Senior night is about redemption for Iowa State gymnastics

Iowa State senior Briana Ledesma celebrates following her floor routine in which she scored a 9.850. The Cyclones went on to win the quad meet with a score of 195.775. 

Austin Anderson

When senior Briana Ledesma was a freshman, she sat on the floor of Hilton Coliseum during senior night for Caitlin Brown. She envisioned what it would be like three years later when she would be the one recognized. She wanted that.

“It’s a weird feeling,” Ledesma said. “I just couldn’t wait to be there.”

The wait is now up.

The Iowa State gymnastics team will face Iowa and Missouri at Hilton Coliseum on Friday night for Senior Night.

“I think it’ll be everything we thought it was,” Ledesma said. “We’re going to be remembered for the great things we built. As a unit, we’ve done something not very many classes got to do.”

The meet isn’t just Senior Night. It’s also the next installment of one of the best Cy-Hawk rivalries across any sport.

The last time the Cyclones hosted the Hawkeyes was two seasons ago. Haylee Young did something that has gone down in Iowa State gymnastics history.

Young was the last competitor of the night. A 9.900 on floor would tie the meet. Anything less would give the Hawkeyes the win.

She recorded a 9.925, a career high, and a walk-off victory for the Cyclones.

“It was an epic battle that I will never forget,” said Jay Ronayne, Iowa State gymnastics head coach.

Then last year in Iowa City, the Cyclones held a lead after three rotations before having one of their lowest scoring events in recent memory, a 48.000 on beam. The Hawkeyes put up a 49.525 to win in dominant fashion.

“They just destroyed us,” Ronayne said. “We were spanked. We want redemption from last year. This whole team, aside from our freshmen, was there and felt that last year and they want redemption. This one means a lot to a whole lot of our team.”

The Cyclones also want to redeem themselves from last week. Iowa State put up a disappointing meet in Lincoln, Nebraska, in losses to Nebraska and UCLA.

Junior Meaghan Sievers said the team was “hungry” after last weekend’s meet.

“We know that we are so much better than what we showed last weekend,” Sievers said. “I think it just made us want even more to go out and show that.”

It will be Senior Night, but it is also far from the end of the season for the Cyclones. At least one more road meet, the Big 12 Championships in Ames and regionals are still in front of this team.

Ronayne said the goal over the next two weeks is to move up from No. 25 to at least No. 24 in order to secure a top-four seed in the regional competition.

Even with a lot left, Senior Night still signifies the closing of an era.

“When we were freshman we wanted to be here as seniors, with this team, building this moment for us,” Ledesma said. “I think we’ve done it so far.”