Gymnasts fall to Nebraska but show strong improvement


File photo: Zunkai Zhao/Iowa State Daily

Camille Santerre-Gervais participates in the uneven parallel bars during the Cyclones’ meet with Auburn on Friday, Jan. 7 at Hilton Coliseum.

Chris Cuellar

No. 23 Iowa State dropped its first Big 12 meet of the season to No. 11 Nebraska on Friday, but improved on its opening meet performance, losing 195.450-194.725.

The Cornhuskers’ score was a marked improvement from their 194.95 performance against Florida in their season opener and it ended up being too much ground for the Cyclones to cover. Despite the loss, the gains are right where coach Jay Ronayne wants them.

“It would be awesome to start off the season with a huge score then build off of that, but that’s not reality,” Ronayne said. “Most teams don’t do that and can’t do that. If we can stay similar to this improvement step-wise, for next week, that would be even better.”

Despite avoiding the floor for the entire meet, the Cyclones’ slip-ups were bookends – the opening vault and closing floor routines were events that brought down the final tally.

“Last week we started off very, very poorly on vault,” Ronayne said. “We improved on that event, which gives us a shot at being a lot more competitive with any team in here, but we still have a lot more work to do. We’re better, but we still need more.”

Nebraska had a top-scorer in every event, and matched the Cyclones in a five-way tie on the balance beam with two Cyclones.

“I was really happy both my personal performance and our team performance,” said ISU junior Michelle Browning, the top all-around performer for the second straight week. “We had a strong showing and we were against a tough program, so I think we did pretty well. We had better focus in practice, and we knew we had to build on last week.”

ISU Freshman Camille Santerre-Gervais was named the Marie-Rae Sopper Outstanding Performer for the meet after posting a 9.800 on the uneven bars, her only event.

“I was really excited for the meet and I had better practice this week,” Santerre-Gervais said. “It just built my confidence, then I came in here and I did a good job I think.”

Focusing on the bars as her only event, the Quebec-native is becoming consistent in just her second week of action.

“Every time she’s up there I’m amazed that it gets more beautiful than the last time,” Ronayne said. “She makes it look so effortless, and it’s not. I kind of get the feeling every time she’s up there she’s going to go 9.800 or better.”

Iowa State’s next home meet is Friday, Jan. 21 against Missouri, which will be featured alongside the ISU wrestling team for a “Beauty and the Beast” promotion. The scheduled start time for all the action is 7 p.m.