Gymnastics set to face Illinois State after COVID-19 pause



Iowa State gymnast Makayla Maxwell performs on the uneven bars in a meet against Denver on Jan 15 in Hilton Coliseum. (Photo courtesy of LUKE LU/Iowa State Athletics)

Adarsh Tamma

The Iowa State gymnastics team is ready to compete again after pausing all activities for this past week due to a result of COVID-19 protocols within the program.

This pause also caused the team to miss last weekend’s Metroplex Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas. The Cyclones will travel to Normal, Illinois, on Sunday to take on the Illinois State Redbirds.

Iowa State Head Coach Jay Ronayne and his squad will carry a two-meet winning streak heading into Bloomington, with their last win coming against West Virginia in Morgantown on Feb. 7.

In that meet against the Mountaineers, the No. 18-ranked Cyclones outscored their opponents in all four events, with eight gymnasts recording new season highs.

One of those gymnasts was sophomore Makayla Maxwell, who recorded a season-best on the vault with a score of 9.900 to lead the Cyclones, who scored a total of 49.100. Senior Sophia Steinmeyer finished close behind in second with a score of 9.825.

Maxwell also set a career-high on uneven bars with a score 9.850 to finish second overall behind fellow teammate Jade Vella-Wright, who tied her season-best of 9.875. Iowa State’s vault team has been clicking so far, ranking seventh nationally on the apparatus with an average score of 49.150.

Elsewhere, the Cyclones will look to gymnasts like Meixi Semple to score key points for them. In their win against West Virginia, Semple had a strong performance on the balance beam, tying for first with a score of 9.850.

Semple has been a consistent figure in the Cyclones’ lineup this season, with a pair of 9.825s and a 9.850 on the beam so far this season.

In the floor exercises, the Cyclones will look to sophomore Maddie Diab, who scored a 9.900 in this event against the Mountaineers. Diab’s performance was her third career score of 9.900 or higher, as well as the team’s best score in the floor exercises this season.

This season on the floor has been successful for Diab, who has scored a pair of 9.825s along with the 9.900 performance in Morgantown on the season so far.

Iowa State has junior Addy De Jesus to look to for capturing individual all-around honors. She has enjoyed a successful 2021 season so far, scoring a perfect 10 on the vault against Denver on January 31st.

The performance was the first such score in ISU history since 2004, and is only the third perfect 10 on the vault in the nation this season. This performance earned De Jesus Big 12 Gymnast and Newcomer of the Week on February 2nd, as well as placing her seventh nationally on the vault with an average of 9.892 on the season.

De Jesus has also produced strong performances on the beam and floor exercises as well, scoring 9.850 and 9.900 respectively in that same meet against Denver. De Jesus’ average overall score is currently 39.200, tied for 32nd in the country.

Iowa State will face off against Illinois State at 1 p.m. on Sunday at the Horton Field House in Normal, Illinois. Live updates on the meet can be found at