Takeaways: Gymnastics fights hard but falls short of Big 12 Championship title

Kelsey Boychuk does a routine on the uneven bars in Iowa State gymnastics’ meet against Northern Illinois on March 12. (Photo courtesy of Luke Lu/Iowa State Athletics)

Gavin Ray

The Big 12 Championship meet took place in Morgantown, West Virginia, on Saturday. Iowa State took on Oklahoma, Denver, and West Virginia for the title.

Oklahoma came in ranked No. 1 in the RoadToNationals poll, while Iowa State came in ranked No. 22. It was expected to become a tightly contested meet and the end result did not disappoint as the scores were nearly even throughout the afternoon. 

Iowa State started off on the vault event, totaling a score of 49.325. The incredibly strong start for Iowa State was their season high for the event, led by Sophia Steinmeyer’s 9.900. The other five gymnasts for Iowa State to compete in vault were Phoebe Turne, Emilie Hong, Kelsey Boychuk, Makayla Maxwell and Addy De Jesus. Everyone on the team scored at least a 9.800 on vault and kicked the team off to a promising start. 

After one round Iowa State was right on the top ranked team in the country’s tail. Iowa State’s 49.325 was just short of Oklahoma 49.500. 

De Jesus led the Cyclones to another strong performance on the uneven bars with a 9.900 for herself. Madelyn Langkamp, Makayla Maxwell and Loganne Basuel each put up 9.800 scores. Natalie Horowitz scored 9.750 and Jade Vella-Wright scored a 9.850.

Despite the strong showing on the bars, Iowa State fell back a bit in the event standings. Oklahoma pulled away with the lead, while Denver jumped up to second place. Iowa State fell to third place on the event standings. 

The Cyclones’ total score turned to 98.475 on the event, just behing Oklahoma‘s 98.900 and Denver’s 98.625. West Virginia came in at fourth place halfway through the event with a score of 98.250. 

The third event for Iowa State would be the beam. The Cyclones have had some struggles in the past during the beam event, but they focused on cleaning it up in the second half of the season. The beam would be where Iowa State could make up some ground if they perfected their performance. 

De Jesus once again led the team on the event with a 9.900. Natalie Horowitz and Phoebe Turner scored 9.875 and 9.850 respectively and helped jump Iowa State back into contention for the first place finish. Meixi Semple and Sophia Steinmeyer picked up the pace as well, each scoring 9.825s. Kelsey Boychuk held up her end of the bargain, putting up a 9.800 and doing her part in tightening the overall score. 

After a solid performance on beam, Iowa State totaled a score of 147.750. Oklahoma and Denver tied each other with scores of 147.825 for the first position. The Cyclones had brought the meet within striking distance as they looked to upset the top team in the nation. 

The six gymnasts for Iowa State to swing the final score and attempt to take the lead would be Madelyn Langkamp, Kelsey Boychuk, Sophia Steinmeyer, Maddie Diab, Andrea Maldonado and Addy De Jesus.

Boychuk fell on her first pass and ended up with a 9.650. Despite the fall, Iowa State fought hard and competed heavily to bounce back. Addy De Jesus scored a 9.950, Andrea Maldonado, and Maddie Diab each scored 9.900 or higher. 

An impressive rebound fell just short as Denver took the win with a score of 197.350. Oklahoma scored 197.125 and placed second. Iowa State placed third with a score of 197.050. West Virginia placed fourth with a 195.725 score.