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Ritchie CenterJr. Pioneers

Jr. Pioneers Gymnastics | Jr. Pioneers

Jr. Pioneers Gymnastics


Jessica Kennedy

Jessica comes to Denver from Philadelphia, Pa., where she began her gymnastics career at the age of 3. She was highly recruited out of high school after qualifying for level 10 Junior Olympic Nationals for four consecutive years.

After a successful sophomore season as a DU Pioneer, Jessica decided to end her competitive career and concentrate on her studies in psychology and criminology.

She is a teacher at DU's Fisher Early Learning Center and has been a Jr. Pioneers Gymnastics coach for seven years.

Amber Koziol

Originally from North Dakota, Amber was a competitive gymnast within the USA Gymnastics Junior Olympic program for six years and a high school gymnast.

Amber began working with our learn gymnastics program in 2004 and has been coaching our level seven and eight Jr. Pioneers gymnasts since 2007.

Drew Abarca

A Jr. Pioneers Gymnastics coach of seven years, Drew was a competitive gymnast at Dardano's School of Gymnastics for approximately seven years.

He received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Denver and is currently finishing his master’s degree in the same field.

Candace Brooks

Candace joined our gymnastics instructional team in fall 2010. She participated in gymnastics for 17 years and competed through level 9 in the USA Gymnastics Jr. Olympic program.

Candace has eight years of coaching experience. In addition to coaching our level 6 Jr. Pioneers gymnasts, she also teaches within our Learn Gymnastics program (link) and coaches the Denver East High School gymnastics team.

Originally from Illinois, Candace moved to Denver to complete her master's degree in social work at the University of Denver.

Michael Simon

Youth Gymnastics Director

Michael's involvement in gymnastics spans more than four decades as a competitor, coach, choreographer, clinician, program director and Colorado USA Gymnastics board member.

His high school career culminated in consecutive state championship titles on floor exercise and vault. Following collegiate competition at Michigan State University, Michael earned his bachelor's degree in Dance from the Juilliard School. He then performed with numerous modern dance companies while coaching and choreographing at various clubs and collegiate gymnastics programs.

Upon performance retirement, Michael concentrated on gymnastics full time and has taught at all levels--from preschool to elite international medalists, including 16 members of the U.S. National Team.