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

Teaches: CrossfitRivfit

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

Joshua Reed

I played a number of sports growing up, but focused on football and baseball while in high school. After going to college, I got into lifting weights and did a number of different programs before finding CrossFit in 2008. Like Coach Ross, I met Meredith through a mutual friend and box owner and have remained in contact ever since. Outside of CrossFit, I’ve also coached high school baseball and youth football.

I graduated from the University of Delaware in 2009, majoring in Political Science and Criminal Justice, and I graduated from Wilmington University in 2013 with a Master’s degree in Administration of Justice. From 2011-2013, I was a Probation and Parole Officer in Wilmington and New Castle County. While there, I completed training to become a member on the Correctional Emergency Response Team. In 2013, I moved to Seattle, WA to become a Police Officer with the city department. I graduated from the academy and was in the field training portion of the program when I ultimately decided that I wanted to leave law enforcement and pursue a different career path.

I moved back to Delaware and one of the first things I did was reach out to Meredith about getting back into the Riverfront community. Fortunately, there was an opportunity to join the team as a coach and I jumped at the chance! I look forward to giving my all as a coach and seeing the Riverfront community grow and succeed!

“Get big and strong.”

Certifications: CrossFit Level I

Kirsten Stallone

My name is Kirsten Stallone and I have been an athlete my whole life. Throughout high school, I played soccer, basketball, and track. When I moved onto college at Wilmington University, I continued to play soccer and was awarded NCAA rookie of the year. During my senior year, I broke my tibia and fibula completely in half and I never thought I would be in college-level shape again. When I finished college, I attempted to stay in shape by just running and trying to stay active, until my friend suggested CrossFit. I immediately fell in love and got into the best shape of my life not too long after that. My leg was stronger and I felt better than ever. The feeling of competition and the change I saw in my body and the mental strength I gained through CrossFit is something that I love and have become addicted to.

My favorite workout is Fran and Filthy 50.

One of my favorite quotes is “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”.

Certifications: CrossFit Level I, ACE Certified Personal Trainer

Gabrielle LePore

Unlike most of the Riv’s staff, I did not grow up with an athletic background (aside from the occasional backyard football and paintball with my two older brothers and their friends). 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 at anything, 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 that I loved 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

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!! Now, four years later, I am a very proud coach at RIV Athletics and an outspoken advocate of the amazing benefits that CrossFit 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 CrossFit Kool-Aid before you know it, and looking damn good doing it!

Certifications: CrossFit Level I, CrossFit Olympic Weightlifting, CrossFit Football

Ross Kleszics

I believe that in order to improve overall wellness, you must start with a healthy lifestyle, nutritional knowledge, and fitness goals. It is never too early or too late in life to get stronger and overcome obstacles that once seemed intimidating. I was a decathlete at West Chester University, where I discovered my love for lifting and athletic competition. After that, I obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition from the University of Delaware. I have been lucky enough to implement and share what I have learned throughout my CrossFit journey.

I met Meredith in 2008 through a mutual friend and box owner. Since then, I have been a personal trainer in Wilmington and now a CrossFit coach. This experience has allowed me to share, teach, and learn from all of the athletes and trainers with who I have previously worked. My certifications include: NASM CPT, CES, and CrossFit Level 1. There is nothing I love more than a fitness journey. If you have any questions or concerns I am always willing and able to listen.

Certifications: CrossFit Level I, NASM CPT, CES

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

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

Christina Gallant

I would love to begin my bio with a list of athletic accolades, titles, trophies, all the glamour, but that simply would not be true. I was raised by a school teacher and an airman, we were taught to work hard and work often. I played a variety of sports: soccer, swim team, cheerleading, and lacrosse- so you could say my love for constantly varied fitness started at a young age. I worked on a cattle and hog farm, so you can imagine a long day at work was also physically taxing.

After graduating from the University of Delaware, life took me on quite a road trip. Starting in Baltimore, a brief stint in Indiana, and then settling down in Texas for a few years. That is where I found CrossFit and fell in love. After a year in the gym, I took my CrossFit Level I and CrossFit Endurance course and began coaching in Texas at Capstone CrossFit. Fast forward to an injury and a move back to Delaware- I took over a year off from CrossFit and felt it. Every pound. I began working for lululemon athletica in 2014 and was given the opportunity to sweat and connect in our community and that’s how I found the Riv. I fell in love with the staff, members, and most importantly back in love with CrossFit. The one sport that no matter how long you do it, you’re never quite where you want to be. The opportunity to show up and try again is given daily and I love that.

Working for lululemon I am given the opportunity to sweat daily in our community and I started taking cycling classes in New Jersey. Add one more thing in to that constantly varied bucket, right? I’ve found that it gives me an additional outlet to lifting and is a great endurance supplement other than running. When I was offered the opportunity to work for the Riv and bring cycling to the Wilmington area, it was a no brainer.

If you want to challenge yourself in multiple ways, this is the place to do it. And a sick playlist on the bike doesn’t hurt either.

“Don’t watch the clock, do what it does. Keep going.” -Sam Levenson

Teaches: Cycling

Certifications: CrossFit Level I, CrossFit Endurance

Clay Jones

I was introduced to the sport of fitness during my freshman year at Temple University. Going into college wanting to be an architect, I decided I’d rather work with and change the lives of people every day, CrossFit was the answer. Starting my full time coaching career in 2012 has given me the opportunity to meet and coach hundreds of people from different backgrounds, ages, occupations and more. I couldn’t be more grateful to have the chance to share my passion of CrossFit with those willing to learn and get a bit outside their comfort zone.

Favorite quote: “Failure is the mother of all success.”

Certifications: CrossFit Level I, CrossFit Level II, CrossFit Weightlifting, CrossFit Strongman, CrossFit Kids

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

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

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: Mobility

Certifications: Masters in Sports Science

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: Front Desk Staff

Katie Slavish

Currently, I am a paralegal for the Public Defender’s Office.  At the end of 2015, I earned my Master’s Degree in Administration of Justice with a concentration in Criminal Behavior.  When I was younger, the only sport I loved was swimming.  Being in the water just made sense; it was the best outlet for me.  Unfortunately, after 10 years, I had to stop swimming and start physical therapy for my knees and back.  I did therapy for about 3 years.  When I finally bounced back, I tried to find any outlet that made me as happy as swimming.  From running to kickboxing- nothing seemed to satisfy me.  I ended up at a gym doing basic weightlifting and cardio exercises.  After a few years of searching, I finally stumbled across RIV Athletics.  I never heard of CrossFit and I was beyond nervous to try.  It took me about 2 months (and a kick in the butt from my co-worker) to actually walk into the gym.  I have not regretted that moment ever since!

Teaches: Front Desk Staff

Question? Get in Touch at: 302-745-2348 or info@rivathletics.com