Iowa State gymnastics reacts to getting placed at Minnesota regional

Iowa State Senior Haylee Young eyes her next move on the uneven bars. Iowa State took third place in the NCAA Big 12 gymnastics championship with a score of 195.650 over West Virginia at 195.625, but behind Oklahoma at 197.775 and Denver at 197.075. ISU began the meet with weak beam scores, and while they recovered on floor and vault, only to have two falls in the uneven bars.

Austin Anderson

The Iowa State gymnastics team gathered around the TV in their offices in Beyer Hall on Monday afternoon. The Cyclones didn’t have to watch the NCAA selection show for long to find out where they were headed.

In the first regional announced, the Cyclones found out they would be heading to Minnesota as the No. 5 seed to take on No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 12 Kentucky, No. 13 Denver, No. 24 Minnesota and Iowa.

“It’s kind of what I expected,” said senior Briana Ledesma. “I knew, based on where we were sitting in rankings, that that’s possibly where we were going.”

Some on the team said they had hoped to be in a different regional to get farther away from Ames.

“I think a lot of us were hoping to go somewhere more fun,” said junior Meaghan Sievers. “It is close and it’ll be an easy trip. It’ll be good.”

The Cyclones do have a tough draw. Any draw would have been tough as a five seed, but Iowa State has already seen four of the five teams they will face on April 7. Last weekend, the team faced Oklahoma and Denver for the second time this season at the Big 12 Championship and lost to both teams.

The Cyclones, however, have beaten Iowa twice this season and took down Minnesota back in February.

“I was very surprised that they would send three Big 12 Schools out of four to the same regional,” Sievers said. “Granted, that doesn’t really matter. We’ve seen all of these teams except Kentucky. That’s a benefit for us because we know what we’re getting into.”

The NCAA said the brackets would try to have no more than two teams from a conference in the same of the six regionals. Yet, three of the four teams in the Big 12 are in the same regional.

“Honestly, it’s quite disappointing,” said Jay Ronayne, head coach. “When there are four teams in a conference and three are in the same regional, obviously it didn’t enter into their calculations. In my opinion, if there was any way they could have, they should have separated us.”

The one team the Cyclones haven’t faced off against this season yet is Kentucky, the No. 2 seed in the regional. Ronayne said he’s been watching film on the Wildcats and sees them as very similar to Denver.

“I see high quality gymnastics,” Ronayne said. “They’re very good and very consistent. For us, it’s our challenge to bring our very good and our very consistent, then let the chips fall where they may.”

The Cyclones face a difficult challenge but they have a chance.

“If we hit 24 routines, we can go [to the national championship],” Sievers said. “We have to hit great routines but we can go. We have to believe it.”