Senior gymnasts prepare for final home meet

Isaac Hunt

When someone spends 60 to 80 percent of their life practicing and performing gymnastics, the tune of “Pomp and Circumstance” may come too early.

Shea Anderson, Michelle Browning and Celine Paulus have all faced battles in their four years at Iowa State. The payoff is a final season and meet at Hilton Coliseum dedicated to the three seniors for their accomplishments in and out of the gym.

“[I will miss] being a part of something that’s bigger than you,” Paulus said. “In high school and club it’s about the individual. College is about the fans and the team.”

Their favorite memories range from the Beauty and the Beast meets to beating Iowa. For Michelle Browning her favorite memory was simple, saying she’ll simply remember the gymnastics as it is.

Coach Jay Ronayne said he learns something from his seniors every day.

“Shea has taught me to never underestimate someone,” Ronayne said. “Celine’s taught me never to count somebody out. Michelle has taught me the power of perseverance.”

Many people have influenced the seniors throughout their careers and pinpointing just one person was very difficult.

Browning said her club coach Kellie Mizoguchi believed in her from the start. For the other two seniors it is a former teammate.

“Ashley Kent,” Anderson said. “She was a great person to talk to if you were down or if you were up.”

All three seniors have plans for life after gymnastics. Anderson plans to attend graduate school and hopes to become a graduate assistant in strength and conditioning.

Paulus has an internship in Las Vegas this summer and plans to eventually attend graduate school. Browning said she would like to work at a refugee resettlement as a project manager.

Ronayne said the seniors’ intangibles will be hard to replace.

“Their presence is something I will certainly miss,” Ronayne said. “We jokingly call them grandmas, but grandma has a lot of wisdom. We’re going to miss that.”

Iowa State (4-5, 0-2 Big 12) will host Senior Night in Hilton Coliseum Sunday at 2 p.m. against Minnesota (4-7, 0-6 Big Ten).