Coaches & Staff

Meet the Crew that will help you every step of the way.

Meredith Ruggio

Athletics and sports have been a part of my life starting at a very young age, trying everything from soccer to track, then becoming a varsity softball athlete throughout high school. After graduating from Syracuse University, I moved to Colorado to pursue skiing, hiking, and mountain biking. This then grew into the sport of running and biking. I participate in many local races and have taken part in 4 sprint triathlons. I’ve always been known to follow my heart and search out new challenges, both physically and mentally.

In 2007 my heart found CrossFit and I have been in love ever since. I have been a CrossFit box owner since 2008 and am now the owner of CrossFit Rivefront (aka TheRiv). The athletes, coaches, and staff at TheRiv are not just my employees and members, they are my family, and most of all the work is not work, it is FUN, it is thrilling, exciting, and a new adventure everyday!

“Nobody said it’s going to be easy. You have to dig into yourself. Think about your family. Think about the journey itself. THINK IN THE MOMENT.”
-Meb Keflezighi

Certifications: CrossFit Level I, CrossFit Endurance, CrossFit Kids, CrossFit Nutrition, CrossFit Gymnastics, CrossFit Olympic Weightlifting, Stages Certification

Michelle Kasker

Michelle grew up with athletics as a major part of her life.  She spent most of her childhood as a gymnast and dancer.   As she progressed through middle school and high school, basketball and softball started to take more of a focus.  She experienced “training” for the first time at Drexel University where she played softball and had her first real access to a Strength and Conditioning coach.  After college, it was hard to find that intensity again until she discovered Crossfit in early 2009.
Since discovering Crossfit, Michelle has competed in both local and National Olympic Lifting meets including the 2013 American Open where she placed 16th in the 75 kilo weight class. She held the Snatch, Clean and Jerk, and totals record in PA for almost 2 years. Additionally, she has been an athlete at the Crossfit Regionals on the team side of competition in 2012, 2015 &2016.  The highlight of her career was competing as an individual athlete at the 2013 Crossfit Mid-Atlantic Regionals and placing 8th!  She fell in love with coaching in 2010 and has no plans of stopping anytime soon. She earned her B.S. in Health Science and her M.S. in Sports Management.

Certifications: USAW Level 1 Sports Performance, Coach Crossfit L1, Crossfit Kids, NASM Certified Personal Trainer

Adam Kramer

In the past, I have played baseball, lacrosse, football and wrestling and currently, I am a wakeboarder/kiteboarder, mountain biker, crossbow shooter, speargun fisherman, and a racquetball player. During each of these activities I was and am forced to recruit all of my muscles at once. I have always had the ideology that no matter what sport I am playing, I am required to recruit all of my muscles at once and need to learn how to maneuver them all at the same time in harmony. I was the nutcase at the gym 20 years ago who would break out 3 bars and do a circuit including deadlifts, bench press, squats, and pull ups (4×10). Everyone would look at me like I was crazy, but this type of circuit training was making me bigger, faster and stronger no matter what the activity was.

When I was introduced to CrossFit it was literally a no brainer. I knew that I needed CrossFit training in my life. “Constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity,’’ is well said by Glassman, and just makes sense to me. Implementing weightlifting, olympic lifting, gymnastics, and endurance into a well thought out training plan covering the whole body all while having a blast is contagious! I have always been addicted to that adrenaline rush, “butterflies in your stomach” feeling you get before the game, match or competition of any sort, and I get that rush on a constant basis competing with myself. Not to mention the challenge and ever changing WOD’s to keep it fresh, exciting, and new. The camaraderie, community, and general respect amongst the CrossFit population are also welcoming to any newcomer no matter what stages of life we are living.

CrossFit has also helped me help others, which is a passion in my life. Currently, I coach a CrossFit-style bootcamp to Juvenile Detention teenagers. Working out with the boys has allowed me to build relationships, share my life experiences, and through that, coach them into productive and healthy lifestyles. CrossFit has provided a way to plant seeds in the hearts of these young men.

I am currently getting my masters in Correctional Ministries, have a B.S. in Sports Management as well as a B.S. and M.S. in Theology. When you see me in the gym, please introduce yourself. I may look like I bite, but I promise I don’t! I believe everyone has a gift to bring to the table and would enjoy listening to your story.

“Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance.”  -Francis de Assisi



Certifications: CF-L1, Brand X Method Kids Certified, GULF COAST BIBLE INSTITUTE  B.S./M.S. Wilmington U. B.S in sports mtg. DE Customer service certified CPR Currently getting masters at Wheaton college in correctional ministries OSHA certified

Gabrielle LePore

Unlike most of the Riv’s staff, I did not grow up with an athletic background. My first experience working out came my senior year in high school when I decided to enlist into the Marine Corps. I had to lose weight and prepare for the mental and physical challenges the Corps had in store for me. I have never considered myself to be very good athletically, but I gave boot camp my all and to my surprise, I came out on top graduating with honors.

Fast forward four quick years and I was a civilian again, only this time as a single mother. I put on a lot of weight and became depressed having left the Corps in order to prevent being deployed and leaving my baby girl, Anabella. One day my cousin mentioned I should join her CrossFit box but it was too far and didn’t have classes to fit my schedule. So, I began searching for more local boxes. What initially drew me to the Riv over the other boxes was the frequency and variety of the classes it offered. I tend to get impulsive when I’m excited about something so I immediately called for more information. When no one answered, I sent an E-mail. When I didn’t hear back within ten minutes, I got in my car and drove to the Riv. Although I was intimidated, I got the courage to walk in and was greeted by Meredith. She began to explain how much of a community the Riv is and how welcoming and encouraging everyone is and it started to calm my nerves. I signed up right away and began the Elements classes.

After my first WOD, I knew I found something special and I couldn’t get enough. I started attending 5-6 days a week. It was the only thing I looked forward to each day. I admired Meredith and the coaches so much that a couple months later when Meredith offered me a position at the front desk, I couldn’t contain my enthusiasm! When Meredith first explained the Riv was a community, I didn’t quite understand. Now after having been a member, I completely understand and couldn’t imagine my life without it! The Riv truly saved me and has provided a positive environment that me and Anabella absolutely adore.

Certifications: CrossFit Level I, Stages Certification

Mikaelyn Austin

I’m originally from sunny San Diego, but made the trek to the East Coast in 2004 to attend the University of Pennsylvania. There I studied Mixed-Media Production and was a duel sport D-1 Athlete on the Women’s Basketball and Women’s Track & Field teams. After graduating from Penn, I trained as an amateur Muay Thai Kickboxer and served as captain and starting Quarterback for the Philadelphia Liberty Belles women’s semi-pro, full-tackle football team.

In 2010, CrossFit crashed into my life like a big mac truck. In less than a week of classes, I was obsessed!!  In 2013 I earned my CFL1 and since then I have been a very proud coach at RIV Athletics, and an outspoken advocate of the amazing benefits that CrossFit and our many other programs can provide people of all levels of fitness! As a former division one athlete, I have a true PASSION FOR POWER. So, watch out all you new members… I will have you drinking the RIV Kool-Aid before you know it, and looking damn good doing it!

Certifications: CrossFit Level I, CrossFit Olympic Weightlifting, CrossFit Football, USAW Sports Performance Level 1, Brand X Method Kids Certified

Chelsea Smith

Throughout my life Ive always had a passion for health and fitness. I was actively involved with sports such as soccer, track and field, and swimming. I was always mindful of nutrition as well, which led me to major in Dietetics at the University of Delaware. After graduation, with a B.S. in Dietetics, I went into various jobs in this field and it was then that I realized I wanted to pursue more of the fitness side of things.

Three years ago I was introduced to CrossFit and I have been hooked ever since. I love not only the physical side of it but the community that you are introduced to and become a part of. I look forward to continuing to grow and passing on the knowledge Ive obtained. I aspire to help change someone’s life just as this community has changed mine.

“Its never too late to become what you might have been.”

B.S. in Dietetics CF-L1

Teaches: CrossfitRivfit

Certifications: CrossFit Level I, Brand X Method Kids Certified

Michael Simmonds

A vice that is healthy and addicting- that’s what I think about when people ask me, ‘why CrossFit as a go to fitness regimen?’

For me, it’s simple: I am a believer in staying fit. I have played competitive sports all my life and I like to try the next exercise wave, to stay updated, and connected to the exercise world. After giving my daughter part of my liver last year, I realized that I had taken great care of my body for a moment like that. Not only did it save my daughter’s life, but it served me well too. My healing process was remarkable. Naturally, I was anxious to start working out again, but was still cautioned to do so very slowly. I was looking for an exercise to match my intense desire for working out. I couldn’t lift heavy weights, so I needed something with modifications that was still challenging enough to give me that “high” that comes with the increase of endorphins during high-intensity exercise. That’s CrossFit.

I have also been an avid runner now for ten years. While running on a beautiful Thanksgiving morning, 8 years ago, I experienced my first runner’s “high”. I was never the same after that. I was hooked on running from that day on and at the age of 44, I’m still running.

I began kettle bell training 9 years ago and most recently at the YMCA. I have also taught several TRX classes. My running history has taken me all over the tri-state area and even to Washington DC, Baltimore, and Virginia. My addiction to running is so intense that my running sneakers are the first things that I pack when I am traveling (for business, or leisure).

A co-worker and CrossFit coach told me that I would become a “crossfitter” once I tried the first class. I started watching the Games on YouTube and thought he was crazy! Yet, I wanted to see the BOX for myself. Coach was right, I am a “crossfitter”.

With my passion for running and staying in shape, CrossFit has helped me tremendously. The coaches there have helped me to return to my pre-surgery running distance, speed, endurance, and stamina. This was done through their tailored, expert exercise modifications for me. They carefully modified my sit-ups, lunges, and other exercises through personalized techniques, so as not to cause me any further injuries to my healing body. Their endless encouragement and patience helped me to get where I am today!

Please do not look at CrossFit and think you can’t do it! Please look at it as a lifestyle challenge and a way for you to stay healthy and in shape for life! CrossFit is a key tool in providing athletes and other exercise enthusiasts with motivation to get fit and stay fit.

Come visit and you too will love the Riv.

Think energy. Think stamina. Think increasing health and self-confidence, one workout at a time.

Teaches: EnduranceRivfit

Certifications: CF-L1

Abby Long

Abby Long, 24
I was drawn to crossfit because my normal workout routine was non-existent, boring, and un-motivating.   I also was getting married in 6 months and needed to kick it into high gear for that dress!! Flash forward two years and I am in the best shape of my life and have had a consistent workout routine for the last two years. I love crossfit for its constant variation, intensity, scalability and overall moral that is in the air when I walk through the garage door.  This past summer I needed a change in my summer job and when the opportunity presented itself to work at the place that has become a second home the last 2 years it was a no brainer. I love teaching cycling and getting everyone to push themselves to their max each and every class. I also love working the front desk and being able to connect with the members and really make this an amazing community to be a part of. The RIV family is unlike any other!!

Certifications: CF-L1, Level 1 Indoor Cycling Instructor

Francina Persaud

I had spent most of my younger years into my teenage years dancing, but along the way I had played multiple sports. When I entered a vocational high school, I was introduced to the world of sports medicine, and because of my passion for human anatomy I ended up at the University of Delaware for Athletic Training. I graduated in the spring of May 2017 as a Certified Athletic Trainer and am now learning about an entirely new type of athlete.


While shadowing with Redline Recovery at The Riv, I was offered a position to work at the front desk. It did not take very long for me to find myself incredibly inspired by so many of the athletes and coaches. Soon after, I found myself working out more and more with each passing week. Even though it is hard, and some days a little intense, there is a new-found confidence I have discovered with each workout I accomplish. Through the great friends I’ve made there and things I’ve learned both mentally and physically, I can genuinely say The Riv is quickly becoming one of the best things that has happened to me.”

“I knew who I was this morning, but I’ve changed a few times since then.”
― Lewis CarrollAlice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

Front desk Staff, Redline Recovery Trainer

John Hanlon

Howdy! I’m John and I have a passion for combat sports. I love mixed martial arts, boxing, Bjj, kickboxing, and any other self-defense application. I’m currently a defensive tactics instructor for a federal law enforcement agency and prior to that, I moonlighted as a professional mixed martial arts fighter with a record of 4-2.

Teaches: FightFitRivfit

Jacki Wahlquist

After needing a change of pace from her regular workouts, Jacki took her first cycling class seven years ago and was instantly hooked. Before moving to Delaware, Jacki taught cycling at some of the best studios in Philadelphia. Music is the most important part of Jacki’s classes, which are sure to challenge you both mentally and physically. Whether she’s playing hip hop, pop, reggae, or classic rock, you can be assured that the music will dictate the ride. Above all else, it is important to Jacki that riders of all fitness levels feel comfortable and ultimately successful at the end of every ride.

Teaches: Cycling

Joanie Husband

I have been training in Wilmington, DE and Ocean City, MD for the past 15 years. In that span of time, I have always had a passion for fitness, but discovered the added benefits of how a good exercise program can help relieve stress and increase coping skills as my family grew. I strive to share this philosophy with everyone I come into contact with, both inside and outside of the gym walls. As a FightFit coach at The Riv, my classes are based on “old school” proven boxing training mixed with the newest methods of training in the industry. My belief is that training should be challenging, FUN and continually changing to enhance and confuse your muscles and develop solid endurance. I can’t wait to meet you and bring my experience and passion to each and every class I coach!

Teaches: FightFit

Certifications: ACE, American Kickboxing Institute, RockSteady Boxing, Turbokick Gold

Matthew Keen

I got into weightlifting when I began playing college baseball. After college, I used working out as a means to replace the competitive aspect that team sports had previously provided. I had done CrossFit style workouts on my own for about seven years, but joined a CrossFit box for the first time in the summer of 2013.


Teaches: CrossfitRivfit

Certifications: CrossFit Level I

Shannon Matheny

As an Athletic Trainer, my passion is to help athletes continue their passion without pain. This led me to the University of Alabama where I completed my B.S. There, I worked with multiple collegiate teams including Alabama Football for the 2013-14 season. During undergrad, I also broadened my scope of the medical field by studying abroad at the Nation Taiwan Sports University where I learned traditional eastern medicine. I worked with the Judo, tae kwon do, and Olympic weightlifting teams.

I then continued on to earn my Masters degree in Sports Medicine at the University of Delaware. During the two-year program, I was a research assistant, worked with the Men’s and Women’s ice hockey teams, and was the head AT for a high school in Delaware. When I started CrossFit myself, I found another passion both for the sport and its athletes. Since the spring of 2016, I have been working with CrossFit and weightlifting athletes for the prevention, maintenance, and recovery from injury.

Teaches: MobilityRivfit

Certifications: Masters in Sports Medicine

Tori Grimm

Growing up I played several different sports, but eventually when I got older I made the decision to just be competitive in year-round volleyball. When I made the hard decision to choose a college that didn’t have a volleyball team, I started to look for other structured workouts because I found it hard to motivate myself to go to the gym and do my own workouts. Therefore, I discovered and completely fell in love with Shaun T’s home workouts that included Insanity and Asylum. I was never a bad eater, but wasn’t the healthiest either. However, after living in London my junior year of college, I was introduced to a much healthier lifestyle with clean eating and no processed food. I noticed a huge difference in the way I looked and felt. So when I came home I researched a lot of diets, which is how I found the Whole30 and decided to dive right into it for the first time. Since then, I’ve followed a paleo diet which happened to introduce me to a lot of CrossFit people.

Tired of my workout routine, I became extremely interested in doing CrossFit but always was too intimidated to walk through the doors by myself. I graduated from St. Joe’s in May of 2016 and moved back to my home town, Wilmington. I immediately looked up CrossFit gyms and came across CrossFit Riverfront. I talked (I guess more like forced) my sister, Meghan, into taking just one class with me because if we didn’t like it we would’t have to go back. However, I think you know the rest of the story…the day we walked in the door was the day we got our membership and never looked back. I now call the Riverfront my second home because I’m there every day, more than once a day, whether I’m working the front desk, working out, or just stopping by to see and catch up with friends.

Riv Athletics is a great place to come and get different types of workouts. When I first joined, I still wasn’t comfortable enough doing CrossFit, so I stuck to the RivFit workouts we offer that uses dumbbells instead of barbells. The RivFit workouts were definitely challenging and over time the coaches pushed me to pick up heavier and heavier weights. I not only became stronger physically, but mentally, and quickly learned that your strength is limitless. After a couple of months of getting comfortable with the programming, I decided to join the CrossFit side and take those classes with the support of coaches and members!

I never thought I was capable of accomplishing some of the things I have since I joined the Riv and there are still times I look at the workouts and think there is no way I can complete it. However, by the push of coaches and motivation from members I always find myself maxing out and finishing the workout. The best part about the Riv is that it doesn’t matter what age or level you’re at…you can be the first one done the workout or the last, but everyone is constantly cheering each other on and motivating you not to give up. Being a part of the Riv and taking classes has truly made me learn to enjoy every step of the process and to be determined to be better than I was yesterday. I’ve also learned it’s not about how good you are, but how good you want to be!

A motto I live by is: “Do what you have to do for you”. By setting goals for yourself and exceeding certain limits you have the power to become your best self. The coaches at the Riv will not only guide you, but they’ll push your limits mentally and physically every day.

Teaches: Rivfit

Meagan McDonald

I swam competitively from the time I was 4 all the way through my college days at Lehigh University. During college, I first discovered my passion for coaching as a summer swim coach. I loved every second of it. After college, I had an abrupt lifestyle change when I commissioned as an Officer in the U.S. Army. Despite being in shape from swimming, I struggled to meet Army physical standards which focused almost exclusively on running. I began running daily and training for distance races, working my way up to half marathons. My deployment in 2013 led to the discovery of my passion for both CrossFit and Indoor Cycling, as I was forced to move my workouts indoors. Both workouts challenged and pushed me to my limits in unique ways. When the cycling instructor at my location redeployed home, I stepped up and started teaching the classes myself. What started as a temporary fix became a passion that continues today.

When I returned from deployment, I got out of the Army and received a job offer from as a Human Resources Manager for DuPont, bringing me to Wilmington, DE. As a kid, I spent the majority of my formative years near Philadelphia, so it was great to be near “home.” Once settled in my new “day job,” I got my official Spinning certification from Madd Dogg and started teaching at the Central YMCA, where I still teach one day a week. When I found out RIV Athletics was adding a cycling program, I knew it was meant to be; a way for me to get reintegrated in the CrossFit world, while continuing my love for teaching indoor cycling.

In my “free” time, I love reading and being outdoors. I’ve dabbled in triathlons, and would like to complete a half Iron Man. My philosophy in both fitness and life is “if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” I firmly believe the harder you work at something, the greater the reward. I’m excited to get to know and challenge all of the athletes at the Riv!

Teaches: Cycling

Certifications: Stages Certification, Madd Dogg

Whitney Potts

Whitney is excited to join the CrossFit Riv team as a cycling instructor. Potts fell in love with CrossFit while she was pregnant with her son, and appreciated the scalability and functionality of the programming. She is an ACE certified personal trainer, Les Mills certified Sprint Cycling and Bodypump instructor, and other certifications. Potts formerly worked as the Fitness Coordinatior at her alma mater, University of Delaware. She works full time for the Delaware Attorney General’s Office as a Legal Assistant, and is working on her Paralegal Certification.  Whitney loves fitness for the same reason she loves working in the legal field, as the most rewarding part of life is giving back to others and helping people live lift to their fullest.

Teaches: Cycling

Certifications: ACE certified personal trainer, Les Mills certified Sprint Cycling and Bodypump instructor

Lesley Frost

Hello! My name is Lesley Frost!

I grew up in New England in a shoreline area and has always loved being active outdoors, hiking, biking, kayaking, and swimming. I have lived in Delaware since 1995.

While in Delaware my passion grew for indoor cycling as well as Pilates as two of my favorite go to’s but no means limited to.   In 2007 was the year that I advanced my training to in the fitness and wellness world and became certified and began instructing both Cycling and Pilates… As I said before these were among my favorites, but variety is the spice of life and a challenge is always welcome. Learning more and sharing more about how to improve our health, functionality and to feel good physically and emotionally I have h studied and been certified in Yoga, Barre, Functional Personal training, Personal Training, Wellness Coaching, Pilates, Indoor Cycling, Get Ripped, kickboxing, Barre, core functionality, plus others.   Over the years I have developed a variety class styles, integrating strengthening, stretching, cardio and yes fun into class. It needs to be enjoyable not a chore, but can still challenge you. It’s a passion to help others see their potential and grow and feel great, that is something that is important to me. At any age we can start and make a lifestyle change in the steps we choose to take baby steps, strides, to leaps we pick our cadence but all with a common goal.


What is my goal? To help you bring out the best in you!

Teaches: CyclingFightFit

Certifications: Indoor Cycling, Pilates, Body Combat, Get Ripped, CX Worx, Functional Personal Training, Wellness Coach

Katy Parsley

I am a very active person and have been since I can remember. I grew up in NY training on the ice as a competitive figure skater from the age of 5. By 15, I had significant hip problems and was beginning to look at colleges and the countless hours at the rink had to give. I found other activities including cheerleading (collegiate and competitive all-stars) and cycling at that time. My dad is an avid road cyclist and it was something I loved to do with him. It became a passion of mine, both outdoors and in cycling classes. I also trained at a local gym similar to the Riv.

I received my BS/MBA in finance from the College of Saint Rose then completed a post-baccalaureate certificate in pre-medical studies. I continued on to Albany Medical College where I received my MS in Physician Assistant Studies.

Last summer, I relocated to Delaware to join my boyfriend where I didn’t know anyone except him. My first thought about moving was, “how I am I going to find a gym like mine??” I met a friend and when I told her how disappointed I was to leave my gym and that I hadn’t found anything here, she immediately made me join her for RivFit. I fell in love with the workouts, trainers, and the family/community feel that the gym has. So, when I heard that this awesome place was going to be offering cycling, I was beyond excited and had to be a part of it.

I really enjoy sharing my love for and knowledge of cycling with others. I focus on form and endurance training during my rides and aim to make everyone feel challenged as it is a great addition to any athlete’s training plan.

Teaches: Cycling

Certifications: Stages Certification

Heidi Corbin

I am a PA native. I was born and raised in Pittsburgh then spent twenty-five years in Philadelphia and Delaware County.  I was athletic in high school all four years.  Even though I earned a BBA in Finance/Risk Management & Insurance from Temple University, most of my electives were taken in the fitness department.  I found myself very interested in the step classes in the basement of my dorm then eventually the fitness classes at various gyms in Center City Philadelphia.  I hired a personal trainer who soon encouraged me to obtain a fitness certification.  That first certification was in 1998!  Health and wellness became in integral part of my world while working in the banking and finance industry. I have experience as a fitness professional in personal training and classes such as boot camp, interval training, core conditioning, indoor cycling and Zumba.

After several years of inspiring and motivating others to live healthy, I had two children and changed to the career of a public school teacher.  Then, I had my own health challenges from cholesterol to cancer scares.  I had to learn the lesson of treating/motivating myself the same as my clients & fitness class participants.  As I renewed my own wellness journey, I dug deeper into my commitment to motivating others to live healthy through education and mentorship.  My journey has taken me through fitness facilities in Philadelphia and Delaware County.  I have even held fitness classes in my school district for other educators as well as coached cheerleading and led a student running club.

My mission has always been to help strengthen the community through encouraging and inspiring people to live healthy.  As a new resident of Delaware, I am excited to join the RIVFit family to keep that mission alive.

Teaches: Cycling

Certifications: Indoor Cycling, Group Exercise, Personal Training, Zumba and Zumba Gold

Natalie Rickerback

My name is Natalie Ritterbeck. My fitness career started about four years ago. I went to my first spin class in 2011 and fell in love! After that I knew I wanted to start teaching. I received my certificate from Schwinn in spin and group fitness and starting coaching classes at Retro fitness in bear De.
It’s fun to share a workout I’m passionate about.

Teaches: Cycling

Certifications: Schwinn Spinning and Group Fitness

Question? Get in Touch at: 302-745-2348 or

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