Cyclones prepare for rival Hawkeyes


Photo: Zhenru Zhang/Iowa State Daily

Celine Paulus competes in floor exercise during the gymnastics meet Feb. 11 at Hilton Coliseum against Oklahoma. File Photo: Zhenru Zhang/Iowa State Daily

Dylan Montz

The No. 23 Iowa State Cyclones prepare to take on their rivals, the No. 20 Iowa Hawkeyes, on Friday as the Hawks will invade Hilton Coliseum.

This will be the first of two meetings between the teams this season. This meeting will have serious stakes in which team wins the Hy-Vee Cy-Hawk Series for 2010-2011.

ISU coach Jay Ronayne has stressed that it is important for the season but also important to get the win over the Hawkeyes to make sure the Cyclones win the series for the second year in a row.

“It’s the biggest meet of the year,” Ronayne said. “We talked about it yesterday in practice. We said, ‘If you don’t have any purpose for what you are doing right now, here’s one. We have to beat Iowa. Everyone is counting on us.'”

The Cyclones (6-2-1, 1-2 Big 12) will have an opportunity to face the Hawkeyes (5-4, 2-3 Big 10) twice in a span of seven days. Iowa State has an opportunity to score four points in the Cy-Hawk Series, putting the Cyclones in a better standing in the overall competition.

To prepare for Iowa, the Cyclones’ main focus is to work on the balance beam. For the second week in a row, the team had to count a fall resulting in .500 points lost for the team. Junior Celine Paulus posted a 9.800 on the beam and was pleased with how the meet against Oklahoma went, but said that there is room for improvement.

“We just need to be more confident,” Paulus said. “We were ranked really high in beam and have gone down a couple rankings, but we need to have that overall confidence walking into a meet knowing that we can win.”

The vault competition will also be another point of focus for the Cyclones. Against Oklahoma, Iowa State scored a 48.750 in the vault compared to a 47.775 against North Carolina State and George Washington; a noticeable improvement. However, Ronayne sees more potential in the vault athletes.

“We still have to continue getting better on vaulting,” Ronayne said. “I saw it in practice [Sunday]. We saw some good improvement, so our two main focuses are staying on beam and improving on vault.”

This will be freshman Hailey Johnson’s first experience with the Cy-Hawk Series. Against Oklahoma, she performed well in the beam and received a career high in the floor exercise with a 9.800. She is new to the rivalry but has tremendous confidence.

“I know that for each sport you get points for whoever wins, so the gymnastics team will definitely win it this year,” Johnson said.

The dual meet against Iowa will begin at 7 p.m. Friday in Hilton Coliseum.