Speed bump set for gymnasts on road to nationals


Photo: Jordan Maurice/Iowa State Daily

Junior Elizabeth Stranahan during her floor routine performance against Minnesota on Sunday, Feb. 26. Stranahan’s score of 9.85 helped put Iowa State ahead 195.974 to 195.150. 

Isaac Hunt

To get to nationals, the ISU gymnastics team must first place in the top two at NCAA Regionals. 

This is no easy task considering the No. 24 Cyclones have to score higher than at least two of the three top seeds: No. 5 Nebraska, No. 8 Utah and No. 17 Minnesota, along with lower seeds San Jose State and Arizona State.

All season long, Iowa State has had its eyes focused on going to the NCAA Championships meet. This Saturday will determine whether or not that goal will be obtained. 

“They’re ready to go, they’re hungry,” said assistant coach Katie Minasola. “The overall feeling of this team is that they’re ready to go to nationals. That’s where they want to go. They use that day in and day out.”

Hunger may fuel the Cyclones, but it may not push them far enough to make it past the two top-10 teams.

“Gymnast for gymnast, we are not as strong as Nebraska or Utah,” said coach Jay Ronayne. “I think we’re better than Minnesota, we’ve beaten them once, but they’ve beaten us once, so we’re pretty comparable.

“I haven’t seen the other two teams, but I’ve seen their scores. I think we can beat them. It’s going to take the top two teams — Nebraska and Utah — to make mistakes.”

Although it may seem like a David and Goliath type battle, the ISU gymnasts are brimming with confidence. Two years ago, the gymnasts competed in Utah — which is where the regional will be — and they are positive the familiar setting will help. 

“I’m really confident in our abilities going into Utah,” said senior co-captain Elizabeth Stranahan. “Being there before does make me more confident, but mostly it makes me really excited. It’s a great arena, I remember the fans there being really nice and the atmosphere is charged.”

In addition to the familiar setting, it will be a familiar competition as Iowa State has seen Nebraska and Minnesota twice this season. In the last regular season meet, the Cyclones came very close to upsetting the Cornhuskers. 

“We had a chance to beat Nebraska late in our season,” Ronayne said. “If they open the door again like that and we actually take advantage of it, that’s what it’s going to take to get us to the next level.”

The season is coming to a close. The only thing that remains to be seen is whether the Cyclones can extend their season for two more weeks or whether they’ll come home and start preparing for 2013.