Meet the Black Flag Athletics Family

Tom Rini

Tom Rini

Head Coach & Owner

About Tom
Tom has been active in strength, conditioning, and fitness for over 20 years with an extensive background in performance enhancement, emphasizing sports performance, injury prevention, athlete development, human movement, and Olympic weightlifting. His experience includes the Director of Sports Performance at St. Ignatius High School, the Owner of A.I.M. Personal Training, the International Performance Institute at the I.M.G. Academies, and head Olympic Coach at Black Flag CrossFit. He is currently the C.E.O. & Co-Owner of Black Flag Athletics in Avon.

Throughout his career, Tom has had the distinct pleasure of training numerous state and national champions and Collegiate and Professional Athletes.

Tom has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Exercise Science with a concentration in Fitness Specialties and a Masters’ Degree in Education (concentration in Health & Physical Education), both from John Carroll University. He is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist by the National Strength & Conditioning Association, a Certified CrossFit Level 3 Coach, a certified Fitness Specialist, a Biomechanics Specialist, and the U.S.A. Weightlifting Club Coach.

Melanie Rini

Melanie Rini

Administrator & Owner

About Melanie
Pete Nelson II

Pete Nelson II

Coach & Owner

About Pete

Peter Nelson II is a fitness professional who takes pride in creating long-lasting, positive change. Through an all-inclusive approach to fitness, Peter looks at all aspects of one’s wellness and creates an individualized program that meets the client’s needs.

His Credentials Include:
Biomechanics Specialist (NESTA), Fascial Stretch Therapist (Stretch2WIn), Specialist in Fitness Nutrition, CrossFit L1, United States Weightlifting L1, and is Functional Movement Screen certified.

JIM LEUENBERGER

JIM LEUENBERGER

COMPETE Head Coach

About Jim

Jim Leuenberger is a health and fitness professional dedicating his full attention to helping others achieve their goals. As a Level 2 CrossFit Coach, USA Weightlifting Coach, and Precision Nutrition Coach, he possesses the skills necessary for not only helping you improve your overall health but also unlocking your true athletic potential.

Jim is the Head Coach of the Black Flag COMPETE program which is home to the fittest athletes in Northeast Ohio. The program is designed for athletes wanting to compete in the sport of competitive fitness and for those looking to take their fitness to the next level. He himself has experience training with the fittest athletes in the world along with competing in major fitness competitions across the country.

Jim fosters a positive and fun training environment to help you overcome perceived limitations and reach your goals whether that be to lose weight, build muscle, or compete at the highest levels of the sport. His mindset revolves around education, support, and constant encouragement.

Mandi Bernot

Mandi Bernot

Coach & Sales/Membership Manager.

About Mandi
Mandi has been involved with functional fitness/Crossfit training for over 10 years. She holds Crossfit Level 1, Crossfit Strongman, and Crossfit Mobility certifications. Her passion is helping others grow and achieve their goals, inside and outside of the gym.
JIMI BERNOT

JIMI BERNOT

Coach

About Jimi
Jimi started his coaching journey in 2013 and he hasn’t stopped since.

His education certificates include USAW L1, CF-L1, CF-Strongman, CF-Olympic Weightlifting, CF-Movement and Mobility, and the CF-Competitors Course.

He is diehard when it comes to two things…
The Browns and anything involving barbells.

LINDSEY OTANICAR

LINDSEY OTANICAR

Coach

About Lindsey
My fitness journey began when I was eight years old with gymnastics. It was a formative aspect of my childhood and I was fortunate enough to compete on the collegiate stage. In conjunction with competing for 12 years, I also spent 8 years coaching gymnastics at various levels.

After “retiring” and a few years of muddling through workouts on my own, I found CrossFit. I have been a competitive Crossfit athlete for the last five years. I have been able to represent Black Flag Compete at competitions such as Granite Games, Wodapalooza, and the West Coast Classic.

I am so excited to be a part of the Black Flag Athletics coaching team. They have been instrumental to my growth over the last few years, and I am hoping to be able to provide a similar experience to other members of the Black Flag Community. This place has become home and these people are like family.

DAWN ZIEGLER

DAWN ZIEGLER

Coach

About Dawn
I am a wife and mother of 3 teenagers. I manage a corporate career by day and thrive on everything health-related in my spare time.
I grew up an athlete, playing multiple HS sports and collegiate volleyball. My competitive nature is my greatest strength and defines me. I love that there’s always something I can improve, and being the healthiest I can be – while remaining sane and enjoying life – is my ever-evolving goal. I’m an early morning person who can’t live without a good (clean) pre-workout. I listen to country music in my car and Eminem in my home gym.

Over the years of my fitness journey, I found I have an even greater passion for helping others achieve their goals and improve their wellbeing. I have my CrossFit L2 and CrossFit Kids coaching certifications and am studying to become a Certified Functional Nutrition and Lifestyle Practitioner. My goal as a coach is to support your goals – to make you better – and ensure the hour your spend at BFA is the best of your day.

Max Seipel

Max Seipel

Coach

About Max

Max graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelors of Science in Education while also competing in Track and Field as a thrower for the Buckeyes. He threw the shot put, discus, and hammer and his team went on to win the Big Ten Championships twice during his time at OSU. After college, he began teaching for Avon Local Schools as a Middle school technology teacher. In addition to teaching, Max also coaches Freshmen Football and Varsity Track and Field in Avon.

Max also worked full-time as a Performance Coach at T3 Performance in the summer of 2019 after graduating college. While at T3, he coached both youth and college athletes as well as adult fitness classes. He also coached the T3 Barbell Olympic Weightlifting Team.

When he transitioned out of collegiate athletics, Max found his passion in CrossFit. He is attracted to the competitiveness and community aspect of CrossFit that he had been raised on as an athlete. He received his CF-L1 in April 2019 and has been coaching since.

Amy Emery

Amy Emery

Coach

About Amy

Amy has coached fitness classes since 2017. She received her CrossFit L-1 certification in 2018 and USA Weightlifting certification in 2019.

Amy is married to Michael Emery and they have two daughters. Amy and Michel both enjoy doing CrossFit and have been participating since 2013.

I love encouraging people along their fitness journeys. Watching people make the commitment to show up to the gym, work hard, and be part of a fitness family is rewarding.

Since being at Black Flag Athletics my husband and I have loved the excellent coaching, the dedication of the staff to truly being invested in their members well being and fitness goals as well as the community atmosphere.

Amy also enjoys spending time with friends, family, and traveling.