Gymnastics plagued with illness in second meet against Minnesota

Senior+Megan+McDonald+competes+in+the+floor+against+Minnesota+on+Feb.+21%2C+2014%2C+at+Hilton+Coliseum.+McDonald+received+a+9.25+for+her+floor+in+the+194.75-196.525+loss.

Senior Megan McDonald competes in the floor against Minnesota on Feb. 21, 2014, at Hilton Coliseum. McDonald received a 9.25 for her floor in the 194.75-196.525 loss.

Harrison March

Last Friday, Minnesota made the trek south to take on the ISU gymnastics team. The Gophers won that match-up by a final tally of 196.525-194.750.

Come Saturday, the Cyclones will return the favor by heading north to Sports Pavilion in Minneapolis for a 4 p.m. tangle with No. 12 Minnesota.

This is the seventh season in a row that Iowa State has participated in a home-away series with Minnesota. In fact, the Cyclones and Gophers have squared off once each in the other’s territory every year since the 1997-98 season, with the exception of the 2006-07 campaign.

“From year to year we’re always very competitive with each other,” said ISU coach Jay Ronayne. “It just kind of makes sense to meet the teams that are good, as well as close to us geographically.”

Facing Minnesota back-to-back weeks comes with advantages, senior Megan McDonald said following the Feb. 21 loss to the Gophers.

“We really need to step it up on vault,” McDonald said. “We killed it tonight. This might be the best score of the year, but watching their vaults and seeing how they do it, we can definitely improve our landings.”

In its previous meet with Minnesota, Iowa State had to change up its lineup due to injury. This week, the coaches are switching things up again.

Senior Hailey Johnson is anticipated to be back on the floor exercise for the first time since the Feb. 7 meet against West Virginia. Johnson said while she is excited to get back out on the floor, she is trying to keep her focus balanced across events.

“I’m definitely excited. I think I can step up on floor,” Johnson said. “I also worked some new vaults on Monday, one with a 10.0 start value. Hopefully I can get that one down and get a good one at the meet so I can help out there.”

As the Cyclones are working to solidify their lineups, they are also battling an illness bug that has floated around the team. Senior Camille Santerre-Gervais, who has won the award on bars in the past three meets, missed practice Tuesday. Johnson said she thinks there isn’t anything to worry about, though.

“It’s around that time of year, with it being winter. The season can take a toll on your body, too,” Johnson said. “Every weekend we’re travelling or pounding our bodies and then we turn around to practice right away. It can take a toll, but we’re doing well and we’ll be healthy for the weekend.”

Despite having to overcome some obstacles his team can’t control, Ronayne said his team has an idea of what it will take to flip last week’s results in their favor.

“[Minnesota] will probably not be much better than what we saw because they were just really good,” Ronayne said. “There’s no defense in our sport … It’s not like we adjust anything because we know what they’ll do. But we know exactly what they’re capable of, and we know exactly what we have to bring.”