of Boalsburg and lives in Boalsburg with their dog Casey. She enjoys spending her time with family and friends.
- Carole DudukovichProgram Director - MegaTotCarole has been with Nittany Gymnastics since 2000. She manages and directs the MegaTot program at Nittany and has taught classes for infant, toddler, pre-K, kindergarten, special needs and home-schooled children. Prior to joining Nittany, Carole taught at the Harrisburg Gymnastic Academy for 5 years. She was a preschool teacher at Saint Catherine Laboure for 4 years and an elementary school teacher with Derry Township School District for a year.
Carole holds a BS degree in Education from University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, is certified in CPR and First Aid, Kidnastic certified, CPI trained, USA Kinder Accreditation for Teachers, USAG Certified and ESL trained.
The time Carole spends giving back to her community equals her time developing children's physical skills through gymnastics. She is actively involved with the Keystone State Reading Association as Membership Director, Assistant Track Coach at Our Lady of Victory School, Substitute Teacher at Our Lady of Victory and State College School District, Religious Education Teacher and Special Olympics Volunteer. Think Pink & Red Alert fundraisers with Saint Francis Univ. Field Hockey team and Saint Jude Cartwheel-a-thons.
Carole enjoys outdoor activities with her husband, Dave, and 2 college age children, Tia and Nik. She loves to reading, running and spending time with family.
- Mark DavisTeam Coach - USAG Boys Head CoachMark has 40 years of gymnastics coaching experience with both men and women's gymnastics and at all ages. He started his career in the sport as a gymnast earning a full scholarship to southern Illinois University. In 1973 he studied men's gymnastics in Japan on an exchange program. He has coached at numerous gyms across the country including: California State University, Northridge 1973-78; Asst. Coach under Dan Connelley. SCATS Gymnastics 1980-88, where he assisted coach Don Peters as Olympic coach. At SCATS he helped coach Olympians Mitch Gaylord and Charles Lakes. Mark also coached for Kelli Hill, Hill's Gym 2007-08. Mark studied and became Men's National Judge 1972-74.
Mark's career as a gymnast is as diverse as his coaching career. Numerous accolades emboss his CV, including:
2nd Place High Bar AAU Nationals
1st person in the world to compete a Triple Fly-away High Bar
3rd person in the world to compete Quad Fly-Away off swinging rings
2-time runner up division 2 nationals in Men's Gymnastics as Asst. Coach California State Univ.
Men's National Judge.
In addition to participating and coaching gymnastics, Mark has been a staff writer for International Gymnast Magazine with numerous articles published.
When Mark isn’t coaching the boy’s team at Nittany, or teaching classes, he enjoys his time with his wife Karen Schuckman, former PSU gymnast and 1st National All-Around Champion. His family extends to 2 daughters; Coral a physician in internal medicine at Duke Medical and Chelsea, 2nd year Washington University graduate school. Chelsea has been recognized as Big Ten Scholar-Athlete of the Year and 3 Meter National Champion in diving.
- Mariel EchemendiaTeam Coach - USAG Girls Asst. CoachMariel has been coaching the girls levels 3-6 for the past year and a half, prior to that she worked for NGA as a birthday party and class instructor for five years. Gymnastics has been a part of her life for over 11 years, competing for Nittany for 10 years. In her 10 years of competing, she qualified for states at every level.
A State College native and graduating from State College High School in 2010, Mariel is currently studying Public Relations and Spanish, with a minor in Business. She likes to travel and compete for Penn State Club Gymnastics, when she has time.
- Finda ReichertTeam Coach - USAG Girls Coach Level 4-6Finda has been involved in gymnastics since she was 2 years old. She comes to Nittany after 15 years coaching levels 1-6 at The Victors Gymnastics in Rochester, NY. While there, her teams achieved 3rd and 1st place standings in the New York State Team Cup. Early in her career, she taught sixth grade at Thomas Jefferson Middle School, Rochester, NY and worked with beginner levels at Central New York Gymnastics Center, East Syracuse, NY. She competed up to level 8 and was the New York State Level 4 Floor Champion.
Finda holds a B.S. in Psychology, from LeMoyne College, certified in NY State in elementary education and a USAIGC Safety Certification—Professional Member.
In her spare time, Finda volunteers at Edgerten Rec. Sports club and VBS Unity Kitchen. Mother of 4 and actively involved; she especially enjoys trips to Disney with her family. Finda is an avid sports fan, reader and Zumba participant.
- Lauren LissendenTeam Coach - Girls Compulsory CoachBio coming soon.
- Chris DeyoTeam Coach - USAIGC Girls Team Asst. Coach
Chris joined Nittany in the Fall of 2011. He began coaching gymnastics at Dynamats Gymnastics Center in Williamsport, PA in 1996 where he coached Girls Levels 5-8. In 2000, Chris began a mobile gymnastics program, and for the past 14 years, he has taught gymnastics to the children in the State College area.
Chris lives with his wife, Terra, and two children, both of whom are young Nittany Gymnasts! Tanner is a Level 6 on the Boys Team, and Micah is a Copper Level gymnast on the USAIGC Team.
Aside from gymnastics, Chris enjoys trail running, rock climbing, and backpacking.
- Sophia StasulliTeaching StaffSofia teaches Gymstar, Megatot, and Tumble classes. Sofia competed until level 8 in gymnastics for 14 years at Pottsville Gymnastic Training Center in Pottsville Pa. She achieved 4 Pennsylvania state championship titles (in the all-around, floor, and vault). She also worked as a Junior Instructor at Pottsville Gymnastics teaching classes and level 3 gymnasts. Aside from gymnastics, Sofia placed 8th in high jump at Pennsylvania’s Track and Field State Championships and is the current record holder of high jump at her high school. She is currently working on her Nutrition Science degree at Penn State University with a focus of prenatal, infant, and pediatric nutrition. Away from NGA, she loves spending time with her family, spoiling her two dogs, and cooking.
- Gretchen HallbergTeam Coach - USAIGC Girls Team Asst. CoachGretchen participated in classes at Nittany Gymnastics for many years prior to competing for four years on Nittany's Recreational Team, that became the IGC team. She finished her competitive gymnastics career qualifying for nationals at the Silver Level. Gretchen started teaching classes here at Nittany in the spring of 2013 and started coaching the IGC team in the fall of 2013. She graduated from State College Area High School in 2012 and is currently attending Penn State majoring in Recreation Park and Tourism Management.
- Ruthie StraubTeaching Staff
Ruthie has been coaching and instructing Pre-Team, Hot Shots, Megatot and Gymstar programs for Nittany since 2002. Ruthie is an active community member; coaching multiple sports for Our Lady of Victory Catholic School. She is the Head Track Coach for 8 years, Cheerleading Coach for 3 years, and Asst. coach for Girls Basketball for 3 years. When she is not coaching, Ruthie is volunteering her time at OLV conducting fundraisers ,is a Home Room Parent and was previously on the school council. Ruthie is currently serving as the Nittany Gymnastics Team Booster Club President. She loves coaching and instructing children in helping them life healthy active lives.
All of Ruthie’s spare time is spent with her husband, John and 3 children; Hannah, Noah and Maria traveling to their gymnastics meets. Hannah is a level 9 gymnast; Noah is a level 6 gymnast; and Maria a level 3 gymnast, all competing for Nittany Gymnastics Teams. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from Saint Vincent College and when not coaching and volunteering, she employs her talents as a software engineer with Raytheon in State College.
- Amber SmithTeaching StaffAmber teaches GymStar, Megatot and Tumble classes. Amber competed Level 9 in gymnastics after 12 years in the sport, achieving 3rd Place State Champion. She also coached 5-7 advanced beginner classes at Prestige Gymnastics for 2 years. Currently she instructs gymnastics classes for Nittany and works for Armstrong World industries. A student at Penn State University pursuing a degree in Accounting and labor Employment Relations. Her service to the community involves work at the local food bank and helpin with the children Christmas Pagent at her church. From Lancaster, PA with one sister. Amber loves to be outside and going to the beach.
- Brad HolmesTeaching StaffBio coming soon.
- Rebecca DesousaTeaching StaffRebecca teaches MegaTot and Toddler classes. Rebecca was a cheerleader for 10 years at her hometown in New Jersey. Prior to working at Nittany gymnastics she worked with young autistic children at a gymnastics gym in Altoona, which she enjoyed. She is a student at Penn state studying nutritional sciences. When Rebecca is not at work or studying she enjoys going to the gym, reading, volunteering at the local food bank, making food and hanging out with friends.
- Robyn FeissTeaching StaffBio coming soon.
- Krista FenchikTeaching StaffKrista is originally from Derry, PA. and teaches Kinderstar and Megatot classes at Nittany. She competed up to Level 8 in gymnastics at Gymkhana in Pittsburgh, PA. She coached non-competitive preschool, beginner, intermediate, and advanced one and two classes at Sharon's School of Dance & Gymnastics for four years. Krista is a Penn State student pursuing a Masters Degree in Health Administration and has been involved in the Penn State Dance Marathon for the past four years and has previously organized events to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Pennies for Patients.
- Monica FesslerTeaching StaffBio coming soon.
- Kellyn GombertTeaching StaffKellyn teaches Megatot, Gymstar, and Parkour classes at Nittany Gymnastics. She graduated from Penn State University with a Bachelors and Masters in Accounting, Dec. 2014 and is currently studying to sit for CPA exam. Kellyn started gymnastics when I was 1 year old, and competed at Parkettes National Gymnastics Training Center in Allentown, PA until she graduated high school in 2009. While competing, she qualified to Level 9 Eastern National Championships 2 years in a row, and won 2nd place at Level 9 Regionals in 2009. Kellyn has a twin sister, who also competed in gymnastic, and now attends Clemson University. At the end of the summer, she will be moving to Pittsburgh to start my full-time job with Deloitte!
- Olivia MoyerTeaching StaffOlivia started teaching Megatot and Tumbling classes at Nittany in December 2013 and brings experience and enthusiasm in her love for the sports. Olivia has been a cheerleader and dancer for the past 15+ years and during this time has assisted in coaching tumbling and choreography for teams. She has taken non-competitive recreational gymnastics classes at Positive Fitness Gymnastics in New Holland PA for over 12 years and classes with Prime Time Tumbling in Lancaster PA for the past 3 years. Olivia started teaching non-competitive recreational classes of all levels at Positive Fitness in 2010 and coaching classes there on weekends. In 2012 she began teaching tumbling classes at Signature dance Studio in New Holland for beginners to advance levels. Active member of Full Throttle Cheer Level 6 All-Girl All-Star cheerleading squad out of Lancaster and has been a part of the team for the last 3 years. In 2013 Full Throttle earned National Champions at a competition as well place 2nd at US finals. Currently a junior at Penn State studying food science; Olivia hopes to continue her involvement in gymnastics and cheerleading beyond graduation in 2015. In addition to her passion for gymnastics and cheerleading, she has spent a week to a summer in Langley ”Mattson,” KY, a small town in the Appalachia Mountains of Kentucky doing mission work for the past 8 years. This town and its local residents as well as the mission organization have a special place in her heart and is a second home to her.
- Dmitry MyersTeaching StaffDmitry is a circus arts, dance and gymnastics professional who has studied with full scholarship at the American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive Program at the University of Alabama and at the National Circus School of Canada (Ecole Nationale du Cirque) in Montreal. Last year he finished two years of study at the Circus Warehouse in Long Island City, New York. He has performance experience in all forms of dance, including Ballet, Jazz, Modern and Hip Hop, including starring roles in the ballets Nutcracker and the Sourcers Apprentice. He was a featured tumbler in the 2011 Columbus Day Parade. He has extensive study in Flying Trapeze and is one of a handful of people who performed the Triple. He has acting to his credit and was a competitive gymnast and diver. Dmitry is happy to have returned to his roots at Nittany Gymnastics. Dmitry started his gymnastics career here at Nittany taking classes when he was 3.