MEET the staff
Head Coach Tabor Cowden
Pinnacle Boy's Team Coach
Evergreen High School Girl's Team Coach
Mary Anne Sullivan
Mary Anne Sullivan has been a gymnast since she was 8 years old, training with the Denver University Head Coach starting in the DU recreational program and quickly moving up the ranks, reaching the highest level within a few months. After a short break, she returned to high school gymnastics and received MVP 3 out of her 4 years. In college Mary Anne continued her athletic career, but transitioned to lacrosse where she was awarded All-American her senior year. As an adult, Mary Anne is an avid marathon runner, including the Boston Marathon in 2017.
Mary Anne returned to gymnastics as an adult when her three children gained interest in the sport. Already a fitness instructor, she began coaching and is now the Head Coach for the Pinnacle Academy Silver’s Team. Mary Anne’s coaching style is to teach athletes how to physically and mentally work hard inside and outside of the gym, perform to the best of their abilities and have a strong work ethic. She believes that physical and mental strength provide one with the freedom to pursue anything!
Casey Lesieur, 29 years old from Rhode Island, has shown her passion for gymnastics and cheerleading her entire life. She began gymnastics at 8 years old at Rita Bealieu and later competed level 10 at Aim High Academy. While competing in gymnastics, she broke her right wrist and developed a dead bone. The doctors told her that her gymnastics career had ended due to this permanent injury she had sustained, but she never gave up on her aspirations. She continued to condition and build her strength so that she could perform gymnastics and cheerleading one-handed. She won 2nd place at Regional’s (one-handed) and placed 4th on floor at Senior Nationals. After slowly training for the other events, she competed in Division III gymnastics for Rhode Island College and placed 4th all around at ECAC’s. She transferred to Syracuse University and received her BFA for Environmental & Interior Design while competing in Club Gymnastics and DI Cheerleading. At Syracuse, Casey placed 4th all around at NAIGC Nationals and 5th on floor. She earned MVP honors from 2008 to 2013.
Currently, Casey has been continuing her education in Graduate School online with Liberty University, studying Exercise Science, and will earn her Master’s Degree in December 2020. She is a tremendous personal trainer and coach. Casey always goes above and beyond in everything she does. Not only is she certified in personal training, but she also teaches group fitness classes and has numerous certifications. Outside of fitness, Casey has her USAG Certification for teaching gymnastics as well as USASF for teaching all levels in stunting and tumbling in Cheerleading. With four years of experience on the Boston Celtics Green Team, Casey was able to open up her own gym. She co-owned New England Tumble Force and taught at the Exeter-West Greenwich High School for Competitive Cheerleading for the past three years, in addition to coaching for the past 13 years. Prior to that, she was the Xcel Gymnastics Director at Blaze Gymnastics in North Syracuse, NY.
Chase Penny has been involved with the sport of gymnastics for over three decades. As a competitive gymnast, he won several state and regional championships, received a full-ride scholarship at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and in 1996, was nominated for the Nissen Emery Award (the highest award given to a collegiate senior gymnast who have established an outstanding record of achievement during their collage career.)
Once graduated from college, he continued to coach his collegiate team until presented with the opportunity to coach '96 Olympian, Kip Simons, in preparation for the Olympic Games in Atlanta. In 1997, he made the move to Los Angeles where he used his gymnastics background to begin working in the entertainment business as a professional stuntman. For the last sixteen years, he has worked in numerous movies, television shows, and commercials. He is currently a stunt double on the show Teen Wolf and can be seen on Chicago Fire and Chicago PD.
Chase and his family are looking forward to making the transition to Evergreen where he can use his gymnastics knowledge to coach, help influence, and bring an exciting perspective to athletes who love the sport of gymnastics as much as he does.
Leila started gymnastics at age 10 in England, where she was born & raised. Upon moving to the U.S. in 1996, she won numerous USAG Level 9 & 10 state and regional titles. She also competed high school gymnastics, winning three consecutive all-around county and sectional titles while captaining the first place team. Leila went on to compete Division 1 gymnastics for the University of Pittsburgh from 2001-2005, with a four year full scholarship, captaining the team both her junior and senior year. She capped off her gymnastics career at the NCAA National Championship as an event specialist on beam, qualifying to nationals with a win on the event at the NCAA Northeast Regional Championship.
Leila was thrilled to have the opportunity to join the Pinnacle coaching staff in October 2016 and has absolutely loved the ‘culture’ of the Pinnacle family and the way we train our young athletes. She’s had a blast getting to know the girls’ Xcel team members and thinks that nothing beats the feeling of those breakthrough moments when an athlete overcomes a fear or learns a new skill with you by their side coaching. Leila has worked as a marketing and communications manager for large accounting firms in Denver for over a decade, which she still does full time. She lives in beautiful Golden, CO with her awesome husband and four crazy & adorable sons.
I am a mom of 2 daughters, ages 9 and 6. My youngest is a gymnast at Pinnacle and loves it!! We have lived in Evergreen for the last 5 years. I work full time, as a Physician Assistant in orthopedic surgery, and absolutely love helping out with coaching girls gymnastics, at Pinnacle a few days a week. I started gymnastics at the age of 4 and started competing in gymnastics by age 6. I continued competing, through to the Elite level at the age of 14. I was trained by Olympic, Russian and Romanian Gymnasts, and was competing along side USA's Olympian, Dominique Dawes just before I retired. One of my last competitions as a gymnast was my National Competition in North Carolina. Gymnastics was a huge part of my life as a kid and I love being able to share my experience and my love of gymnastics with other gymnasts!
Jennifer has been a certified USAG instructor at Pinnacle Gymnastics for the past year. She coaches pre-school through advanced girls gymnasts. Jennifer competed as a high school gymnast and has advanced her own gymnastics skills as an adult gymnastics student on and off over the last few years. Jennifer's love of the sport is evident in her expert instruction and positive interactions with her students.
Cheri loves teaching young gymnasts because she feels that ours is the only true whole-body sport that, when practiced as a child, even for a short period of time, has life long benefits. Strength, coordination, balance and a keen sense of where the body is in space at all times are very valuable physical, mental & emotional skills to nurture. She is absolutely thrilled to see a child acquire a new belief in what their mind/body can attempt (especially when fearful) and then master! Together they work a lot on thinking in relation to doing.
Cheri has coached at the tot through Adv. Intermediate/Pre-team levels for 4 years. Cheri parents two busy teens, runs, is a budding yogi, makes art & clothes, has a day job, cooks whole food plant based meals and can be seen doing wobbly cartwheels on low beam, much to the amusement of all present:-)
As the T shirt says: If gymnastics were easy, they’d call it football.
And, if 50something Moms can still do a bit - so can your child, so get them in here!!!