ISU gymnastics look to past, focus on future


Photo: Nicole Wiegand/Iowa State Daily

Senior Celine Paulus sticks the landing on the beam during the Iowa State gymnastic team’s meet against Minnesota at Hilton Coliseum on Sunday, Feb. 26. Paulus was one of three seniors recognized at the end of the meet, which was the Cyclones’ last home meet as well as senior day. 

Isaac Hunt

With the week off, athletes get rest, coaches recruit and the ISU gymnastics team is in one of two places: the past or the future.

The season came to an end Saturday at the NCAA Regionals in Utah, where the Cyclones’ less than stellar performance resulted in sixth place out of six teams. 

“Honestly, it doesn’t feel real yet,” said senior standout Celine Paulus. “It’s so bittersweet. I wish it would have ended better. Up to this point, it’s been so good and then it was hard ending on not the greatest meet in the world. Not regret, but disappointment.”

Season in review

Paulus, along with fellow senior Michelle Browning, said one of their favorite moments came early in the season when the gymnasts clinched the Cy-Hawk Series for Iowa State with a home victory against Iowa.

Junior Elizabeth Stranahan chose the Big 12 Championship meet as her favorite moment. Coach Jay Ronayne went a different direction for his most cherished times this season.

“A lot of the highlights for the year take place in [practice],” Ronayne said. “We had a great time. We worked really hard, but it didn’t feel like hard work because it was enjoyable. The training time was the highlight for me.”

With the gymnasts’ class schedules spread out, practice lasted all day long. Coaches were in the gym with the athletes for much longer periods of time than Ronayne is accustomed to.

“We were in the gym a lot,” Ronayne said. “Even though it dragged on from 9 [a.m.] to 5 [p.m.], it was kind of fun. There was a lot more one-on-one time with the athletes. That’s what it’s all about.”

Ronayne also said Paulus’ 9.950 performances and other moments with the seniors are fond memories from the 2012 season. 


With a half-dozen recruits coming in next season and three seniors leaving, the dynamic of this team will be much different in 2013. 

“We lose three seniors that have meant a lot to us,” Ronayne said. “To replace them is going to be difficult. In those spots we have six high-quality athletes to choose from.

“The athletes that we have coming in have potential to be better than our graduating athletes. They have potential, I’m not promising anything.”

Stranahan said the team will focus on building during the offseason and start getting ready for the freshmen to come in. She also will be fine-tuning and building new skill sets.

Wonders of whether the Cyclones can recover next season after losing three seniors were put to rest by a true veteran. 

“I think they will have a quick turnaround,” Browning said. “I think they will be just fine.”