Senior gymnastics standout not satisfied after weekend performance


Celine Paulus executes a stuck landing after her performance on the uneven bars during the meet Friday, Jan. 27, at Hilton Coliseum. Paulus received a 9.850 to help the Cyclones defeat the Hawkeyes 194.900-194.550. 

Isaac Hunt

Celine Paulus scored a career-high 39.375 in her all-around performance, helping Iowa State leave Oklahoma City with second place in the Perfect 10 Challenge on Friday night. 

The senior’s career-high floor routine (9.900) and season-tying high beam performance (9.850) pushed her just shy of winning the all-around title, which was won by Oklahoma’s Taylor Spears with a score of 39.400. 

“I know on every event I can get a 10th more,” Paulus said. “[I’m] just trying to put that all together in one meet. It’s nice to have your personal career high, but I’m never satisfied. I always want more.”

In a sport where everyone is striving to be perfect, Paulus said mental toughness is an attribute athletes must have.

“The beam is such a mental event,” Paulus said. “I did have that two-fall meet against Iowa. I’ve been trying to work on trusting myself more in the gym so that will transfer to the meet.”

Coach Jay Ronayne said he does not see Paulus plateauing any time soon.

 “She still has a lot more room for getting better,” Ronayne said. “She still has to get control of more landings and that’s a good thing. When [gymnasts] think they have it all under control, they get lazy.”

No falls counted for first time this season

Iowa State did not count a fall for the first time this season, which is a big step for the team.

“It was a pretty big deal,” said sophomore Hailey Johnson. “Every meet we’ve had mistakes and falls we’ve had to count. This week, we really executed in our ability to stay on the equipment. It was a big confidence booster.”

The Cyclones (3-4, 0-2 Big 12) scored a season-high 195.175 in their three-team meet against Oklahoma (12-2, 1-0 Big 12) and Southeast Missouri State (0-5) last Friday in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma won the meet with a score of 197.050 while Southeast Missouri State fell to last, scoring 189.600. 

“We’re going to keep on pushing to move forward,” Johnson said. “We went 21 for 24. We have shown progress and we aren’t going to stop until we’re where we want to be.”

The coaching staff is just as pleased as the team was Friday night. Although they did not win, the Cyclones have a sense of pride in reaching one of their major goals. 

“It’s really fun to finish a competition and not be pissed off,” Ronayne said. “Because there’s always something. You can’t be perfect, but when you’re really far from it, it really bothers you. It feels really good to be on the right track.”