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Introducing our qualified coaching staff.
Tara Cain President of The Maryland Twisters
Tara Cain, owner of Maryland Twisters, is also one of the world’s most successful all-star coaches. She is best known for coaching the Twisters flagship team, F5, the 2011 World Champions. She has spent 20 years coaching athletes in this sport and is one of the most influential people in all-star cheerleading.
Her professional background was in pharmaceutical sales; and she juggled it with coaching cheer at night. After spending many years volunteering as a coach in recreational cheer, Tara decided to take cheerleading into a whole new direction in Maryland. She wanted to explore the new phenomenon of all-star cheerleading, which is competition only. As a result, she started the Maryland Twisters in 1998 with a mere 50 athletes. Today, the gym has two locations and has over 500 of the most talented athletes in the country. The Twisters teams have won 4 World Championship gold medals and hundreds of national titles. In 2005, she earned the "Coach of the Year" award by the U.S. All-Star Federation due to her ongoing efforts in the sport. Tara also helped create the new cheer uniform with GK Elite in 2008 which has changed the entire look and feel of competitive cheer. Despite all of the Twisters huge success, Tara has kept it all in perspective. She understands that her amazing staff has helped bring her dreams to life. And she appreciates all of the families who believed in Twisters & helped grow the brand into one of the most recognized cheer programs in the world.
She currently sits on the USASF Rules Committee and the National Advisory Board. Tara has been interviewed by ESPN, Fox Sports Network, American Cheerleader magazine and Inside Cheerleading magazine. She was nominated for the prestigious “Gym Owner of the Year” award at the 2012 World Championships. Considered a leader by her peers, Tara also does public speaking for numerous coaches’ conferences and teaches classes/clinics. Tara’s goal is to continue to grow this sport, and have it recognized as one of the top sports in the country.
Karla Hill Vice President of The Maryland Twisters and Director of Operations
Karla joined the Twisters staff as Vice President in 2005. She has an extensive background in accounting and management. Karla's primary responsibility is to manage accounts & also manages the office staff. For 15 years, Karla worked for Panasonic Corporation where she was a senior manager in their accounting department.
True Hall Coach & Choreographer
True Hall is also one of the nation's top female all-star coaches. She has coached cheerleading for the last 13 years and is a founder of the Maryland Twisters. True started her cheerleading career for East Glen Burnie Recreation in middle school and continued as captain for the varsity squad of Glen Burnie High School. Upon graduation in 1994, she stared coaching an area recreation team. She transitioned to the all-star arena shortly thereafter. She has coached both of her sisters, Jade & Taylor, their entire cheer career. Taylor is an 11-year member of the Twisters & has been on F5 for the past 8 seasons. True was also an instructor for Eastern Cheerleaders Association (ECA) for 2 years and was a professional cheerleader for Baltimore's soccer team, The Blast.
True has coached Twisters flagship team, F5, for the past 11 seasons. She has led F5 to many national titles including four consecutive NCA National titles, and one Worlds title in 2005. In 2006 & 2008, F5 placed 3rd at Worlds. In 2009, True also coached Supercells who won WORLDS. F5 placed 4th. In addition to her Twisters responsibilities, True works as a dental assistant.
Matt Green Coach, Choreographer, & Media Director
At the age of 9, Matt became a national champion for Tae Kwon Do. During that time, he also trained at Fairland Gymnastics where he earned many state and regional titles. He later retired from competitive gymnastics to become a member of Maryland Flyers All-Stars. In 2004, he joined Twisters and was captain for Maryland Twisters Reign Small Coed. In 2005, he graduated from DeMatha Catholic High School with honors. He graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in Philosophy. In 2006, Matt led his team to win several regional and national titles to include Grand Champion at ACDC's "Battle at the Capitol" Nationals. There, Reign won their very first full-paid bid to Worlds. Matt was happy to finish his last season at the 2006 World Cheerleading Championships. In 2007, Matt was the assistant coach for Reign, Small Limited Coed and Supercells, Large Junior level 5. Both teams went to the 2008 World Cheerleading Championships where Supercells earned the bronze medal. At the 2009 World's, Reign received 6th place out of 40 teams and also won the Nfinity Cup Award. In 2010, Reign was the first team in history to win the Nfinity Cup 2 consecutive years in a row. Matt recently came out of retirement and is a member on Black Ice, Twisters' first International Coed team. Along with Twisters, Matt also works at his mother's cardiology office in Oxon Hill, Maryland and does outside choreography work.
Kimmy has been apart of the competitive cheer world for the past 10 years. She spent most of those years at Kats Allstars that became KX Athletics competing as a level 5 athlete for 6 years. She has been coaching for 5 years. She went on to cheer her Freshman year of college at the University of Delaware winning 2nd place at UCA College Nationals. Kimmy then moved to Kentucky to cheer for the renowned University of Louisville. Within one year she had the honor of accomplishing what most people can only dream of. Kimmy was on the Large Coed team that took First place winning 2011 NCA College Nationals. That same year, she was also on GymTyme Allstars Open Level 6 team that went on to be crowned 2011 World Champions. Kimmy became part of the Twisters family for the 2011-2012 season. She spent the year working with F5 and will be the new coach of Velocity, Senior 5 restricted, in the 2012-2013 season. Aside from cheerleading, Kimmy is currently entering her senior year of Nursing school and will graduate in May 2013 with an R.N. nursing degree.
Rebecca has been a member of the Maryland Twisters since the program began in 1998. She has led several of our level 5 teams to numerous regional and national titles (Tinys, Storm, Reign and
F5) and has continued her cheerleading career on our staff. Rebecca has coached Breeze, Lite Sprinkles, Sidewinders, and Cyclones within the past 6 seasons. Rebecca has also competed with many local Open Co-ed teams including the Maryland Marlins, Cheer Thunder, and South Jersey Storm. Rebecca has competed at the USASF World Cheerleading Championships twice and
has captured a bronze medal in 2009. In the past, Rebecca has judged several local cheerleading competitions and has choreographed routines for recreational programs.
Recently, Rebecca graduated from Towson University earning a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education.
Mike Houck Coach & Choreographer
William Stokes Coach & Gymnastics Instructor
Will Stokes started with Twisters in 2008. He has contributed to the success of Supercells by guiding the team to NCA National Wins in 2009 and 2011 as well as World’s titles in 2009 and 2010. Will's passion and success in cheerleading started in high school and continued into college. He started cheering for Calvert Hall High School and later went on to Morgan State University where he also was a member of the cheerleading team. In 1998, he was a member of the very first Morgan State University Coed team that placed 8th at NCA Collegiate Nationals.
While still in college, Will joined Baltimore Ravens Cheerleading team. He was captain of the Coed Stunt team for 5 years and was a member of the Super Bowl XXXV Championship team. During his tenure, Will was named Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable cheerleader and also earned the prestigious Ravens Award. In 2006, Will was hired as the stunt head coach for the Ravens Cheerleaders. He is still the head coach of the Ravens Stunt Team and choreographs their end zone and sideline performances.
Will has also been featured in American Cheerleader magazine and in various publications. As part of the Ravens, he traveled with AFE Tour Group and performed for our troops in Iraq, Kuwait, and United Arab Emirates. Will currently works full time as a Project Manger for Grunley Construction and resides in Baltimore.
Nick Vasquez Coach & Gymnastics Instructor
Nick has been coaching tumbling for 11 years. He started out as a competitive level 9 gymnast and transitioned over to cheerleading on Celebrity All stars. He then became a member of the Top Gun All stars in Miami, Florida. He graduated college from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. He has worked with several programs including Ice Athletics where he helped coach one of their premiere teams. Nick has also worked closely with both Cheer Center and the Vizion Allstars located in Michigan. During the summer Nick helps run skill and choreography camps with programs across the country. He has now decided to plant permanent roots with the Maryland Twisters and we are so excited to have such talent added to our already world renowned staff!
Joe Vecchioni Coach & Gymnastics Instructor
Joe has been a part of the all-star industry for several years as a cheerleader & coach. Over the past 3 years he has become an integral part of the Twister organization. He was the coach for Revenge two seasons and helped with Tinys in 2006. His primary responsibility as a key tumbling instructor has enabled the program to increase their tumbling skill level. Joe also cheered competitively in the 2006 season for the open teams of Stingray All-Stars in Marietta, GA and South Jersey Storm in Williamstown, NJ. A graduate of North County High School, he is currently a student at Anne Arundel Community College where he plans to major in Business Management. He also uses his summers to travel throughout the country teaching tumbling clinics, cheer camps, music and choreography for several other teams. In addition, Joe has judged for various cheerleading companies. He currently offers private gymnastics lessons to various students. He spent the entire 2007-2008 season as the level 5 tumbling instructor. Three of his teams were at the 2008 and 2009 Worlds.
Shanell started cheering & coaching at Twisters 10 years ago. After 3 years of being a cheerleader at Twisters she transitioned into coaching. Shanell Weitzel began her cheerleading career at an area recreation squad when she was 12 years old. She stayed there for 2 years & transferred to Twisters her sophomore year of high school. She was a member of the Twisters small senior team, Rage, for 3 years. She helped lead her team to several regional titles and one national title at ACDC's "Battle at the Capitol" Nationals. Shanell is a 2003 graduate of Bowie High School where she was also the team captain for the varsity squad. That same year she was named "Best All-Around" as a summer camp staffer for the Coastal Corporation. Upon graduation, she started coaching at the Twisters working with Lite Sprinkles. That same year, Sprinkles won their first national title at Battle. Since then, Shanell has coached several teams that have won multiple national titles including NCA, COA, Jamfest Indy, Battle at the Capitol, Spirit Sports, and Allstar Challenge. In 2008 she helped the large junior team Supercells earn their first World's globe. In 2009, her team Supercells won the World Cheerleading Championships in the Junior International All-Girl division. She currently coaches the reigning 2010 NCA Junior 4 NCA national champions. She is looking forward to even more success in the upcoming seasons.
Shonte' has been coaching for 9 years. She started her coaching career at Galaxy Explosion as an assistant coach for the Junior team. She has coached at the high school level for the past 6 years. Her JV team received the County title in 2005. She is currently coaching the varsity team and coaching the Senior and Tiny team at Ravens Extreme All Stars. Her all star senior team received 7 1st place trophies and 4 grand championships including National Grand Champions. She is a paraeducator for Special Needs at Wilde Lake High School, teaches cheerleading skills at Lifetime Fitness and is the Director of I9 Recreational Sports. In the spring of 2010, Shonte’ assisted in the Ravens’ Junior team winning the National Title at Spirit Sports.
Angel DeJesus Choreographer & Consultant
Angel was a founding member of the Twisters program in 1998 along with Tara Cain & True Hall. A 1997 graduate from Old Mill Senior High School, Angel began coaching cheerleading in 1993 with Jessup Provinces Youth Organization & AA Gridiron Rebels. Angel then was a former cheerleader and coach at Maryland Rockets. Once the Twisters were finally established, Angel was the original F5 coach along with True Hall. They coached the 1st Twisters team to win a national championship at Americheer in 2000. He is a former COA Summer Staff member and Head Instructor. More importantly, he is a 3-time recipient of the NCA innovative choreography award. Angel has coached for some of the nations top all-star programs. Top Gun All-Stars, World Cup All-Stars, and now returning home to Maryland Twisters. He is one of the top choreographers in the country and works with various programs throughout the country. Angel's many accomplishments include winning two consecutive World Titles, NCA, Jamfest, UCA, COA, and many more!
Tom Balent Gymnastics Manager and Instructor
Tom Balent has returned to the Twisters program as a Senior Gymnastics Instructor. Tom trained as a gymnast while growing up in Texas and started his coaching career there as well. Tom soon transitioned into cheer where he became a solid stunter as well. A former member of the Ravens Stunt Team, Tom is a cross trained instructor in both cheer and tumbling. Tom was a member of the NCA winning Club Cheer Open team in 1999. Tom was a member of the 2000-2001 NFL Super Bowl performance team. Tom was a gymnastics/cheer instructor at Maryland Twisters in 2002. Tom worked as a gymnastics instructor at Maryland Marlins from 2003-2008. He was the assistant cheer/tumble coach for the University of Maryland Cheerleading program. Tom was also a 3 year veteran member of the Baltimore Ravens Stunt Team (2000-2003). Between 2004-2006 he was the Head Coach for Towson University. Tom has been a head Judge and Safety Instructor for Spirit Unlimited, COA, ACDC, NCA, ALLSPIRIT. Tom was also the Head Coach for Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Tom also has been the gymnastics instructor and head coach for Broadneck High School's cheerleading and gymnastics teams. He will be a huge asset to the Twisters program. As you can see, his resume is quite impressive.
Kevin Hays Head Gymnastics Instructor for F5
Mr. Kevin’s focus is on tumbling, conditioning and nutrition. He is a 20-year Navy veteran and has his USASF, USAG Safety, American Red Cross First Aid and CPR certifications. He is a member of the United States Elite Coaches Association (USECA). He is married to Laurie, and their daughters Meghan and Brenna are F5 alumni living in Orlando. Their daughter Kelly is a former cheerleading coach (Salisbury YMCA) and is in graduate school at Goucher.
Eric has been teaching tumbling and stunting for 12 years throughout the eastern seaboard. Eric is USASF certified in tumbling and stunting levels 1-5. He began his career with the Maryland Flyers Coed All-Star team, the 2000 Americheer National Champions. Eric also earned the title for the Americheer All-Star National Coed Partner Stunting Champion. Then in 2001, he worked for 2 years as a tumbling instructor for the Maryland Twisters and was a member of the Twisters Open team. During that time, Eric also cheered for the Baltimore Ravens. In 2005, Eric moved to Florida where he cheered for Brandon All-Stars Open Coed team. He then co-owned First Class Cheer and Tumbling in Tampa until 2006.Once he moved home from Florida, Eric returned to the Twisters program as a gymnastics instructor for both teams and classes for levels 1-5. He also teaches our famous stunt class on Monday nights with some of his Ravens colleagues. In addition to his Twisters responsibilities, he volunteers as a tumbling and cheer instructor for Cape St. Claire recreation program. He has been involved with this program for the past 3 years. For 7 years, Eric was the head production manager for American Cheerleading and Dance Academy. He also serves as a judge for the company and staffs many of their events.Eric is engaged to Krissy Dize, and they are to be married in 2010. They have a 1 year old little girl.
Ben started tumbling at age 3 and never stopped. In 2004 he began cheering at Bowie Senior High School on the varsity squad. In his four years on the squad, Bowie High won many local, county, and national titles. In 2007 Ben was recruited to cheer for the Maryland Twisters Small Senior Limited Coed team Reign. He was a member of the first Reign team to win the Nfinity Cup. Ben continues to cheer for Maryland Twisters and is one of the original team members of the International Open Coed team Black Ice. He has competed at USASF Worlds twice with Reign and twice with Black Ice. Ben is a USASF certified level 5 tumbling and stunt instructor. He coaches levels 1-5 team tumbling in addition to private lessons at Maryland Twisters. Ben has also coached at the University of Maryland Gymkana Summer Camp and Camp Woodward in Pennsylvania. He is passionate about sharing his love for cheerleading, tumbling, and the trampoline with all his students. Ben is currently attending Anne Arundel Community College.
Donna Conway Coach
Donna coached her daughter Stacey, who is now 24 as well as her nieces when they were cheering for the local recreation team. Donna graduated from PGCC with an AA degree in Early Childhood Development. She has coached Eye of the Storm, Twisters' Special Needs team, since it's inception 4 years ago. Donna is the office supervisor for Goldman Packman Periodontics in Glen Burnie. Donna lives in College Park with her husband Tim, who coaches Special Olympic Basketball and her two dogs Tiara and Bailey.
*currently coaches Eye of the Storm (Special Needs)*
Sharon Myrick Coach
Sharon coached for 7 years in her local recreation program and 2 years for a competition-only recreation team before bringing her daughter to the MD Twisters in 2000. She was a team parent rep for 3 years before becoming a coach for Eye of the Storm, Twisters' special needs team. She has worked with special needs athletes since 1990 through MD Special Olympics as both coach and volunteer. Her son, Jimmy, is a Special Olympics athlete and a cheerleader for Eye of the Storm. Sharon is also the advisor to the Director of the USASF Special Needs Committee.
Eye of the Storm was the first Special Needs team to win an NCA title in 2007. Eye also won the title in 2008. Sharon graduated from Prince George's Community College with an A.A, degree in Medical Technology, working in the field for 18 years. She switched careers in 1996 and currently works as an accounting representative for Anne Arundel Veterinary Emergency Clinic in Annapolis. She lives on the Eastern Shore in Chester, MD with her husband Jim, her son Jimmy and her daughter Jamie.
*currently coaches Eye of the Storm and Storm Chasers (Special Needs)*