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Coaches and Staff Bios


Robyn Ross

Robyn has a strong background in gymnastics as an athlete and wanted to “Pass it Forward” and became a coach at a YMCA in South Pasadena. She coached through her college years and when she had children, her oldest JJ Ross was introduced to the sport of gymnastics at a young age and started the whole ball of wax all over again! He never looked back. He competed from age 7 to 18 and started coaching at the age of 16. At age 21, JJ and Robyn opened their own club, Champion Gymnastics & Cheer together in June 2008. We started with 30 athletes and have grown by leaps and bounds. My goal is to motivate and inspire each athlete by instilling strong values and self-respect and to show them how to strive for even more. Teaching our coaches to “Lead by Example” and treat each athlete as if they were their own. The moment you walk through our doors you will see and feel what CGC is known for….FAMILY!

JJ Ross


JJ has been in the gymnastics world since age 7. He competed for 12 years throughout the Junior Olympic Qualifiers and Regional Invitationals. JJ's heart was in love with the sport as well as coaching it. He knows the hard work and countless attempts to achieve the skills in this sport. To be able to share that with others, is something that he has wanted for a long time.  JJ coaches just about everything. Currently, JJ is the Head Coach for our Level 4 to Elite Boys Compulsory/Optionals Competitive Team. If it has to do with gymnastics....JJ coaches it! 


Savannah Ross

My name is Savannah Ross and I have been involved in the sport of gymnastics for about 20 years. I started doing gymnastics at the age of 6 and competed through the age of 18. I began coaching at 18 and have had the chance to work with such amazing athletes ever since. I love being able to coach these gymnasts through their struggles, provide them with a confidence that they didn't even know they had, and watch them grow not only as an athlete but as a person in general. I love to watch the joy spread across their face as they achieve new skills or move up into the next level. Gymnastics has been such a positive thing in my life and I want to share that with everyone that I get the pleasure of working with.


Sherri McCullen

Sherri’s love of gymnastics began when she was an elite gymnast way back in the 80’s (before

most of the coaches at CGC were born!). Since then she has been a coach, choreographer, gym

owner, judge, Ironman finisher, world traveler, CrossFit competitor, and mom! Sherri always

has a positive attitude and teaches her gymnasts life skills as well as gymnastics skills: be kind,

be healthy, and always give 100% effort!


Brittany Pharis

Hi there, I am Brittany Pharis and I have an extensive background in Gymnastics, Dance, and Competitive Cheerleading. My gymnastics career started at the age of three and lasted for the next 12 years. I have been coaching competitive USAG compulsory and XCEL teams for the past thirteen years. I am a rated USAG and NFHS Gymnastics Judge and have been judging for the past 10 years. I have been a dancer all my life competing, showcasing, and participating in semi-pro and professional dance teams throughout the state of California. I believe Dance, gymnastics, and cheer are sports that can change your life for the better. I possess three bachelor’s degrees in Dance and Choreography, American Sign Language, and Criminal Justice and Criminology. I have recently been awarded my Single-Subject Teaching Credential in Physical Education with an added authorization in Dance and my Master’s in Education with Applied Best Practices. I want to teach our athletes not only the art of gymnastics and dance but life lessons that will help develop their abilities to learn, gain strength, confidence, charisma, and know what it is like to have an added support system. I want them to understand that with hard work, motivation, and dedication they can do anything their hearts desire.

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Laura Canton

Laura was born in San Jose, California and at a very young age, her and her family decided to move out to Beautiful Colorado. She has always been passionate about competitive sports, including: dancing, gymnastics, diving and snowboarding. She began dancing ballet at the age of 4, and competed in Gymnastics for over 15 years. She quickly advanced into the Junior Olympic Team and qualified for multiple state championships as a Level 9 Gymnast.


Laura then decided to make a change and headed out West to San Diego in search of new beginnings and to share her love of mentoring, training and coaching. After a few wonderful years soaking up the sun, a lead Coaching position opened up in San Mateo, CA. Over the course of the next 4 years in the Bay Area, she again began to explore new avenues while continuing her education within competitive gymnastics. She fell in love with Aerial Silks and Modern Dance. During this time of growth, she began her journey into Yoga and the teacher training program at CorePower. She persisted on to complete her 200th teacher training and immediately became part of the management program thereafter. This gave her the opportunity to coach students just like herself on their own unique Yoga journey.


Laura is highly skilled and prides herself on her ability to help her customers (of all ages and capabilities) actualize their purpose and ultimately achieve their lifestyle goals. Whether that means mentally or physically, or both. She promotes and encourages invigorating activities and coping methods that have the capacity to transform unhealthy lifestyle habits into more sustainable ones for the betterment of the mind, body and spirit. With over 8 years of training and teaching Yoga and over 14+ years of coaching gymnastics, she is always challenging herself to find new techniques for her athletes. Laura hopes to reinforce positivity in each student with the recognition that they have the ultimate power to change their reality if they have an open mind to do so.

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Hannah Hickox

Hannah has been a gymnast for 28 years. She last competed in Level 8 when she was 14 years old. Hannah was in a car accident that ultimately ended her career in gymnastics. She did dance. Track and field, basketball and cheerleading but nothing could fill the void of gymnastics. She continued tumbling around her house at whatever capacity she was able to do. She realized that gymnastics left a hole in her life that was unable to be filled so she decided to start coaching.

Hannah’s style of coaching is based on positivity so, can’t is not in her vocabulary. As well as being a gymnastics coach, she is a personal trainer, massage therapist, and is currently getting her doctorate in Acupuncture. She incorporates all of those attributes into her coaching style. On her free time, you can catch her with her son, daughter, and dog on a mountain, at the beach, roller skating, skate boarding, or fire dancing.

Gymnastics has taught her discipline, teamwork, and not to give up no matter how hard it gets. She is ready to help your child pave their way towards their goals in gymnastics which will ultimately transpire to their everyday life.


Dakota Hacker

My name is Dakota. I did competitive gymnastics for 12 years, 3 of those years I competed as a Level 10. I was given an athletic scholarship for Acrobatics and Tumbling at Arizona Christian University. I have been around little kids since a young age and have a lot of experience working with them. I am a Junior in college currently attending Grossmont Community College majoring in Graphic Design. I love being able to express my artistic abilities in gymnastics and art.


Brynnan Venters

Hi Everyone! My name is Brynnan. I have been doing gymnastics since I was two years old. I started competing when I was 11 years old and I haven't stopped. I am currently a college student, participating in club gymnastics at San Jose State. I love coaching the sport of gymnastics. I started coaching 3 years ago. I love watching the look on a kids face when they get a new skill or land something they have been working really hard on. This sport has had such a huge impact on my life and I hope to help other kids love it as much as I do. 


Diego Mercado

My name is Diego Mercado. I started gymnastics when I was 4 yrs old. I spent 21 years as a gymnast, competing at the state, national, NCAA and international level.


I represented Mexico at several international competitions, such as Pan-American Games, Pacific Alliance, American Cup and World Championships.


I was also a member of the University of Iowa Men’s Gymnastics team from 2005-2009, where I was named Team Co-Captain my senior year.


During my 11 years as coach, I have coached several students who made Jr and Sr National Teams.


My goal for my athletes is for them to become the best, while making sure they are safe and having fun. I want to share with them my love for the sport and knowledge, and see them become great individuals and gymnasts.

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Daniel Bernal

I have been involved in the sport of gymnastics for over 23 years, 13 as a competitive gymnast. By the time I was 14 years old I was competing as a level 10, eventually making my way to competing at the collegiate level competing at 5 different National Championships all over the U.S. I also began simultaneously coaching at the age of 16, starting with toddlers and working my way up to team where I spent 3 years as a girls coach and the last 9 years as a boys coach. Directly following my retirement as a competitive gymnast, I worked as a professional athlete doing live stunt shows at Knott’s Berry Farm and competed on America’s Got Talent, all of this was while I was going to school obtaining my certificate in Orthopedics. I have a wonderful support system with family and friends, none of my career would be possible without the support of my wife and kids and I am blessed everyday for them. JJ has been like a brother to me for quite a few years now and I’m excited to apart of the Champion Family!

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Daniel Diaz

I began practicing the sport of gymnastics at age 5 in Mexico. Growing up in the sport I got to compete for gymnastics clubs in both the US and Mexico. Throughout my athletic career I was also fortunate enough to train and interact with many international coaches, judges, and gymnasts.

During the last 5 years of my competitive career I was lead by Diego Mercado, current coach at Champion Gymnastics. Now I'm back at the sport as a coach ready to learn from our team coaches and transfer my knowledge to every single member of our boys team.


AJ Robertson

My name is AJ and I have been at Champion Gymnastics for the last 12 years.  I am currently a Level 10 on the Boys Gymnastics Team. As an older team member I am a big brother, being an example to my teammates as well as an inspiration to what hard and dedication can achieve when you put your heart into it. 


I currently assist with coaching our lower level classes helping them achieve their goals.  I also assist with Birthday Parties, insuring that all kiddos have a great time.


I am thankful for all that Champion and Coach JJ have instilled in me and will take with me as I step out into this world on my next journey.

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Austin Adams

What’s up, my name is Austin Adams I’m the tumbling, boys gymnastics, and parkour coach! I grew up in Austin, Texas where I spent most of the time playing sports like football, wrestling, track and lacrosse. I worked all through high school as a rec gymnastics, and as tumbling coach and then started practicing and teaching parkour my senior year. There is nothing I love more in this world than watching people accomplish their goals, and I get to be lucky enough to have a part in helping them here at Champion. 

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Hey, athletes! My name is Justy Rice, and I am one of the instructors for CGC's Tumbling classes! A little bit about me: I have been -- for 13+ years -- a gymnast/tumbler, certified Taekwondo Black Belt, as well as a Master Class level dancer, thus exposing me to a variety of sports. As a takeaway from those activities, I believe that the basics are a crucial part of growth as an athlete for any sport, and therefore my tumbling class will always focus mainly on developing the students' understanding of important tumbling fundamentals. This solidity of technique allows for more success when eventually moving on to more advanced level tumbling classes; something I'd like to see in all of my students. My goal is that when you take my class, I can effectively spread the knowledge I've gained over the years, as well as evolve your skills so that over time you can be the best tumbler that you can be. That being said, always remember to keep working your hardest, and I hope to see you in class!

Justy Rice

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MarySue Jurgella

MarySue grew up in central Wisconsin with a love of sports, music, and theatre. She competed in gymnastics through high school and filled her free time performing in choirs and plays. After high school she moved abroad and began performing for all-inclusive hotels, which is where she was introduced to the silks and aerial acrobatics. She did this for four years at various hotels in the Riviera Maya, Mexico, before being invited by a former choreographer/director to Aruba to perform and work as assistant director of the entertainment department. After just a year, she was promoted to entertainment director. For the next four years, she continued to perform nightly as well as train new dancers and aerialists for the shows, and create and direct new shows for the hotel. In 2015 she moved back to the U.S. and eventually settled in San Diego. She got her yoga teacher certification in 2016, but decided to focus on circus, and has been coaching silks and youth circus at the San Diego Circus Center since 2017. 


Coaching is MarySue’s passion as she wants other people to experience the joy aerial acrobatics have brought her. She loves to create a fun and encouraging atmosphere for her students while also focusing on the development of fundamental movements and skills. She likes to put an emphasis on strong lines (knees & toes!) and the feeling of moving with ease and fluidity, or “dancing” through your moves. Her favorite thing about coaching is helping people gain confidence and achieve their goals! 


Tiffany Cook


Sally Steele

After having spent 30+ years working for corporate America in various sales and marketing management roles, I now have the most fulfilling position of all, that of working with Special Events, Marketing, and Social Media!  CGC is a place filled with children venturing into the world of gymnastics and cheer, enthusiastic athletes who have grit and determination in learning skills and reaching goals, dedicated coaches who show passion towards the athletes development, and parents who are invested in their kids’ future. The joy of being part of CGC and sharing my skills and talents to further advance all of these groups is immeasurable!

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