ISU gymnastics works around injury, questions remain

Senior all around Camille Santerre – Gervais scored a 9.575 on her floor exercise routine after receiving a .10 point deduction. Iowa State lost to Minnesota by a score of 194.750 to 196.525 on Feb. 21 at Hilton Coliseum.

Harrison March

The ISU gymnastics team sought to make up for the loss of a key contributor when it took on No. 15 Minnesota.

Sophomore Sara Townsend suffered a season-ending injury just five days before the Cyclones hosted the Gophers on Feb. 21. Townsend had competed for Iowa State on bars, vault and floor exercise in every meet this season.

The Cyclones put up competitors in Townsend’s place on vault and floor, but not on bars. Because each event has six competitors with the lowest score getting thrown out, Iowa State was still able to compete on bars. However, one low score could have doomed the Cyclones.

“On bars it was scary putting five [gymnasts] up and knowing every score was going to count,” said ISU coach Jay Ronayne. “For them to be able to stay focused and get the job down, that was a nice feeling.”

Ronayne also said senior Hailey Johnson stepped up well on vault, but the change in the floor line-up was not as fruitful as he hoped it would be.

“I’m very, very pleased with the way we were able to have Hailey do a fine vault in Sara’s place,” Ronayne said. “We just still don’t know who’s going to be that person to truly fill that spot on floor. Megan [McDonald] was in, Camille [Santerre-Gervais] was in. We don’t know who’s going to be there any given day.”

McDonald, a senior who hadn’t competed on floor since her freshman year, felt she left something to be desired with her performance on the floor.

“I’ve hit a better floor routine before, I’m definitely capable of hitting a better routine,” McDonald said. “It was just an off-night. I fought for my landings — I didn’t fall — but I can do better.”

Santerre-Gervais, also a senior, thought her performance on the floor was right where she anticipated it to be.

“I haven’t done floor in a meet since before I came to college, but I think I did what I was supposed to do,” Santerre-Gervais said. “That’s what I do in the gym, just do my routines and stay in balance. I’m just starting to do floor again … and to be able to compete, it was great.”

As gymnasts step up to fill in for Townsend, All-American Michelle Shealy is almost over an injury of her own. Shealy has only competed on beam so far since her return Jan. 25, but her mark of 9.850 on Friday night was her highest of the season.

Ronayne said Shealy is slowly but surely getting back to form.

“Every week she’s getting a little bit stronger, a little more comfortable on that event,” Ronayne said. “If she progresses like this she’ll be very close to her top form before the end of the season. She doesn’t have a ton of things in her routine but what she’s already doing is pretty difficult.”

With its first road meet without Townsend looming, a trip north to take on the Gophers for a second-straight weekend, Santerre-Gervais said the Iowa State will need to find an x-factor in order to flip the result of Friday’s meet.

“When we go away it’s always different, so if we can find our rhythm when we go somewhere else it will really help,” Santerre-Gervais said. “Just going to another place, another arena, finding our own momentum will be the biggest thing.”