Cyclones gear up for Nebraska, Big 12 Championships


Photo: Zhenru Zhang/Iowa State Daily

Celine Paulus performs a straddle jump in her beam routine during the meet against the University of Iowa on Friday at Hilton Coliseum. The Cyclones defeated the University of Iowa 196.350 – 195.850.

Dylan Montz

After a tie in the final home meet of the season, No. 21 Iowa State will look for one more victory Sunday in the regular season against a Big 12 foe, No. 10 Nebraska.

This will be the final time that the Cyclones (7-4-2, 1-2 Big 12) take on the Cornhuskers (8-7, 3-1 Big 12) as conference opponents as Nebraska will join the Big Ten next season.

ISU coach Jay Ronayne is stressing the importance of performing well against the Cornhuskers as well as at the Big 12 Championships to move back up in the rankings.

“We know we have to score well, that’s what it all comes down to,” Ronayne said. “If we score close to 196 this weekend and at Big 12s, we’ll set ourselves up to probably be in the top 18 [in the country].”

“When we go to NCAA regionals, the top 18 schools are seeded so we would be seeded in the top three no matter what region we go to. That’s an advantage psychologically.”

The Cyclones had to count yet another fall on the balance beam against Minnesota, so the goal for Nebraska — Spring Break week — and the  Big 12s is to stay on the equipment and tighten up their routines. 

After competing Sunday against Nebraska, Iowa State will return to Ames in a short week of preparation for Big 12 Championships during Spring Break. Junior Celine Paulus said that while the week is short, the preparation isn’t as intense as one might think.

“We don’t have a lot of practice next week which is nice because this week we have a longer practice week and we kind of have to prepare for two meets in one week,” Paulus said. “But it will be fine. Spring Break is nice because we don’t have school so are just all focused on gymnastics so it is nice right before Big 12s.”

While the ultimate goal for the Cyclone gymnasts is to win the Big 12 Championship, they are just working to try to beat as many of the Big 12 teams as they can. Sophomore Elizabeth Stranahan said she expects the team to go to Columbia and compete for a title.

“Realistically our goal has been to beat at least two Big 12 teams this season, so if we could go and finish in the top two that would be ideal,” Stranahan said.

Iowa State will travel Sunday to Lincoln to take on Nebraska. The Cyclones will then return to Ames before traveling to Columbia, Mo., for the Big 12 Championship on March 19.

That meet is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.