Familiar foe, tougher competition for gymnastics

Isaac Hunt

Hilton Coliseum will host a No. 1 ranked gymnastics team for the first time Friday, as Nebraska will be welcomed back to a familiar scene in its first year removed from the Big 12.

The ISU gymnastics team will have the opportunity make a splash and compete against the country’s best.

Iowa State (0-1, 0-1 Big 12) is coming off loss against Missouri in its first meet, but the team is full of confidence.

“Nebraska is a really tough team, but I think we’re really excited and trying to focus on us,” said co-captain Elizabeth Stranahan. “We definitely increase our confidence every weekend.”

Iowa State will have an advantage with its first home meet of the season.

“Hilton Magic has to do with more than just the building, it’s the people that are in it,” said ISU coach Jay Ronayne. “The fan support is everything. [It] is one of the reasons a lot of our athletes came to Iowa State. They don’t get the fan support at a lot of universities like we do here.”

Nebraska (1-0, 0-0 Big Ten) defeated Iowa State in three meets last season, including at the Big 12 Championships.

“We know we have to be on this weekend. If we go out there and execute and have confidence we know we can do anything and pull it off,” said Michelle Browning, who is the reigning Big 12 Gymnast of the Year.

Along with Browning, Iowa State also has the reigning Big 12 Newcomer of the Year Michelle Shealy, who should get back into the swing of things after a tough week.

“Quite bluntly, she was not good against Missouri,” Ronayne said. “And she said it was embarrassing. She lost her focus. I don’t anticipate that happening often. I anticipate her being a lot stronger.”

The meet is slated to begin at 6:30 p.m. on Friday.

“We had a week off so it was nice to deconstruct routines and work on details,” Stranahan said. “So when we put them together Friday, we’re really polished, really clean.”