Coaching Staff

Jesse Clay (Levels 5 & Cubs)

Jesse was a star football player at Paul IV High School in Fairfax, VA. He became a gymnastics instructor for the Arlington Gymnastics program in 2007. Since then, Jesse has provided critical support for expanding the boys programs. He began coaching the Tigers team in 2009, developed a level 3 boys class to provide more opportunities for boys excel in gymnastics. Outside of the gym, Jesse is a recording artist in Alexandria, who also does break dancing and Parkour.

Sonja Clark (Head Coach and Levels 4)

Sonja loved gymnastics as a child. She started when she was five years old and continued through the beginning of high school. While in
college at San Francisco State University, she instructed gymnastics for the City of San Mateo Parks and Recreation Department. After college, she moved to Washington, DC for graduate school at American University. In 2002, Sonja returned to California and instructed gymnastics for the City of Stockton Parks and Recreation Department.
Upon moving back to Washington, DC in 2004, Sonja found a new home instructing gymnastics for the Arlington Gymnastics program. Sonja has worked with the Aerials and Tiger competitive teams, coordinated lesson plans for the pre-school program, and taught recreational gymnastics classes. Sonja is USA Gymnastics Safety Certified.  She judged her first JO meet last year.  She lives in Falls Church with her husband Chris and twin daughters Anna-Kristina and Nora-Elizabeth.  Sonja loves international travel, art and culture, hiking and kayaking. 

Joey Barefield (Levels 5+)

Joey developed an interest in gymnastics at the age of six while living in Wheaton. Being heavily involved in martial arts, he saw gymnastics as a way to enhance his martial arts skills. Needless to say, the passion for gymnastics quickly outweighed that of martial arts after being enrolled in a summer gymnastics session. Joey competed up to level 6 while living in Maryland. At the age of 10 his military parents got reassigned to Washington State and that’s when a long pause in gymnastics began. From then on he spent his life involved in a variety of sports from soccer, baseball and basketball and skateboarding. Later in life, the passion for gymnastics returned, so he enrolled in local adult gymnastics classes and trains three to four days a week. Joey joined the Arlington Tigers coaching staff in July 2016. He loves working with young gymnast and seeing their excitement and enthusiasm as they strive to reach their personal goals during their training sessions and during competitions. He is quick to give praise, and to cheer on a gymnast’s success as they learn and perform their skills. 

Stirling Van Winkle (Substitute)

Stirling started gymnastics as a Tallahassee Tumbling Tot at the age of three. He began competing at the age of seven. As a JO competitor, Stirling was a member of Team Florida at Region 8 championships 2001 - 2005, and was pommel horse Region 8 Champion in 2001. He was a member of the Region 8 team at JO Nationals 2005, and competed at JO Nationals 2000 - 2005. Stirling went on to be a member of the NCAA Division I gymnastics team at JMU. He was captain for the 2006 - 2007 season. After JMU dropped their NCAA program, Stirling continued to pursue gymnastics as president of the newly formed men's club gymnastics team at JMU. In 2009 he was USAG Gymnast of the Year. Stirling has coached in varying degrees for 11 years and is excited to sub when he can for the Arlington Tigers.

Carly Meyer

Carly started gymnastics at the age of five. She trained at Gymstrada (1982 - 1987), Hill's (1987 - 1991) and Aerials (1993 - 1995), then continued the sport while in college. Carly graduated from West Chester University with her master's in sports administration and a BS in computer science with a minor in athletic coaching. Carly was assistant coach of WCU gymnastics team and ran the athletic department's website while in graduate school. Carly started working for Arlington County in 1994 during the summers teaching gymnastics camp and classes. Carly has been with the Arlington Aerials since May 2001 and became the gymnastics director for the program in July of 2004.

Maija Paegle

Maija was a competitive gymnast at the Arlington Aerials from 1996 - 2006 from age eight to 18, finishing her career as a two time State 2nd place all around level 8 gymnast and twice competing at the Regional level. She graduated from Georgetown University in May 2010 majoring in Psychology, and minoring in English, Cognitive Science and Australia and New Zealand Studies. She was a competitive Division I Big East diver all four years at Georgetown, serving as dive team captain her senior year, and was nominated to the Big East Academic All Star Team for four consecutive years. Maija graduated in May 2013 with her Master's in Sports Industry Management from Georgetown University. She has taught classes for Arlington Gymnastics and coached the Aerials competitive levels part-time while in college. Maija is also the assistant gymnastics coordinator for Arlington Gymnastics.