Iowa State will take on third consecutive ranked opponent


Jonathan Krueger/Iowa State Dail

Senior Henrietta Green sticks the landing during on uneven bars in the women’s gymnastics meet with Michigan and Illinois State on Jan. 10 at Hilton Coliseum. Green scored a 9.750 in the uneven bars in the Cyclone’s second place finish behind Michigan.

Max Dible

The ISU gymnastics team continues its tour around the country, following up last week’s jaunt to Norman, Okla. with a trip to Corvallis, Ore. to take on Oregon State at 9:00 p.m. Jan. 25.

The Cyclones (1-3-0, 0-1-0 Big 12) have struggled to find the top of the podium early in the 2014 season, but have been tasked with competing against some of the best opponents in the country.

The Cyclones lost to top-rated Oklahoma last week, and the week previous, came up short against a Michigan team currently ranked fifth in the nation. This Saturday, the Cyclones square off against the Beavers, who sit at 16th in the NCAA national rankings.

Despite the effect that such stiff competition has had on the Cyclones overall record, ISU coach Jay Ronayne said the benefits outweigh the negatives, specifically in terms of preparation for the postseason, where championships are lost, and more importantly, won.

“I do [think that gets us ready for postseason]. It’s all about the post-season,” Ronayne said. “Who’s going to remember the third meet of the season? Nobody remembers any of that. What they remember is how you finish and that’s what we work towards every single season.”

Ronayne has inspired the same, long-term outlook and approach in his gymnasts, who are carrying that attitude with them to Oregon State this weekend.

“Right now, we’re in a good spot,” said senior Hailey Johnson. “We scored well the first two meets. We’re going to Oregon [State] this weekend and the scoring will be a little bit different there. We can really capitalize on Pac 12 scoring.”

Even with a more lenient scoring profile, the Cyclone gymnasts know they need to execute their routines precisely, Johnson said.

“They [Oregon State] are a solid, solid team; tons of talent with lots of depth,” Ronayne said. “We don’t have as much depth as they do, so that puts us in a position where everybody has to be nailing their landings and being very sharp.”

An important event will be the floor exercise, which has been a strength of Iowa State, but any event can be the key to winning or losing, said Ronayne.

“…I think we’re doing what we need to do to continue to improve on the floor. We’re doing the right thing there,” Ronayne said. “Beam in the first two meets was stellar, just awesome. Not so much in this one [Oklahoma]. Any event at any time could take a hit.”

Another focal point for closing the points gap for Iowa State has been the bars, an area in which Johnson says the team is making solid progress.

“We’ve seen some improvements on bars, definitely. We’ve had a couple people step up and take control of the event,” Johnson said. “We’re not completely there yet … but I would say we’re making pretty big strides on bars.”

Senior Henrietta Green summed up the Cyclone attitude towards improvement every week, and ultimately post-season success.

“We have a saying,” Green said. “Fake it till you make it. Even if you’re kind of off a little bit, don’t show that to the judges. Give off the confidence that you just did the best performance you could possibly do.”