Iowa State gymnastics seeks consistency in crucial road meet

Harrison March

Consistency is key for the ISU gymnastics team as it prepares for an important road meet this weekend, traveling west to take on No. 21 Denver and No. 17 Boise State.

In collegiate gymnastics, road meet scores are crucial for earning a post-season bid at regionals, and ISU coach Jay Ronayne couldn’t stress that enough.

“We’re just outside of qualifying for regionals, so these last two meets are critical,” Ronayne said. “Road scores, really, are gold in gymnastics, but we haven’t struck gold yet. We have two more opportunities to get those big scores that we need, and it starts this Saturday.”

In order to qualify for NCAA regionals, a team must have a Regional Qualifying Score, or RQS, that ranks in the nation’s top 36.

The RQS is a metric that weighs a team’s six best scores of the season, at least three of which have to have come on the road. The highest score is axed and the remaining five are averaged to arrive at a team’s RQS.

Iowa State currently has an RQS of 194.460, but all-arounder Henrietta Green said the team is aware of what it will take to bump itself into post-season contention.

“We had a great meet last Friday, but we know there’s still a lot of work to be done,” Green said. “We’re really focusing hard on the details it will take to get a big road score this weekend, which will really help our RQS.”

Green also acknowledged the team’s struggle to execute on equipment and an in environments it’s not accustomed to. That unfamiliarity away from Hilton is a big reason that Iowa State is presently on the outside looking in at the post-season.

Iowa State is averaging 1.383 points per meet less on the road than at home. While that number pales in comparison to the 200 points possible in a meet, that margin of difference is what separates the No. 1 and No. 14 teams in the country.

With just three dozen spots open for teams to advance to regionals, those 1.383 points are going to make a big difference coming down the stretch.

Senior Hailey Johnson said that bringing the same excitement and drive the team brought to senior night, in which the Cyclones earned their second-highest score of the year, will help build up Iowa State’s road resume.

“Coming off senior night, we’re all still kind of on a high from that, and that’s a good thing,” Johnson said. “It was a real fun meet, and we want to bring that energy with us to Denver [on] Saturday, then Big 12s the next week.”

In order to keep the momentum rolling and improve Iowa State’s RQS, trust and concentration will be the tools for success, Green said.

“We need to stay focused on our overall team goal to make it to regionals and then nationals,” Green said. “It’s going to be trusting ourselves in an arena and with equipment that we’re not familiar with. We need to stay in our zone, focus on one skill and one routine at a time.”

Denver will play host to the Cyclones and  Broncos at 7 p.m. Saturday at Hamilton Gymnasium in Denver, Colo.