Gymnasts focus on what lies ahead

Isaac Hunt

At the ISU gymnastics team’s practice gym, there are posters along the back wall with words such as “Desire,” “Dedication” and “Leadership” printed on them. The highest poster in the gym, however, is “Drive”.

The team is constantly changing its goals to keep its girls driven, said coach Jay Ronayne. On a white board in the gym written in black dry-erase marker are some of their goals for this upcoming week at Oklahoma. 

Written under “@ OU” are things like “23/24 Hits!” and “10/18 Sticks.” “Let’s do ittt!” are the final words on the board. 

This season, Iowa State (2-3, 0-1 Big 12) has suffered from counting at least one fall in all of its meets. Having 23 hits out of 24 would be quite out of the ordinary from the pattern the Cyclones have set so far this year. 

“Some have been handling it OK, and some have not,” Ronayne said. “We’re working with them right now to try to get them to focus on what’s important. Overall, probably 80 percent of the team is focusing on what they can control.”

No one on the team is pointing fingers and no one really can. The falls have been in different events from different athletes all season. 

“We’re a team,” Ronayne said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s an individual or it’s everybody.”

The team continues to improve meet after meet but has yet to peak.

“We’re in a position where we’re going to peak at the right time, which is regionals,” said senior Celine Paulus. “We have eight meets left so we have a chance to get up there and score.”

The coaching staff is not worried just yet. 

“We’re three or four weeks away from panic time,” Ronayne said. “Everyone is still improving. The season doesn’t really start, if you think about it, until March. “

The Cylcones have three meets in March, including the Big 12 Championship. Ronayne said his team needs to be perfect if it hopes to beat out Missouri and Oklahoma this year. 

“It’s a big deal to not count falls,” said freshman Caitlin Brown. “We need every little tenth we can get.”

With perfection on their minds, the Cyclones head to Oklahoma to face the OU gymnastics team along with S.E. Missouri State on Friday at 7 p.m.