By Marty Gordon
Two local athletes who trained at Virginia Techniques in Christiansburg have announced commitments to continue their careers in college. Kaiya Wynn will attend Converse College while Adrianna Hoffman is headed to Towson State.
Gymnastics was not offered at either girls’ high school, Hoffman at Christiansburg and Wynn at James River.
Hoffman said Virginia Techniques has played a very important part in her life and has been a second home. “I have met so many amazing people and have had many amazing coaches that have each played such an important role in my life,” she said.
Wynn agreed the gym has had an extremely positive impact on her life. “I first started out at another gym and I went there for seven years. I then switched to VA Techniques, and it has definitely changed my life for the better. They are so kind and respectful and will drop anything to help you. They care so much about not only your gymnastics but your personal life, too, and overall, they are the best gym,” she said.
Hoffman, who started the sport when she was three years old, was a 2019 national qualifier.
Wynn is no longer doing what most people know as “true” gymnastics, and in college is switching to acro and tumbling, a subcategory of gymnastics that combines gymnastics tumbling, acrobatic lifts, pyramid lifts, aerial tosses, and choreographed skills team routines.
The focus in both acro and gymnastics is strength, balance, and flexibility, but the difference in execution lies in the transition of movement. For many, the difference is described as “Gymnastics is a sport and Acrobatics is an art”.
Currently, 30 colleges sponsored by the NCAA have acro and tumbling programs, four of them at the Division I level.
Converse is coming off the first tournament and league championship after being introduced at the school in 2017.
Acrobatics and tumbling is the evolution of different forms of gymnastics. Teams compete in six events; compulsories, acro, pyramid, toss, tumbling, and A team event. The skill sets of tumbling and acrobatics are the athletic aspects of cheerleading. Lifts and tosses seen in cheerleading are acrobatics’ gymnastics skills. Competitors in this sport demonstrate significant strength, power, flexibility, and balance in their performances.
Converse is a part of the National Collegiate Acrobatics and Tumbling Association (NCATA).
“My goals for that at the moment are to get used to the sport and succeed the best I can, to take corrections respectfully, to try to fix them as soon as possible, and to be the best I can be with the help of my coaches and teammates,” Wynn said.
Both athletes are following in the footsteps of another outstanding gymnast from Virginia Techniques. Rayna Worley, who is now at the University of Kentucky, was recognized as one of the most outstanding freshmen in the Southeastern Conference. UK’s team was ranked ninth nationally.
Wynn, who has a partial scholarship for academics and athletics at Converse, plans to major in biology/chemistry as a gateway into forensic science. Hoffman is leaning toward biology at Towson State.