‘We’re bracing for it’: Cyclone gymnastics focuses on another double competition weekend


Daniel Jacobi II

Hannah Loyim flips off of the beam during the match against Central Michigan in Hilton Coliseum on Feb. 12, 2023.

The Cyclones gymnastics team continues their up-and-down season with another double competition weekend after a loss at home to Central Michigan Sunday.

Heading into their second double-competition weekend of the season, with one on the road and one at home, the Cyclones sit with an overall record of 6-4. In their last double-competition weekend, they lost to No. 1 ranked Oklahoma, and less than 48 hours later they were back in the win column after beating Texas Woman’s University and New Hampshire.

“We’re bracing for it,” head coach Jay Ronayne said. “I think we are more mentally prepared for it cause we’ve already experienced it. We know it’s gonna be a bit of a battle, and it’s more mental than anything else.”

The loss Sunday to Central Michigan was due to some mistakes on bars and beam, two events the Cyclones haven’t been able to be consistent with. But one gymnast who Ronayne said he has been able to count on to put up consistent numbers all season is senior Laura Cooke.

“She’s as steady as they come,” Ronayne said. “She’s the same every time, and that’s great. I think if she continues that way, that’s exactly what we need, consistency.”

In her last two performances on bars, Cooke scored a 9.85 and a 9.8. Her season-high on bars is 9.875, which came against Oklahoma. She has also put up consistent scores with her floor performances, recently scoring a 9.85 and a 9.8 in her last two performances.

Those scores have also been beneficial considering Alondra Maldonado had been out with an illness since competing in the home opener back on Jan. 20, where she scored a career-high 9.9 on floor. She performed for the first time since then against Central Michigan and scored a 9.65, a performance that both she and Ronayne knew could’ve been better.

“She was coming off illness, so it was kind of like rolling the dice putting her out there,” Ronayne said. “We knew she was healthy enough to be out there, but not 100%. Under the circumstances, I’m proud of the way she kept it together.”

With a little under half of the season left for the Cyclones, they look to turn this roller coaster of a season around. Ronayne said while there have been some highs and lows, “that’s what it’s all about.”

“If you’re chasing greatness, you have to build upon something,” Ronayne said. “If you’re trying to build on success, I think that’s a shaky place to be. You want to build on your failures because that’s what’s going to make you stronger and better in the future. I think that’s important for us to embrace.”

The Cyclone’s double-meet weekend will start at 7 p.m. Friday against Lindenwood and will conclude at 2 p.m. Sunday at home against Alaska Anchorage. Both meets will be streamed on ESPN+.