Gymnastics team defeats reigning Big 12 champion

John Kauffman

Members of the ISU women’s gymnastics team had never experienced a win over conference nemesis Nebraska until Friday night in Hilton Coliseum.

The No. 4 Cyclones brought a four-year Cornhusker winning streak to an end, beating the Cornhuskers 196.925-196.275 in front of a record-breaking crowd of 2,716 fans.

“Tonight marks a milestone for our program,” head coach K.J. Kindler said. “Everyone stepped up and fought for the little mistakes that were made, and we had to [for a win]. I think that says a lot about our team and what we are able to do.”

The Cyclones started out the night with a team win on the vault, tying the school’s third-highest vaulting score, and did not stop until they had outscored the reigning Big 12 champion Cornhuskers on all four events.

Kindler said her gymnasts walked in expecting to win and that determination was essential to the win. Nebraska finished fourth in the nation last season and the team needed rock-solid confidence to win, she said.

“It was more a ‘we’re going to’ than an ‘if’ we win,” All-American Erin Dethloff said.

Dethloff took charge on the balance beam and floor exercise, taking first place in both events, leading two outstanding drives by the Cyclones in the final two rotations.

In the third rotation, all of the Cyclones scored 9.80 or better on the balance beam, leaving Dethloff in first place (9.90), sophomore Laura-Kay Powell in second place (9.875) and junior Susan Stock in a tie for third place (9.85).

In the final rotation, Dethloff’s performance on floor ended the night’s competition and highlighted a string of superior Cyclone floor routines that would seal the Cornhusker’s fate.

“There was a lot of pressure going in [to the last rotation on floor] knowing you hit everything else and they just nailed it,” Kindler said.

Completing the Cyclone sweep on floor were sophomore Krystal Carney and freshman Janet Anson, who tied for second in the event with scores of 9.90.

Anson’s solid routines also earned her a second place finish on the vault and a tie for first place on uneven bars with Nebraska’s Richelle Simpson, the 2003 NCAA all-around champion. In the end, it was Anson who walked way with the night’s all-around crown (39.475), followed by Dethloff (39.425) and Powell (39.375) who placed second and third.

“My heart is throbbing,” said Anson. “It’s one of those things you dream about, and now it’s come true.”

Senior Chee Chee Calina said the win was long overdue.

“Our long hours and work in the gym finally paid off and we couldn’t have done it with out each other,” she said.

The win takes the Cyclones to 3-0 on the season and 2-0 in the Big 12 Conference. The team will try to extend its success with a win over Oklahoma Sunday in Norman, Okla.