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Meet the Team!

Team USA is made up of some of the finest athletes in the United States. Being a part of TEAM USA is a huge honor and we are proud of each and every one of the athletes.

Meet some of the members of TEAM USA and see what makes this team so great!

Meet Rafaela!

Rafaela Montanaro- Team USA since 2015


Rafaela Montanaro was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, into a family of athletes. Her mom was a long runner and sprinter, while her dad was a volleyball player. She stated her career on the young age of 3, when she was taken to her first gymnastics class. She then went on to compete several times in the Brazilian national competition. Then at the age of 11 she moved to Oklahoma for better training opportunities. Unfortunately, the following year she suffered a bad knee injury and decided it was time to give up gymnastics. Rafaela then dedicated herself to different styles of dance and a few different sports, but missed the acrobatic side. It was always calling to her. Therefore, at the age of 16 she joined the local circus school. At 17 she was accepted at the prestigious Ecole Nationale des Arts du Cirque in France. But due to family issues, she only got to attend the school for 1 year. She then trained kungfu and even made the national team in 2006! She found pole in 2009 while surfing online looking for circus videos and ran into Felix Cane's performance from 2006. She immediately went to look for a pole class and on the first day, the teacher saw potential in her. The teacher then asked her if she wanted to compete in nationals that was only 4 months away. She said yes and the rest is history... Her biggest accomplishments so far earning 5 gold medals at World Pole Sports Championships, 6 American titles, between singles and doubles divisions

Meet Melvin!

Melvin Sanchez- Team USA since 2016


Melvin Sanchez started pole 5 years ago. He has a background in dance and gymnastics and is a full time gymnastics coach at All American Gymnastics in Ashland, Virginia where he trains. He has won 3 individual national titles and two doubles with Rafaela Montanaro with whom he also became a world champion in 2018. He is currently the POSA Senior Mens individual world champion. When he is not training he enjoys bike riding, binge watching Netflix's shows and walking his 3 dogs.

Meet Sabrina!

Sabrina Madsen- Team USA since 2017


Sabrina Madsen is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and has her Masters Degree in Sports Medicine. She owns First City Fitness & Savannah Cirque: A Personal Training, Pole, and Aerial Studio in Savannah, GA. She also coaches Gymnastics part time. She has been doing Pole for 11 years and has been teaching Pole for 10 years. Sabrina loves the challenge Pole Sport brings and loves competing! Her biggest accomplishments in the sport have been placing 2nd at USPSF Nationals last year and competing at POSA Pole Sport World’s as part of Team USA in 2017 and 2019. A fun fact about Sabrina is she loves everything Disney!

Meet Cassidy!

Cassidy Kite- Team USA since 2017


Cassidy Kite, 14, is from King William Virginia. She started pole sport at the suggestion of her coach, Melvin Sanchez, when she was 10 years old. Since then she’s gone on to win both national and world titles. In 2019 Cassidy became PCS’s first ever junior champion and won a college scholarship at the Arnold Quest for Talent. She also went on to win a gold medal in the 2019 CSIT World Games, and was the 2019 POSA Junior A World Champion. She is proud to be an X-Pole Rising Star Athlete. At home Cassidy loves shopping and spending time at the beach with her friends. She’s an Honors student taking AP classes with a goal of pursuing a degree in psychology, although she hopes to spend a year traveling and teaching pole before college.

Meet Vinny!

Vinny Jordon- Team USA since 2019


Meet Shannon!

Shannon Daily- Team USA since 2019


Shannon is a former collegiate level gymnast who has studied ballet, jazz, and other dance disciplines. She is an accomplished flying trapeze artist as well as an amateur circus performer. She was inspired by pole several years ago when she showed up to a Zumba class and found USPDF Pro Shelly Lamb teaching pole tricks and choreography. She instantly fell in love with Pole in all its various styles and forms of expression.

Meet Kyra!

Kyra Armstrong- Team USA since 2019


Kyra is a mother of 4 that began her pole journey 4 1/2 years ago at the age of 40 after attending a pole birthday party. She immediately started researching about Pole Sport and was inspired to train everyday after watching Rafaela Montanaro compete and win a gold metal for Team USA. She has no dance or gymnastics background. She competed in my first National and World Championship Competition in 2019.

Meet Ann!

Ann Jennings- Team USA since 2019

Ann grew up in Minnesota with a background in ballet and competitive gymnastics. She went to the university of MN where she received her bachelors in Physics and Physiology. In 2013 she moved down to Tennessee to start her graduate program in biophysics. She got her Masters in Biophysics in 2016. During grad school, she started pole dancing in 2015 at Sheer Inspiration Pole Fitness. She fell in love with all it had to offer, from the art to sport of it. It quickly became the largest part of her life and decided to go back to school once more for physical therapy with the goal of working with dancers and athletes to focus on proper training, prehab/rehab, and to get them back at the top of their game. She loves to compete and perform and share her art with the world.

Meet Ilia!

Ilia - Team USA since 2019

Ilia was born into a passion for movement. While growing up he tried numerous sports such as martial arts, soccer, and basketball. In his teenage years he became interested in dance as an art form, and given his background in martial arts he quickly became integrated with break dancing. Later he became highly interested in obstacle racing as a sport. Ilia began to compete at obstacle and ninja warrior competitions. He soon decided to use pole training as a way of improving his ninja warrior skills, but he was immediately captivated by the art and sport of pole dancing itself. He was also concurrently expanding his training on aerial apparatuses. In 2019 Ilia competed at the USPSF National Championships in Las Vegas and received a silver medal joining team USA. He currently performs professionally in multiple areas including pole, flying pole, straps, Lyra, silks, hammock, fire dancing, flow arts, and more.

What it's like to be on TEAM USA

Being on TEAM USA is a huge honor and a great privilege. But it's also a LOT of fun. 

Check out these great photos from some of the unforgettable moments from TEAM USA!

Melvin wins first place at POSA CHAMPIONSHIPS 2019

Cassidy wins first place at POSA WORLD POLE SPORT CHAMPIONSHIPS 2019

TEAM USA AT CSIT WORLD GAMES

SAMANTHA STAR

Dinner time for TEAM USA at CSIT

TEAM USA 2017

WHERE IS YOUR PICTURE?

If you are a part of TEAM USA or just want to be, we want to add your picture. Contact us for info on how to get your picture added to USPSF TEAM USA.