Iowa State loosens up for senior night, outscores Iowa

Senior Henrietta Green competes in the vault on March 7 at Hilton Coliseum. Green received a 9.75 for her vault in the Cyclones’ 195.925-192.775 victory against Iowa.

Harrison March

It was senior night as it should be for the ISU gymnastics team.

A season-high crowd of 3,716 filed into Hilton Coliseum on the night of March 7 to watch Iowa State take on, and ultimately take down, in-state rival University of Iowa, clinching the Cy-Hawk Series in the process.

The six seniors on the ISU roster combined to set or tie nine career-highs, with each gymnast setting at least one. Four of those marks came on bars, where the Cyclones really did their damage by totaling a team score of 49.275.

Senior Camille Santerre-Gervais took home the award on bars by tying the school record of 9.950 on bars for the second time this season.

“It feels awesome to tie the record again, especially tonight,” Santerre-Gervais said. “It was a good start to the whole meet for myself. It’s just me going out there and doing what I can. If I do my best, the score will come.”

The attitude of just performing and not worrying about the score showed across the board, but especially in the Cyclones’ routines on floor exercise.

In the week leading up to the meet, junior Caitlin Brown acknowledged the team was adding “silly little dance moves” to its routines to help keep things loose. Some of the new moves were subtle — others, not so much.

Most notably, senior Milan Ivory, who gave the final performance of the meet, busted out the worm during her routine on the floor. The crowd loved it, and so did the judges, who awarded Ivory with a season-high 9.875.

ISU coach Jay Ronayne said having fun, like the team did on floor, was one of the keys to victory.

“It’s become a senior night tradition that the girls add those moves to their routines,” Ronayne said. “It’s helped the performances over the years so that’s one of the things we talked about even in the pre-season, ‘What are we going to do on senior night?’”

Keeping it loose is something Ronayne said he and his coaching staff preach in the gym. It has been a focus of the ISU gymnastics team all season, and senior Henrietta Green said the team met that goal at the Cy-Hawk meet.

“I’m really proud of everyone’s performance,” Green said after setting a career-high all-around score of 38.925. “Bars was the best line-up we’ve had all year and we hit a lot of routines, stuck a lot of landings. It felt like we did what we do in the gym, and that feels really good.”

With the magnitude of senior night staring them in the face, the Cyclones responded — to the tune of their second-highest team score of the season. With all of the highs the team had on the night, Ronayne said the greatest of them all was his team’s mentality.

“It can go either way in this kind of meet,” Ronayne said. “I’ve had teams where the seniors just fall apart because it gets in their head that their career is almost over. Those types of teams tanked on senior night. To be able to keep focus and just kind of let it fly like they did is really, really satisfying and exciting.”