Iowa State shows improvement against Oklahoma


Sara Townsend performs a routine on the uneven bars Feb. 8 during the Beauty and the Beast gymnastics and wrestling meet at the Hilton Coliseum.

Maddy Arnold

Iowa State was handed another loss last weekend, but it would prefer to look at the positives.

The ISU gymnastics team fell to No. 2 Oklahoma (11-0, 2-0 Big 12) 197.625-194.775 at the Beauty and the Beast event Feb. 8. Even though Iowa State (2-4, 0-1) received its fourth-straight loss and no event titles, the gymnasts said it was an improvement.

“We are definitely improving a lot. We started off a little rough, but the team got together and left vault behind,” said junior Michelle Shealy. “We finished the meet really strong. I think we did really well.”

Iowa State began the night on vault and received its lowest event score of 48.275, but came back and finished the meet with its highest overall team score of the season. Its final team score, 194.775, was almost a full point higher than its score in its previous meet.

“I feel pretty good about the progress; we are making steady progress,” said ISU gymnastics coach Jay Ronayne. “We are scoring better, and we’re looking better every single week. We are not where we need to be yet, but we’re making progress toward that.”

Four gymnasts have been unable to compete this season because of injuries. In their place, freshman Sara Townsend has been filling in some of the missing routines for Iowa State.

“As a freshman, I didn’t know if I was going to compete a lot,” Townsend said. “A couple girls went down with injuries so I knew I had to step up. It’s really exciting to be able to compete this much as a freshman.”

For the third time this season, Townsend competed in three events for the Cyclones. Townsend performed on the vault, uneven bars and exercise floor.

In Iowa State’s previous meet, in addition to three events, Townsend performed an exhibition routine on the balance beam.

“She’s been a very steady competitor for us which is exactly what we need right now especially not having the whole team,” Ronayne said. “I can’t be more happy for that. She’s been a very important part of the team.”