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MEET the staff

Tabor Cowden

Tabor Cowden has been involved in the sport of gymnastics for his entire life. As a competitive gymnast he won numerous state, regional, and national titles. With his father leading the way as his coach, he received a full ride to Penn State University in 1991. After a serious injury in which he broke his neck, he ultimately graduated from Cal Berkeley where he helped lead the Bears back to a NCAA team championship in 1997. He has the unique distinction of competing for both Penn State and Cal in a NCAA team championship in the 90’s. 

Tabor has coached at all levels and continues to work with both boys and girls.  He currently coaches the Rocky Mountain Pride, the Evergreen Cougars, and his JO club team at Pinnacle Academy in Evergreen, which he owns. His children, Treyce and Taya are both competitive gymnasts and he is very proud to be both a loving father, husband and a coach to his children. Tabor has also served as the state director for men’s gymnastics since 2019.

Xcel & DP Program Director

Casey Lesieur

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.

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Jen Hansen Hecht

Jen Hansen Hecht has been involved with gymnastics since she was 8 years old.

•1991 Junior Olympic Class I National All-Around Champion 

•1992 top college gymnastics recruit in the country 

•Full ride scholarship for gymnastics to the University of Kentucky, where she earned her degree in Animal Science specified Equine. Worked at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital after college

• 3x NCAA All-Around Champion, 8x Individual event Champion. Still holds Guinness Book World Records for that title.

•First in NCAA History to earned 28 Perfect 10’s in her college career.  

•Trained for the 2012 Olympics at the age of 38 while perusing her career as a Stunt Performer in Los Angeles.

•Started at ground level with the Xcel program for a gym in LA.

•Worked in the Entertainment Industry for 15 years… ABC Family Make It or Break It, The Millers, Chalk It Up to name a few  

•Coach as the 2nd Assistant with Evergreen High School Gymnastics team.

•Currently Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT) Specialist, which works with Range of Motion.

My background allows me to give the athletes I work with a well rounded experience. Understand their fears and their drive to accomplish their goals.

I like to remind the kids, they’re the Head Coach and I’m their Assistant. They know how the skill they are performing feels. And I help them discover how to correct themselves.

I love working at Pinnacle Gymnastics 


Cathy Ramirez


Leila Shamas

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Nick Jimerson

Bio Coming Soon!

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!

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