Cyclone gymnastics to finish out regular season Saturday

Iowa State junior Alondra Maldonado competes in the beam event during the Cyclones’ gymnastics meet against the University of Iowa on March 4.

Hailey Dohnal

After falling to the Iowa Hawkeyes Friday night, Cyclone gymnastics is preparing for their last regular season meet this weekend before the Big 12 Championships on March 19th.  

Iowa State’s head coach Jay Ronayne has had a couple days to reflect and review the film from their loss to Iowa in order to help his team continue to succeed. 

Ronayne says that after reviewing video from the competition, he can focus more on what the other team did against them, a luxury he usually isn’t afforded in the moment. 

Something the Hilton crowd may have seen Friday night was the amount of sticks the Iowa Hawkeyes had.

A stick refers to the gymnast landing her routine without any movement and can cost the team many tenths of a point on an event if not executed. 

“They out-stuck us,” Ronayne said. 

Those landings were one of the Cyclones biggest setbacks against the Hawkeyes and is something that they have continued to work on and improve on all season. 

“It’s been a focus of ours anyway, but now it’s black and white…the war is going to be won with landings,” Ronayne said when referring to the importance of stuck landings. 

Along with stuck landings, the event lineup for the Cyclones is slowly being put into permanent place. 

Ronayne has made some switches in the lineup, some out of necessity due to injuries, to make sure he has his strongest gymnasts ready for the Big 12 Championships. 

Preparation for the upcoming quad-meet is staying fairly consistent for the Cyclones. 

The only big difference will be the event that the team starts on. For the meet Saturday, Ronayne says his team will start on the balance beam and finish on the uneven bars. 

Beam and bars are two of the tougher events for the Cyclones, but that order of events is how the gymnasts will practice this week in order to feel better prepared. 

There will be some tough teams to compete against at Saturday’s competition. One of those teams, Missouri, is currently ranked No. 11 in the country. Illinois is ranked No. 25. 

Iowa State is currently ranked at No. 27 in the RoadToNationals standings. 

Additionally, many teams have been able to bring back some of their gymnasts because of their extra year of eligibility from COVID-19. 

Because of that, although Division I only allows for 12 scholarship athletes, some teams may have 17 instead, bringing about even more competition. 

Iowa State specifically has two gymnasts returning for an extra year of eligibility. Those gymnasts are Andrea Maldonado and Sophia Steinmeyer. 

Both of those gymnasts have been coming back from injuries, but having that extra talent continues to help the Cyclones succeed. 

Ronayne says when the opposing teams are perceived as really good, it can bring out the best in an individual competitor. 

“Every meet from here on is going to be a high caliber meet,” Ronayne said. 

Cyclone gymnastics will travel to Missouri this weekend to compete in a quad-meet against Missouri, Illinois and Lindenwood. The meet is set to begin at 5 p.m. Saturday.