top of page





Monica was born and raised in Erie, PA. After moving away to teach and work on her Master’s degree in the Northern Virginia/DC area, she finally made her way back home to raise her family.


Monica received her BA in Special Education from Niagara University and her Master’s degree in Deaf Education with a focus on multiple disabilities from Gallaudet University. She grew up with a love for sports. Monica played Division I soccer for two years at Niagara until she came across the sport of rugby and just had to try it out.


After college, she continued to play rugby for the Northern Virginia Women’s Rugby Club for 10 years. In her free time, she does interpreting as a nationally certified American Sign Language interpreter, loves to travel, and is a homeschooling mom to five children.


One of her family’s favorite things to do together is to watch America Ninja Warrior! Taking the love of the show and combining it with her love for her family and community, Sinai Sports was born.

Contact Monica:



Director of Operations

Steve had a love of all sports growing up and participated on many different teams, including soccer, baseball, basketball, football, diving, and gymnastics.  While he enjoyed all of those sports, it was gymnastics that truly captured his interest.  He competed all four years for the College of William and Mary’s Division 1 gymnastics team. 


After college, he stayed involved in gymnastics as a part-time coach and judge while building a career as an Information Technology consultant. Now as a father of five children, he enjoys playing games with them and watching them develop a similar enjoyment in their sports of choice.


Over the last several years, Steve has continued playing sports in local indoor soccer leagues and has become fond of running, completing two marathons, a half marathon, and the local Barber Beast on the Bay the past two years.  The obstacle course race was one of the more fun and challenging events he's completed, leading to an increased desire to bring a Ninja obstacle training facility to Erie.

Contact Stephen:

Me 1.JPG

Michael Balko

General Manager

Michael Balko joins the Sinai Sports staff after spending the past three years in other management positions across establishments in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Michael has spent a combined 16 seasons working with the Erie SeaWolves, Erie Bayhawks, and Erie Otters after playing football and soccer in high school himself.

Michael has sports journalism in his background as well, including his own children's book he published called: Roger's Great Play. Michael also hosts his own podcast (The Michael Balko Show) where he interviews high-level athletes in an effort to share their stories to help inspire the youth to chase their dreams. Michael has been featured all over the main stream media websites from journalism/podcasting and has graced appearances on ESPN, 24/7 Sports, Sports Illustrated, and hundreds of other websites across the world. 

Michael looks forward to bringing a positive approach to day-to-day operations at Sinai Sports and he can be contacted via email at

Derrick Lyons.jpg


Assistant Manager/ Personal Trainer

Derrick attended Towson University in Maryland and received his BS in Exercise Science/Sports Medicine with a minor in early childhood education. He was also a student athlete, playing division I football. Derrick is an athletic performance coach and a certified personal trainer through ACSM (American College of Sport Medicine).


Derrick has a passion for helping individuals reach their goals from seniors, adults, athletes, and kids. He joined the Sinai Sports team because he enjoys working with kids. His experience with coaching/ training allows him to bestow his knowledge into an enrichment lesson of physical activity for the kids, as coaching and teaching are arguably synonymous.


Derrick has been a part of several youth programs/camps where he’s been able to be both the coach and the teacher. Derrick’s natural knack for helping people, motivating people, and being creative play salient roles in his field of choice. Derrick believes that you can achieve anything you want with hard work, good behavior, and discipline.


Outside of coaching/teaching Derrick is working diligently on his entrepreneurial endeavors.


"Fun Fact” he has a twin brother! 

Contact Derrick: 



Parkour/Freerunning/Breakdancing/Tumbling & Flipping  Instructor

Nate developed a love of movement early in life but had no physical outlet that could hold his attention. It wasn't until age 16 that he and a friend taught each other basic tumbling skills in their backyards. Nate was quickly recruited to be a competition cheerleader during his senior year of high school. After taking third place at CCC Nationals, he graduated and was hired to coach floor tumbling over the summer before attending college that fall. That experience led to several other coaching positions over the next 15 years. Meanwhile, an exposure to breakdancing and free running during his time in college opened up new doors and unlocked new movements. He began to teach various breakdance classes between Meadville and Erie, but eventually returned to coaching in the years to come.


Nathan earned a USASF certification and continued to coach floor tumbling until he moved to Los Angeles in 2014. He informally continued his education while studying the diversity of movements and styles the West Coast had to offer. Upon moving home in late 2015, he resumed his role as a tumbling coach as well as an instructor for free running and parkour. He has most recently branched out into the world of ballet partnering and has had the opportunity to perform several times in the last three years.


As a lifelong fan of movement in all its various forms, he strives to continuously learn and to pass those lessons onto others.


Giavanna Casane

Gymnastics Instructor

Giavanna was born and raised in Erie, Pennsylvania and grew up participating in Gymnastics, Cheerleading, Soccer, and various other activities growing up. Giavanna participated in gymnastics for five years, cheerleading for nine years, and competitive cheerleading for two years. Giavanna is currently a sophomore at McDowell and also attends Erie County Technical School for sports therapy and exercise science. 

Giavanna loves being around kids in general, but most importantly loves watching them succeed and achieve their fitness goals. Giavanna loves working out herself, and understands how important exercise for young athletes is.

Fun Fact about Giavanna: She loves to go camping.

Alaina Carroll.jpg


Ninja Instructor

Alaina is a homeschooled high schooler who started working at Sinai Sports as front desk staff. She took her first Ninja class in the fall of 2021 and immediately fell in love with the sport along with the people involved.


She loves to coach all of the young ninjas and watch them improve every class. She is eager to improve her own ninja skills and become a better athlete.

A fun fact about Alaina is that she comes from a big family and has even managed to bring some family members in for Ninja classes. When Alaina is not in the gym working or training you can find her spending time with her family and friends. She also loves coffee, summer, working out, traveling, and sunsets.

Alaina is so excited for her coaching journey. She looks forward to coaching many Sinai Ninjas and watching them succeed.

Parker Schuller_edited.jpg


Ninja Instructor

Parker has been doing Ninja for almost three years now and has been coaching for 6 months.


Ever since he has seen the show, Parker has wanted to be an American Ninja Warrior.  He currently competes at local competitions whenever he can with his highest placing being first.


Parker is currently a 10th grader at McDowell and is really into science. He loves roller coasters, snowboarding, and biking and used to run Cross Country until a bad injury and he decided to stop.  He still runs in his free time if the weather allows it and will bike on occasions too.


Parker wants to keep training and sharping his Ninja skills while also teaching kids how to sharpen their own skills. 

Paige Guadagno_edited.jpg


Gymnastics / Ninja Instructor

Paige is an 8 year gymnast and has lots of experience working with kids and leading classes and group. She looks forward to seeing the growth from her students and seeing their faces when they get a new skill. She is also a summer camp counselor and loves seeing all the excited campers when they walk through the building new or returning.

Alix Rutter.jpg


Gymnastics Instructor

Alix is a homeschooled high schooler from North East. She did competitive gymnastics for nine years at Erie Gymnastics Center, and quit in 2021 due to injury. She never really stopped doing gymnastics though, and when she heard about the freerunning classes at Sinai she hopped on the chance to learn more.

She took freerunning classes at Sinai for three years, and breakdancing for almost a year. She is so happy to have the opportunity to make other people as happy as she was taking them!

Alix is currently a member of the North East High School Marching Band as a part of the color guard.

She never wanted to leave gymnastics, so being able to teach a new generation how to do what she loves really makes her happy. She hopes to make the kids happy learning new things everyday.

Elizabeth Darling 2.jpeg


Fitness Instructor

Elizabeth is a physical therapist and athletic trainer. She has been practicing for over 20 years and has a unique set of skills and experiences.


She has worked with USA Gymnastics as a medical provider for 20 years and is currently the Medical Director of the rhythmic gymnastics program. She has traveled extensively with the National Team and has covered numerous World Championships and Olympic Games. She developed a Physical Preparation Program and Movement Screen for rhythmic gymnasts.


In addition to her work with USA Gymnastics, she has also worked extensively with dancers including the Mercyhurst University Dance Department, the Joffrey Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Company, River North Dance Company, and the Broadway touring companies of Wicked, Movin’ Out, The Lion King, and The Color Purple.

She is also an Orthopedic Clinical Specialist and she is a certified lymphedema therapist. She has worked in sports medicine, orthopedics, and has developed a breast cancer wellness program that helped patients become aware of risk factors for developing lymphedema and then perform self care programs that help prevent lymphedema from developing and progressing.


She believes in treating the whole person and not just treating their pain. She loves being a physical therapist and loves the process of generously listening to her patients and then developing programs that help people return to their highest level.

Brock 6.JPG

Brock Rightnour-Hample

Ninja Instructor

Brock is part of the graduating class of 2024 at McDowell High School and was born and raised in Erie, Pennsylvania. Along with being a full-time student at McDowell, Brock also attends Erie County Technical School for Metal Fabrication.

Brock has played football and baseball throughout his life and has more recently grown a passion for weight training and puts his athletic focus there. Brock also loves to ski and play basketball in some of his free time as well. 

Brock is an advocate for physical well-being as he helps fellow athletes accomplish their fitness and diet goals by helping them with diet plans and workout goals. Brock is new to the ninja scene- but has thrived in classes and is extremely enthusiastic about his early coaching career.   


Chelsey Weisenfluh

Ninja Instructor

Chelsey was born and raised in Jefferson, Ohio. She did gymnastics until she was twelve and then began playing basketball, volleyball, and ran track all through the rest of primary and secondary school. She moved to Erie in 2005 to attend Gannon University where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in nursing. While at Gannon, she participated in every intramural sport available with her friends and developed an even greater passion for athletics.


Chelsey is married and has two ninja tots of her own (Adelaide, 4, and Eleanor, 2). She discovered Sinai Sports through the ninja tots open gyms back in 2019 but didn’t start participating herself until 2022 when she immediately became obsessed with the ninja sport. She worked for a local hospital until December of 2022 when she decided to stay home with her children and teach ninja to kids.


Chelsey loves being part of the Sinai team and feels blessed to get to be part of the athletic growth of so many kids.


Josie Plaster

Gymnastics/Ninja Instructor

Josie is currently a sophomore at McDowell High School and was born and raised in Erie, Pennsylvania. As growing up with a family who loves sports, staying athletic has always been important. These sports provide her with long-term friendships and help make her passionate about educating those around her. Watching improvement in these athletes keeps her engaged outside of her personal teams. 


Josie had been a gymnast for 10 years when she decided to move on to softball and volleyball. Continuing to love the sport after withdrawing from competition, coaching felt as a way to stay connected. 


Working with children ages 3-5 through McDowell Child Education Profession, provided a realness for being with young children on a daily basis. Meeting with the same classroom of children for 90 days a schoolyear, helped her build a closeness not only as an educator but also as a friend. Becoming knowledgeable provided her with the motivation to take her enthusiasm outside of the classroom and into the gym.

Coach Jake.JPG

Jake Marks

Gymnastics Instructor

Coach Jake Marks is a former Class 1 gymnast of 12 years and has spent more than two decades instructing the sport of Gymnastics to thousands of athletes across the country. Coach Jake spent 10 years as a Junior National Developmental Coach and was voted 2017's Pennsylvania Men's Gymnastics Coach of the Year.

Coach Jake has coached countless State Champions, Regional Champions, and National Champions throughout his coaching career across both Cheerleading and Gymnastics and he has coached 12 NCAA athletes and counting. Jake was a 2015 Berlin Cup Champion and a 2016 Pan American Team Silver. 

Jake is a devoted father of four who loves to spend his free time with his family, reading books, and spending time in the great outdoors. He continues to strive to help grow the Gymnastics program here at Sinai Sports by continuing to provide exceptional coaching to Erie's youngest athletes.

Favorite Quote by Coach Jake: "Breathe :)"

bottom of page