BY MICHAEL KELLY
WILLIAMSBURG, Virg. — Anna Weiskopf can’t remember her life before gymnastics.
“I was in there at the earliest age possible,” she said, laughing.
Now 18 years old, Weiskopf has finally had to take a prolonged break from the sport. A freshman at the College of William & Mary, the 2015 Shenendehowa High School graduate has spent her first season with the Tribe’s women’s gymnastics team dealing with the ramifications from an offseason knee injury.
“But I’m starting to come back,” said Weiskopf, who tore her right anterior cruciate ligament back in July while competing with her club team at the World Class Gymnastics Academy. “But I’ve been with my team the whole time and doing limited stuff. Now, I’m getting to do more.”
Weiskopf ended up at William and Mary after visiting schools up and down the East Coast that fielded Division I gymnastics squads. Pretty early on, she said, William and Mary stuck out to her from a pack of schools.
“I fell in love with the team, the school size, the small classes,” she said. “It’s a beautiful campus.”
Academically, her injury has allowed her more time to focus on figuring out what she wants to study. She plans to apply to the college’s business school at the end of her sophomore year, and is planning to minor in sociology.
In the classroom, Weiskopf said she felt comfortable right away in her new surroundings.
“The professors are really willing to work with you here,” she said. “It’s more focused around what needs to be covered for [individual] students.”
A member of the National Honor Society in high school, Weiskopf credited her work with her club gymnastics team — for which she competed at state and national events — for a lot of her academic successes.
“I loved my team and they were like a second family,” she said. But it also really taught me how to do well with a time commitment and helped me prepare for school and other things.”
Nothing, though, could really prepare Weiskopf for the disappointment in having to miss — at least — most of her freshman season of gymnastics. For that, she’s relied on her new teammates to help her stay upbeat.
“And they’ve made me feel like I’m still a part of the team, not off to the side and separate,” she said.
At meets, Weiskopf said she has enjoyed the vibe of her team.
“There’s definitely a lot more of a family feeling,” she said. “In club gymnastics, it’s more about the individual, where in college it’s very team-oriented. … It’s really about going out there and enjoying yourself while doing the best for your team.”
While it is possible Weiskopf will not be able to compete this season, the freshman is holding out hope for a late-season return. Her knee is gaining strength, she said, and she could perhaps be ready to compete in an event or two before the team’s season closes.
“It all depends on the trainers and what they tell me,” she said.