Three Big Takeaways: Cyclone gymnastics team grabs its second win of the weekend


Daniel Jacobi II

Natatlie Horowitz begins her beam routine during the match against Central Michigan in Hilton Coliseum on Feb. 12, 2023.

The Iowa State gymnastics team grabbed a convincing win against Alaska-Anchorage with a final score of 195.525-192.500, finishing off their second double-competition weekend of the season.

The Cyclones were coming off a win on the road against Lindenwood just 48 hours prior to competing against the Seawolves. This is certainly one of the brighter spots for the Cyclones this season, grabbing two much-needed wins in the second half of the season.

Here are the takeaways from the third win at home for the Cyclones this season.

Early lead on vault

The Cyclones started the afternoon on vault and took an early lead with a first rotation score of 48.875-47.875.

Ana Irene Palacios and Laura Cooke got things started on vault, both scoring a 9.775. Kaia Parker led the way for the Cyclones, scoring a 9.850, which was the best score on vault from both teams.

Emilie Hong performed last on vault for the Cyclones and scored a 9.800, which erased one of the lower scores earlier in the rotation.

Head coach Jay Ronayne was impressed with how things ended on vault, an event that at times has been proven costly for the Cyclones.

“I’m really happy with the way the team did their job on vault today,” Ronayne said. “They were a little deflated from the score. We had to quickly remind them that has no bearing on them and that what they did was great, no doubt.”

Cyclones find success on bars and beam

Recently, the Cyclones have had trouble with the middle rotations but were able to keep the lead thanks to some great performances on bars and beam.

Maddy Langkamp and Loganne Basuel tied for the best performances on bars overall, with a 9.800. Cooke continued her afternoon with another solid performance on bars, earning a 9.775.

“We call her ‘cookie’ from her last name,” Ronayne said. “That’s been her nickname since she got here, but maybe we should change it to ‘steady Eddie’ cause she is always the same out here. I can’t say enough about her. She’s leading the way in consistency.”

The Cyclones would head into the third rotation with a 97.650-95.475 lead over the Seawolves but would be going into another event they’ve had struggles with; the balance beam. Hannah Loyim led the way for the Cyclones with a 9.850, and not far behind was Kelsey Boychuk with a 9.800.

“Our bars were not ideal, but we’re marching down the right road,” Ronayne said. “We’re able to hit routines, but we have to make them sharper. In the gym, they’ve been a lot sharper than this. This is the mental part of the sport. Do you tighten up when the lights are on?”

Floor performances continue to impress

Heading into the final rotation, Iowa State held a 146.450-143.775 lead and would be performing on floor, where they have found lots of success so far this season.

The Cyclones continued their success with Maddie Diab leading the way with a 9.925 performance. The floor performances were stellar all around for the Cyclones, with four gymnasts scoring a 9.800 or higher.

One gymnast that saw some improvement was Alondra Maldonado, who scored a 9.825. Last weekend against Central Michigan was Maldonado’s first performance back from an illness and it was one she knew was not her best.

“I’m proud of my routine; I think it was a great improvement from last week,” Maldonado said. “I felt more confident mentally and physically. I was able to sell it to the judges and be able to have fun and make sure the crowd had fun with me. At the end of the day I’m proud of myself.”

The Cyclones will hold their last home meet of the season against Denver at 6:30 p.m. Friday.