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Coaches and Staff
Peoria Elite Crew

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Karen Thomas

Girls’ Team Head Coach

Karen began her coaching career 33 years ago in Peoria, Illinois at the YWCA and Frank Freeman’s School of Gymnastics. Karen is also a beam and floor choreographer.

After coaching four years in the area, she accepted a coaching job in Singapore for two years for their optional team that competed internationally. She returned to the States and found her way to Texas where she coached for two years before opening her own gym in Texas with her husband. Their gym had recreational and team gymnastics, along with a tumbling and cheerleading program. During this time, she completed her Elementary teaching degree and her Master’s degree in Secondary Education. She taught Middle School Language Arts and coached in the evenings and weekends. Their gym had many successful gymnasts for 17 years, and several even received college scholarships. When her husband developed some health problems in 2005, they sold their gym.

She moved back to Peoria in 2007 where she started coaching again and was the Director of the Tumbling Program at the YWCA. In 2009 she resumed coaching and developing the successful gymnastics teams at the Clubs at River City. Recognizing the talent in the Peoria area and the potential need for an Elite program, Karen decided to join the Peoria Elite Gymnastics Academy in 2014.

Karen is a USAG Professional member, USAG Safety Certified, and Red Cross CPR/First Aid Certified.

Fred Hartville

Boys' Team Head Coach

Frederick “Fred” Hartville is from Atlanta, Georgia. He did JO competitive gymnastics up to Level 10 where he amassed several State Titles and was a Regional and National JO Qualifier representing Georgia and Region 8.

After high school he went on to compete for the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana under the direction of Olympian, Justin Spring. While at Illinois, Fred claimed a NCAA Title and 2 Big Ten Titles on the vault and is currently ranked 5th in the all time medal count on vault in Illinois history.

After leaving University of Illinois with a Bachelor’s in Business Process Management, Fred went on to full time coaching at I-Power School of Gymnastics in Champaign, Illinois. Using his experience from coaching at various camps, the University’s club program and personal training, Fred coached all levels from pre-team to Level 10 and achieved much success in producing State Champions and Regional Qualifiers for Level 9 and 10. Leaving I-Power after his first season, Fred went on to co-head coach at River City Gymnastics team along side Jenna where they produced several state champions in two seasons.

Fred brings high energy in the gym, and you will always catch him dancing around the gym or flipping around with the kids. Fred is very passionate about teaching technically sound gymnastics and helping every gymnast he encounters reach their full potential and goals in the sport.

Fred is a USAG Professional Member in Men’s and Women’s Gymnastics, USAG Safety Certified, and SAFESPORT Certified.

Jenna Parks

Girls' Team Coach

Jenna first discovered her love for gymnastics at the age of two. She competed gymnastics for 10 years at I-Power School of Gymnastics in Champaign, Illinois.  During that time, Jenna earned two Level 8 State Titles, was a four time Regional Qualifier, and competed as a Level 10 gymnast.

After graduating high school, Jenna went on to attend Illinois State University where she earned her Bachelor’s in Secondary Mathematics Education. While attending ISU, Jenna coached at I-Power for four years. She coached Levels 3-10 producing many state titles and regional qualifiers.

Jenna then began her co-head coaching career at River City Gymnastics with Fred.  During this time, Fred and Jenna produced 10 state titles in two years. Along with coaching at River City, Jenna teaches mathematics full time at Washington Community High School.

Jenna has a passion for coaching polished and high quality gymnastics. Her goal as a coach is to help gymnasts reach their own goals and potential in the sport. She truly enjoys sharing her passion and love for gymnastics with the girls she coaches. Jenna has a detailed orientated and hands-on coaching style in the gym.

On a personal note, Jenna was a member of the Gamma Phi Circus at ISU for three years. She performed in tumbling, wall trampoline, Russian Swing, and Teeterboard. Each year the Gamma Phi Circus puts on an annual show in Redbird Arena bringing in tens of thousands of people from all over Illinois to watch.

Jenna is a USAG Professional Member, USAG Safety Certified, SAFESPORT Certified, and CPR Certified.

Brittany Robinson

XCel Team Coach

Brittany’s love for gymnastics began at age 3, and she competed for Gymnastics Plus in Indiana until health conditions limited intense competitive training. However, she never lost her love for the sport and began her coaching career at Summit Gymnastics in Indiana where she coached for three years. While she was there, she coached the Junior Olympic compulsory levels, recreational classes and redesigned and led the preschool program. Then she moved to Peoria in order to attend Bradley University, and she began coaching at River City Gymnastics. Brittany was there for just over two years and working with the JO, Xcel, and recreational level gymnastics alongside Fred and Jenna.

As a coach, Brittany strives to create strong, disciplined, and determined athletes. She will do whatever it takes to help her gymnasts achieve their goals, both in and out of the gym. Brittany emphasizes clean skills with excellent technique, not only to produce good scores, but also to ensure the safety of her gymnasts.

Brittany’s education includes a Bachelor’s in Health Science from Bradley University, and she is currently a Doctorate of Physical Therapy student at Bradley. She believes her extensive background in exercise science and anatomy helps her be a better coach for her athletes. She prioritizes their physical well being, and so she implements a lot of strength and conditioning into their workouts in order to minimize risk of injury as much as possible in this high-impact sport. She also focuses on individual rehab for athletes who come to her with recurrent or chronic aches, pains, or injuries.

On a more personal level, if she is not studying or at the gym, she enjoys spending time outside or with her family. She has two biological brothers and three foster siblings in the northwest Indiana region.

She is a USAG Professional Member, USAG Safety Certified, SAFESPORT Certified, and CPR Certified. She is very excited to begin her journey with everyone at Peoria Elite and look forward to the season’s ahead!

Alicia Vonk

Special Event Coordinator, Recreational and Preschool Instructor

My name is Alicia Vonk, I am a cosmetologist, I have a husband and 3 children.  Family means everything to me.  I have a background of cheering and tumbling, and trampoline.  I love the outdoors, and most sports!! I love coaching and teaching children!!

Paige Koll

Recreational Instructor

Olivia Devanna

Recreational and Preschool Instructor

Miss Olivia D is currently a Junior at DHS.  She did gymnastics for 12 years and school cheerleading for 4 years as well as competitive cheerleading for 1 year!  Her favorite color is Yellow, when she is not at the gym coaching or at school she loves hanging out with her 2 siblings. Her dream pet would be a Huskey or a golden retriever!


Olivia Carson

Recreational Instructor

Miss Oliva C is currently a Jr. at Dunlap Highschool. She did Gymnastics for 8 years and even was a Regional Champion in Bars and Beam! She is currently using her past gymnastics experience to pursue diving and loves sharing her passion for gymnastics with all of her students!

Nate Darko

Special Event Staff
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