ISU gymnastics expecting unique atmosphere, large crowd


Photo: Rebekka Brown/Iowa State Daily

Michelle Shealy prepares a flip on the beam during the Cyclones’ opening meet against Nebraska on Friday, Jan. 20, at Hilton Coliseum. Shealy scored a 9.675 and finished the night with an all-around score of 38.925.

Maddy Arnold

The Beauty and the Beast meet on Friday will have a unique atmosphere for Iowa State, and ISU gymnastics coach Jay Ronayne hopes it will be an advantage for his team.

Iowa State (2-3, 0-0 Big 12) will face No. 2 Oklahoma (10-0, 1-0 Big 12) in its first conference meet of the season.

The Beauty and the Beast meet consists of the ISU gymnastics and wrestling teams competing in the same venue at the same time. Feb. 8 will be Iowa State’s fourth Beauty and the Beast event.

“The whole atmosphere gets them really, really excited about it,” Ronayne said. “It’s probably one of the coolest things they will experience as a student-athlete … aside from a national championship.”

The Beauty and the Beast event has drawn larger crowds than most home gymnastics meets for Iowa State. In 2011, when Iowa State last held the event, almost 6,000 fans were in attendance.

“There is going to be a lot of energy in the arena with both wrestling and gymnastics going on,” said Michelle Shealy, a junior on the gymnastics team. “Hearing the crowd get excited helps us.”

Iowa State has responded well to the large crowd in previous years. The Cyclones are 3-0 from the Beauty and the Beast events.

Ronayne said his gymnasts don’t notice the wrestling meet going on but thinks it could be a distraction for Oklahoma.

“What they’ve told me in the past is they don’t even realize that wrestling is going on other than they see the wrestlers, but they are really focused on what they’re doing,” Ronayne said. “If [Oklahoma] gets distracted by all of those wrestlers, that would be wonderful.”

The Cyclones may need the crowd’s help to take down the Sooners. Oklahoma is 48-16-1 all-time against Iowa State.

“Oklahoma is a fantastic team,” said Megan McDonald, a junior on the gymnastics team. “They’re ranked No. 2 in the nation. They have great credentials, but you never know what can happen.”

The event will begin at 7 p.m. and doors open at 6 p.m.