SAAC Spotlight: Alaska Anchorage's Louisa Marie Knapp
Louisa Marie Knapp scored a 9.5 or better on eight of 10 bar routines and topped the MPSF All-Academic Team with a 3.96 cumulative GPA as a junior in 2020.
Louisa Marie Knapp scored a 9.5 or better on eight of 10 bar routines and topped the MPSF All-Academic Team with a 3.96 cumulative GPA as a junior in 2020.
Louisa Marie Knapp
Louisa Marie Knapp

Friday, February 5, 2021

Part of a regular series.

Throughout the year, uses this space to profile conference student-athletes who are members of their respective institutions’ Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). In addition to providing feedback on the student-athlete experience, conference and institutional SAAC members also offer input on the rules, regulations and policies that affect student-athletes’ lives on NCAA member institution campuses.

Name: Louisa Marie Knapp
University of Alaska Anchorage
Kinesiology and Psychology
Hamburg, Germany

Why Did You Choose To Attend Alaska Anchorage?: Alaska Anchorage made it possible for me to pursue my dream of competing in college gymnastics in the U.S. The university also offers degrees in the fields of my interests, which has prepared me to become a sport psychologist. Alaska is a special state with incredible views. After my official visit, everything made my decision to attend UAA easy.

What Is Your Favorite Class You Have Taken And Why?: My favorite class was Exercise Testing and Prescription. We learned how to do accurate human performance and fitness testing. We also got to work with real clients, evaluate their physical fitness, analyze their results and create exercise plans for them.

Who Is Your Favorite Professor And What Did You Enjoy About Learning From Him Or Her?: My favorite professor is T.J. Miller, head of the kinesiology department. He is a great professor who teaches with passion. He encourages personal growth, inspires us to step out of our comfort zones and sets high goals for us.

Years Involved In SAAC: Two years.

The Reason You Chose To Get Involved In SAAC: As a kinesiology and psychology major, I took some leadership classes and wanted to apply what I learned to represent the gymnastics team. I wanted to challenge myself to use my voice and speak on behalf of my teammates.

Most Memorable SAAC Activity To Date: Last year, we organized a dodgeball tournament and a movie night for the student-athletes.

How Do You Feel Participating In SAAC Will Help You In Life After You Graduate?: My SAAC experiences will help me to be a better leader in my future career and benefit from all of the connections I have made.

What Does It Mean To You To Be A Division I Student-Athlete?: I am honored to participate in a Division I sport at a Division II university. I dedicate all of my hard work in the gym and in the classroom to UAA. I try to represent UAA in the best way possible. Being a part of something bigger than myself is amazing.

What Is The Most Important Thing You’ve Learned About Balancing Athletics And Academics?: Time management is crucial when trying to balance school and athletics. I learned to enjoy the process instead of only focusing on the end goal. Celebrating small achievements makes life more fun and less stressful.

Biggest Obstacle Overcome During Your Collegiate Career: I had several major injuries throughout my collegiate career, which required me to have seven surgeries between my sophomore and senior years. I redshirted during my sophomore year, which was difficult, but it taught me a lot and made me see my sport from a different perspective.

Most Memorable Sports-Related Moment: Breaking the school record with a 194.200 score at the 2019 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Championships. The previous record was a 194.125 against Air Force in 2016. We had a rough start to the meet. When the score came up at the end, it was exciting and totally unexpected.

If You Could Change One NCAA Rule, It Would Be: I would love for student-athletes to be able to accept sponsorships to promote products on social media.

Current Mentor(s): Marie-Sophie Boggasch, Kendra Daniels and Alina Cartwright.

Best Advice You’d Give To An Incoming Freshman: Enjoy the process, regardless of the outcome. Be present and take in every second because it will be over faster than you know it.

If You Could Spend The Day With One Person (Past Or Present), Who Would It Be (And Why)?: John Wooden. I have read a couple of books about him and he seems like an amazing coach who knew how to motivate and inspire his players to be the best they can be.

Extracurricular Activities: I enjoy making, decorating and photographing smoothie bowls. I also love working out, reading personal development books and journaling.

Future Goals After Graduation: I want to attend graduate school for sports psychology and become a graduate assistant for a college gymnastics team. Eventually, I will want to open my own gymnastics club back in Germany.

Favorite Sports Team: I love all college gymnastics teams. College gymnastics is so unique. It’s completely different from the international gymnastics world.

Favorite Athlete: Fabian Hambüchen, an Olympic gold medalist in the high bar in 2016. He chased his dream of winning a gold medal after winning bronze in 2008 and silver in 2012. I also admire Carly Patterson for inspiring me to never give up on my dreams.

One Thing People Don’t Know About You Is: When I was younger, my brother and I dreamed of becoming circus artists. We practiced our tricks at home and at the gym. My brother ended up working at a circus for two years.