Hansen gains experience, looks ahead to next year


Blake Lanser/Iowa State Daily

ISU freshman all-around gymnast Allie Hansen nursed an injury during the early part of her first collegiate season before finally getting a chance to compete two months in. After a valuable learning season, she is expected to be a contributor next season for the Cyclones.

Harrison March

It was a rough start to Allie Hansen’s collegiate gymnastics career.

The freshman was forced to watch as her teammates took the floor at the start of the season while she stood to the side, nursing an injury.

Heading into the season, Hansen was the lone gymnast in her class that ISU coach Jay Ronayne thought had a good shot at working into the lineup on a consistent basis.

“It was tough for her because she had a lot of setbacks early in the year. That made it a pretty difficult freshman year,” Ronayne said.

Then, over two months into the season, Hansen finally saw her name in the rotation.

“All I remember was that I was just so excited to be out there,” Hansen said with a big smile. “I was working so hard all year to get in [to the lineup].”

The three-time Junior Olympian from Orland Park, Ill., stumbled during a tumbling pass on the floor. She was given the lowest score of the ISU gymnasts and therefore it was tossed out as the one mulligan per event.

That was not what Ronayne took away from her routine, though.

“At that point it was a little too late for her to help the team very much, which was unfortunate,” Ronayne said. “If, at that time, we had another month left in the season, she’d kick some butt. It was just a little late for Allie, but I see big things for her next year.”

With six gymnasts — all of whom competed regularly — leaving due to graduation, there will be plenty open slots on every event next season. Ronayne knows exactly which ones he wants Hansen to fill.

“I’ve told her she’ll be competing all-around, that that’s my challenge to her for next year,” Ronayne said. “She won’t just be an all-arounder, though, she’ll be a really good one. She has the ability, physically, to get to there.”

Hansen’s teammate Caitlin Brown also thinks she has what takes to become a serious weapon in the gym, noting that Hansen rarely takes a day off.

“When you think of Allie, you just think ‘hard work.’ She comes in every single day and does her stuff in rehab, in the training room,” Brown said. “She really looks good in the gym and now that she has experience in some huge meets and the confidence that comes with that, she’ll be great next year.”

There’s a lot of time before the ISU gymnastics team marches into the arena again — over seven months — but Hansen can already feel the anticipation building.

“After being in some of the big meets, like regionals, I know I can compete on that kind of stage,” Hansen said. “It’s an amazing feeling. I’m ready to go.”