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  (434) 525-4813

52 Barbour Dr.
Forest, VA 24551

Elite Staff

Melissa Thompson

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Melissa is the owner/founder of Elite Athletics, Inc.

Originally from upstate NY, Melissa was born into an athletic family and participated in gymnastics for many years. She worked as a pediatric Occupational Therapist for 22 years prior to establishing Elite Athletics in 2010.  She is currently working towards USAG School of Business and together with her family, has lived in the greater Lynchburg area for over 14 years.

With over 28 years of business experience, she has managed a family owned bicycle touring business and developed/oversaw a children’s ski program while obtaining her PSIA level II certification. Having a strong background in sensory-motor integration and sensory processing enables Melissa to pursue her passion to help children develop and learn through gymnastics.  Elite Athletics does this very thing!  She has a “can do” attitude and you will always find her at the gym with a “customer comes first” commitment.  When time permits, Melissa and her husband Terry will be on the ski slopes with their children Daniel (19 yrs.), Makayla (13 yrs.), and Madison (11 yrs.).  It is their favorite family activity that their special needs child can participate in.

Passionate about: Autism Awareness/Autism Speaks, American Cancer Society.


Sherika Callen 

Junior Olympic Team Coach – Sherika grew up in Lynchburg and spent excessive time in the gym competing in competitive gymnastics, trampoline and tumbling. She is a business graduate of George Mason University. After graduation she moved back to Lynchburg where she plans to stay. Sherika has trained under the direction of Vadim Boutem from Moscow competing level 8 and trained in level 9. After Vadim’s passing she moved over to the T&T team and trained under Sandy Moon competing rod floor and double mini. Sherika went on to compete at Nationals! While at Lynchburg Academy she coached to assist recreational classes and team while gym owner was traveling. She has several years experience coaching many types of classes and levels. Sherika is well versed to coach any of our classes, including our Xcel, Jo, and T&T teams. Her coaching style is very well rounded as she takes into consideration all learning/teaching attributes. While keeping a very developmental/skill driven approach, she has a very upbeat/positive attitude that adapts to various personalities as she reads athletes well and alters her training to specific athlete coaching. Sherika enjoys watching movies and reality TV. She can’t live without strawberries, pasta and yes – Chick-fil-A!


Jenelle Campbell 

Recreational Coach (Preschool) – Jenelle is from Roanoke, VA.  She LOVES young children and would like to be a preschool teacher. She has been working towards her education degree. Between motherhood, and her natural ability to work with young children, she is one of our star preschool coaches on staff.  Parents always appreciate her maturity and ability to maintain a structured and positive environment.  Jenelle is patient, soft spoken and truly cares about her young students!

Accomplishments:  USAG Certification and CPR


Haley St. Claire

Xcel Pre-team Coach – Haley is a native of Lynchburg, VA. She has spent most of her spare time in gyms since she was 4 years old. Haley competed in gymnastics starting at the age of 5. She moved on to compete in trampoline and tumbling later in her competitive career. Haley began coaching in her adolescent years and has never stopped. Haley’s love for the sport shines through no matter what age, level or type of class she coaches! Haley coaches all types of classes from toddlers to preteam Xcel and soon she will help out with Xcel Team. She uses her knowledge to evaluate our athletes to determine the next appropriate level.  

Anna Allen

Recreational Coach/Admin – Anna is a origonally from New York City. She moved to Lynchburg as a young child and competed in competitive gymnastics prior to tumbling and cheering for LCA and LU.  She coaches several recreational classes as well as managing administrative duties at Elite Athletics. Anna’s 3 children of her own have developed her calm, mature, warm personality that shines in our gym.



Hannah Becknar

Recreational Coach – Hannah is from Northern VA and grew up starting in gymnastics. She changed gears and developed a love of tumbling. Hannah won many titles in tumbling prior to getting into cheerleading. She currently attends LC where she is studying business. 




Leah Bobby

Recreational Coach –  Leah is a rising Senior at Jefferson Forest High School who grew up in Forest. She has a Dance/Cheer background and leads our Princess Tumbler’s class as well as instructs gymnastics. She loves children and her gentle, fun, warm personality shines through as she encourages them to do their best!  


James Dodson

T & T /Ninja Zone Coach – James attends Jefferson Forest High School and helps coach our Trampoline and Tumbling Team program. He is a current T&T athlete himself. He He has completed appropriate training using the Ninja Zone program, loves kids and has an aptitude for tumbling, flips, ninja, climbing, conditioning and fun. He currently helps teach our Ninja classes at all levels. Want to learn you front or back flip? James can get you there!




Alexa Fleshman

Junior Olympic Pre-team Coach – Alexa is from Lynchburg and began doing gymnastics when she was 8. She did not participate long in recreational classes before she was recruited to the competitive gymnastics team. Alexa’s competitive nature shown threw quickly. She competed through level 7 and then began coaching for Elite Athletics. Alexa thrives on getting our pre-team kids ready for team!



Jacob Jennings

Ninja Zone/Ninja Xtreme 1 Coach – Jacob is a current CVU coach, coached for Forest Middle School and is also coaching the JF Jr. Varsity soccer team. He is currently attending Lynchburg College studying exercise physiology while pursuing to become a physical therapist. He has completed appropriate training using the Ninja Zone program, loves kids and has an aptitude for parkour, flips, ninja, climbing, conditioning and fun. Come join Jacob for agility, structure, learning and fun!



Penny Jordan 

PennyAccountant – Penny has an accountant background and takes care of all the financial details for Elite Athletics. She has helped move us from a paper and pencil accounting environment to a more current technology system. Her attention to detail and quality ensures that Elite’s financial system is accurately kept up to date at all times.



Olivia Lowry 

Junior Olympic Team Coach – Olivia is from Lynchburg and has a realm of experience! She has a competitive gymnastics background, as well as cheerleading background. She cheered for Brookville prior to beginning to coach for Elite Athletics. Olivia competed in states at each level and was also State Games of Top 10 America. She brings a calm presence when coaching JO team,, however has a knack at getting positive results by challenging our team athletes.



Evan Meinke 

Ninja Zone/Ninja Xtreme 1 & 2 Coach – Evan is from Ohio and leads our dynamic Ninja/Parkour program. He is a former State Wrestler and current soccer player with an aptitude for parkour, flips, ninja, climbing, conditioning and fun. He is currently a Liberty University student studying engineering, aircraft and mechanical drones. He is very passionate about teaching athletes new and exciting ways to tackle athletic challenges. Every class is different and unique as the progression in body and challenge builds per child. Want to learn how to flip, twist, climb, jump, roll, defend, kick safely? Come join Evan in this soon to be National Competitive environment!


Susan Merkle 

SusanInformation Technology/Marketing – Susan is originally from Wisconsin and has an Information Technology/Marketing background. She is responsible for transitioning Elite Athletics into the technological mainstream. Her passion for efficiency, through the use of technology, along with a marketing flair will enable Elite customers to receive the best service and experience possible.




Sandy Moon

T & T Coach – Sandy is from Utah and began gymnastics when she was 13. At age 16 she became a State Champion at the Elite level and held that title for 2 years! She then received a scholarship to the University of Utah and competed in 3 National competitions placing in the top 40/500 athletes. Sandy eventually moved to Southern Utah where she coached both Tumbling and JO gymnastics. She started Lynchburg Academy in Lynchburg and placed 5 athletes onto the US Tumbling and Trampoline team! One of her athletes was just recently inducted into the US Gymnastics Hall of Fame. With 18 years of coaching gymnastics and over 42 years total coaching we are truly excited that she can now work with our Elite Athletics athletes! Sandy jumps right in and provides consulting/mentoring to all of our programs. Having owned a gym previously, she is able to give insight and guidance to different aspects of the whole gym business. She is currently working on renewing her certification for judging all disciplines of this sport!  
Accomplishments:Safety Certification and Recreational USAG membership in progress.


Peter Morgan

Ninja Zone/Ninja Coach – Peter is calm, cool and collected! He is a witty junior and has completed appropriate training using the Ninja Zone program, loves kids and has an aptitude for parkour, flips, ninja, climbing, conditioning and fun.  Have a child with lots of energy and curiosity? Peter will advance them in their parkour goals to learn/gain new balance, flips, jumps and skills! Join Peter in fun and excitement as your child gains new athletic growth!




Kate Parker

gymnastics Lynchburg

Recreational Coach – Kate is from Lynchburg and attends LC. She is studying PreMed. Her goal is to go into the dental field. Kate did gymnastics briefly before she ventured towards tumbling and cheerleading. Kate’s love for the sport shines through when she covers for Hannah over school breaks.



Josh Potter 

Lead Trampoline and Tumbling Coach –  Josh is from Charles County, Maryland. With a degree in Kinesiology: Health and Physical Education from Liberty University, Josh is highly motivated to helping athletes strive to be their best in ability and overall character. Josh has coached for over 8 years and has had athletes excel underneath his guidance. Josh took his current team to great success taking 2nd place on Trampoline at the State Championships!! With his background in exercise Science and athletic training, his Trampoline and Tumbling athletes are able to achieve high marks and low downtime.

Accomplishments:  Professional USAG Member, Safety Certification, First Aid and AED

Leiren Potter 

Lead Xcel Coach and Recreational Coach – Leiren is from New Kent, VA and has a competitive USAG and competitive cheer background. She recently moved here from Richmond where she started up an Xcel program at her previous gym. Prior to that, Leiren had developed/coached a cheer program. She is currently attending Liberty University majoring in Speech Communications. Leiren is driven and dedicated to her athletes, striving to help them achieve whatever goals they have set out for themselves!

Accomplishments:  Professional Member USAG, USASF (Cheer), Safety Certification.


Emily Schira

Recreational Coach – Emily is a Lynchburg native and a Senior at Brookville Highschool where she cheers. She attends CVCC and is preparing to enter college in the fall to pursue a nursing degree. Emily’s love of children shines through when she coaches all of her children. Her warm, gentle, encouraging nature comes out in her coaching. 




Colton Smith

gymnastics Lynchburg

Ninja Zone/Ninja Xtreme 1 & 2 Coach – Colton is an energetic, fun loving junior and has completed appropriate training using the Ninja Zone program, loves kids and has an aptitude for parkour, flips, ninja, climbing, conditioning and fun. Have lots of energy? Colton can have you utilize that to achieve your parkour goals and learn/gain new balance, flips, jumps and skills! Join Colton in fun and excitement as your child achieves new athletic growth!


Allie Vandyke

gymnastics Lynchburg

Recreational Coach – Allie is from Lynchburg and is a Brookville Highchool student. She has a gymnastics, tumbling, and trampoline and tumbling background. Ally competed in the sport competing through level 8 before she began to cheer for Brookville Highschool. Allie exudes confidence with her background as well as academics. She desires to pursue medicine as a career. Allie has trained under Sandy Moon for many years.


Erin Vickers

Recreational Coach/Admin –  Erin is from the Lynchburg area and attends CVCC. Her quite mannerism is a plus as she takes athletes and trains them in each step that they need in order to perfect a certain skill. She also takes care of our busy desk area helping clients with general questions, enrolling, payments, Birthday parties, KidzNite and more. If you have any Elite Athletics questions don’t hesitate to contact Erin!




Kimmy Wood

Recreational Coach –Kimmy is a from Lynchburg. She attends Brookville High School and plans to pursue a nursing degree after graduation. Kimmy has a tumbling/cheerleading background. Don’t let Kimmy’s petite size fool you….she calmly, consistently pushes our athletes to meet high goals.