Greenwich, CT | Darien, CT
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Coaches

Craig

OWNER / PERFORMANCE COACH

Craig Vitale is the CEO and founder of Combine Training. Craig began his athletic career as a Greenwich Cardinal at Greenwich HS. In his senior season, Craig was named First Team All-FCIAC and First Team All-State for football. Upon graduation, Craig attended the University of Tennessee to play football. After his football career at Tennessee, Craig transferred to the University of Southern Connecticut to complete his degree in Exercise Science. He began his training career at Golds Gym. He then moved to New York Sports Club and was named #1 national trainer in 2001.

Craig has been actively racing in triathlons since 2002, and in full Ironman competitions since 2007. Craig qualified for and competed in the Ironman World Championship and the 70.3 Ironman World Championship in 2010, 2012, and 2014-2017.

He has been named All American Triathlete from 2009 to 2017 each year. Amongst his many clients, Craig trains several of the local sports teams and is the official dry land coach for the YMCA Marlin’s swim team and the three-time triple crown Darien Blue Wave boys and girls swim team. He is also the former head swim coach for Greenwich Academy girls swim team. His professional certifications include NASM, ACE, AAAI-ISMA, AFAA, Athletes Performance Mentorship, FMS 1 – 2 certified and USA Triathlon Level 1 coach.

Nick Cerra

PERFORMANCE COACH

Nick’s goal is to provide a challenging training environment that will help maximize physical potential, while decreasing the risk of injury. Nick has experience working with adults and youth athletes ranging from high school to the Division I Collegiate level. Nick was a competitive swimmer and was a four-time high school All American.

Nick holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Allied Health Sciences and a minor in Psychology from the University of Connecticut, and a Master of Science in Sports Science with a concentration in Strength and Conditioning from Hofstra University. He is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).

Jeff Merlo

PERFORMANCE COACH

​Jeff received his Bachelor’s of Science from the University of Connecticut in 2016. There, he studied Kinesiology with a focus in Strength and Conditioning. Upon graduating, Jeff spent two years serving as an Assistant Strength Coach for the Providence Bruins. This experience, along with his love and passion for the musculo-skeletal system, propelled Jeff to pursue an education in Massage Therapy to better assist athletes with the recovery portion of training. He completed his schooling for massage therapy in September of 2018. Jeff is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), a Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), and is Sport and Exercise Nutrition certified (Pn1).

Chaz Ruffin

PERFORMANCE COACH

Chaz received his Bachelor of Science in Applied Exercise Science from Springfield College in 2020.  He was also a proud member of their football team. While at Springfield College, Chaz interned at Powerhouse Training and Army West Point where he worked with both Football and Men’s Lacrosse. Chaz went on to complete his Master’s degree at Merrimack College where he served as the primary Strength & Conditioning Coach for Men’s Basketball, Women’s Swimming, and Men’s/Women’s Throwing. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).

Andy Fredeen

PERFORMANCE COACH

​Andy received his Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science Human Performance from Southern Connecticut State University in 2017, where he also played wide receiver for the Owls. While attending school, Andy worked in the weight room with other teams as an intern. After graduating, Andy accepted a job as an Assistant Strength Coach at Yale University where he worked with the Football and Men’s Lacrosse teams. Before joining the Combine Training team, Andy worked at Core 4 Strength & Conditioning for 2+ years as the Head of Athletic Development. He has experience working with athletes of all sports and ages, as well as experience running group-training classes for the adult population. He is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA), as well as a USA Weightlifting Certified Coach (USA-WL).

Nic Tiemann

PERFORMANCE COACH

Nic is a lifelong athlete, competing in football, lacrosse, and rugby. He graduated from Central Connecticut State University with a Bachelor in Physical Education. Thereafter, his passion for coaching led him to pursue his CSCS certification and become a Strength & Conditioning Coach. For the past 6 years, Nic has been working with adult and youth athletes from a variety of sports and backgrounds around the world. His goal is to help athletes and individuals reach their full athletic potential through smart, effective physical and mindset training.

He currently holds a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) certification through the NSCA, as well as a Certified Performance Nutrition Coach certification (PN-1).

Spencer Manchuck

PERFORMANCE COACH

Spencer grew up in nearby New Canaan, CT, and showed a passion for sports early on. Hockey became his focus, playing varsity for New Canaan High and matriculating to the New England Prep School ranks at Northfield Mount Hermon. He won the 2015 EHL Junior A championship as a member of the CT Oilers. After graduating from the University of Colorado in 2020, Spencer returned East and began his career in the Strength and Conditioning field in Newtown, CT. He has worked with a diverse clientele including youth, high school, and collegiate athletes. Spencer hopes to continue to inspire the next generation of athletes to play harder, smarter, and healthier. Spencer holds both a CSTS and CES certification from International Sports Science Association.