Shealy set for individual bout at NCAAs


Photo: Rebekka Brown/Iowa State

Coach Jay Ronayne celebrates with Michelle Shealy after her 9.650 performance on the bars Friday, Jan. 27, at Hilton.The Cyclones defeated the Hawkeys 194.900-194.550 and will take on Denver next weekend at Colorado.

Maddy Arnold

For the second time in three years, junior Michelle Shealy will compete at the NCAA Championship meet.

Shealy qualified as an individual all-around competitor after her performance at the NCAA Regionals in Alabama on April 6, 2013. She scored a season-high 39.050 and came in fifth in the all-around competition at Alabama to qualify for the championship meet, which will be held in Los Angeles on Friday.

“I am very excited and I worked really hard to get in the all-around position and to make it to nationals,” Shealy said. “Maybe try to make it to a few event finals, that’s my goal.”

In 2011, Shealy qualified for the NCAA Championships as an individual all-around competitor her freshman season. She placed 13th with a score of 39.025.

“Her being able to go back [to nationals] again is pretty awesome for herself and for the team. We’re all really happy and excited to see what she does at nationals,” said junior Henrietta Green. “Knowing that she can do it next year might help us push more for our whole team to do it.”

This season, Shealy only competed as an all-around gymnast twice before regionals. She was a three-event gymnast in most meets this season and competed on the uneven bars, floor exercise and the balance beam.

Shealy usually did not compete on vault, which is her weakest event and one she has been struggling to hit all season.

“She used to be a very good vaulter and some habits kind of creeped into her vault — bad habits,” said ISU coach Jay Ronayne. “To be competitive as an all-arounder she needs two to three more tenths and that’s where it’s going to come from. Her other events, she’s kind of maxed out.”

During the season, Shealy was the team’s best competitor on balance beam. She scored a season-high 9.875 in four separate meets this season and finished ranked No. 38 nationally in the event.

Shealy also scored a career-high 9.900 on the uneven bars this season and was named the Big 12 Event Specialist of the Week after that routine.

Ronayne said nothing in Shealy’s routines will be changed for nationals and his goal is for her to hit all of them.

“She has potential to score 9.8 to 9.95 on most of the events,” Ronayne said. “I want her to stay focused on the process of actually doing the gymnastics and not the outcome. That’s where she is most successful when she’s focused on the actual process.”