ISU gymnastics will try to get back on track against WVU

Harrison March

After a tough start to the season, the Iowa State gymnastics team will try to get back on track when it hosts West Virginia at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

The Cyclones (1-4, 0-1 Big 12) started the year with four consecutive meets against nationally ranked opponents, tallying their sole win by placing second in a tri-meet with Illinois State and then No. 7 Michigan.

Fresh off a bye week, ISU coach Jay Ronayne expressed assurance in his team despite the slow start.

“I’m actually more confident in the team now than I have I have been all year,” Ronayne said. “It’s all about what they’re doing in the gym. They got a little bit of rest over the weekend and their practicing over the last week or so has been so focused. I feel very good about where we are.”

Friday night’s conference showdown with the Mountaineers presents the Cyclones with an opportunity they have not yet had this season: the chance to show off in front of ISU students.

“We haven’t had a home meet with all of the students here so that’s going to be exciting for us,” said senior Milan Ivory. “We can also take advantage of [this meet] as a team to get a Big 12 win and give us confidence before heading to Big 12 [Championships] later in the season.”

Senior Henrietta Green said she thinks the team won’t have any rust coming off of the season’s only weekend without competition. She also believes the work she has done throughout the bye week can help put her team in a position to win.

“If anything, I think we’re going to come back stronger this week just because we’ve had time to work on the details,” Green said. “I have my routines down. It’s just about making sure I get the little things like good form and landings. Those details can get me those tenths [of points] back and that can go a long way.”

Ronayne also said that he is looking for ways to bring up the team score. One of his goals is to start scoring “195, 196 or better” at every meet. One way he is trying to do this is by switching up some of the routines the gymnasts have been doing all year.

By increasing the difficulty of routines, the ISU gymnasts have the chance to earn higher scores. Green, whose vault and floor routines are undergoing changes, said the alterations are going so well that they could be installed by the meet with West Virginia.

“I’ve been working really hard in the gym to get [the changes] ready,” Green said. “I’m hoping everything will keep going well and I might be able to do it this meet. I definitely have more confidence in all of the events, especially with my new floor pass and vault.”

Ronayne thinks the tweaks the coaching staff has made to the routines can get his team over the hump, not only back into the win column, but into the high overall scores as well.

“We don’t want to lose to anybody in the conference, period,” Ronayne said. “We beat them once last year, but they also beat us at their place. We had some injuries, but that’s no excuse … [This year] if we hit all 24 routines and stick landings, we can put up a big score. That’s the goal: not only a win, but a big score to go with it.”