Three Big Takeaways: Cyclone gymnastics grabs home opener win


Iowa State senior Ana Palacios competes in the beam event during the Cyclones’ gymnastics meet against the University of Nebraska on Jan. 7.

The Iowa State gymnastics team won their home opener against Eastern Michigan and UC Davis, with a final team score of 194.075.

The Cyclones broke their two-year home opener losing streak in a meet that was down to the wire, with strong performances all around. Eastern Michigan would finish with a final team score of 193.575, and UC Davis would finish with 193.675.

Head Coach Jay Ronayne was very impressed with the Hilton crowd and said he is “excited to see what the season will be like for our home meets,” as the crowds tend to get larger as the season continues.

Here are the takeaways from the Cyclone’s performances.

Cyclones start strong on vault

The Cyclone’s first performance on vault was solid, to say the least, with a team score of 49.025. That score helped them take an early lead in the meet, with Eastern Michigan scoring 48.300 and UC Davis scoring 48.425.

The top five scorers on vault out of all three teams were all Cyclones, with each earning a 9.750 or higher.

When asked about his thoughts about his team’s performance on vault, Ronayne said, “We were fairly conservative to start it off, and it kind of felt flat. But, I think we were able to pull it together by the end, and that was encouraging.”

Some top performers for the Cyclones on vault were Emilie Hong, scoring 9.850, as well as Kelsey Boychuk and Kaia Parker, both scoring 9.825.

Cyclones struggle on bars

Following their strong performance on vault, the Cyclones would finish .025 behind UC Davis on bars, scoring 48.250. Hannah Loyim had a fall during her performance which affected her score, which ended up being 8.875.

“All I said to her was that never happens, and that it was one and a million, and that it won’t happen again. She doesn’t make mistakes like that,” Ronanye said.

Performances from Laura Cooke, who scored a 9.775, and Lauren Thomas, who scored a 9.725, would help improve the cyclones team score.

Floor performance wins it for the Cyclones

Going into the final events of the night, the Cyclones were behind UC Davis by 48.425 and held a narrow lead of .450 against Eastern Michigan, performing on beam to close their night. The Cyclones saw their opportunity and ran with it, with some performances making it look easy.

Two performances that would lead the Cyclones to victory would be a 9.850 from Kaia Parker and a 9.900 from Alondra Maldonado.

Ronayne described Maldonado’s performance as “passionate” and said that’s just the type of performer Maldonado is. Laura Cooke’s 9.775 and Maddie Diab’s 9.875 also helped the Cyclones clinch the win.

The Cyclones will be back in action on Jan. 29, competing against Eastern Michigan, Towson and West Virginia.