3 takeaways from Iowa State gymnastics season high performance

Iowa State Sophomore Molly Russ competes on beam during the Quad Meet against Yale, West Virginia and Northern Illinois Feb. 2. The Cyclones won the meet with their highest team score of the season with a total of 196.200 Points.

Austin Anderson

Iowa State gymnastics defeated Lindenwood and Illinois State in a tri-meet on Sunday afternoon. Here are three takeaways.

Cyclones record season high

The Iowa State gymnastics team has a new season high and added two more wins to the season total after taking down Lindenwood and Illinois State with a score of 196.450.

The Cyclones started off steadily on the opening event, the uneven bars. The Cyclones stayed consistent with all five of the scores that counted between 9.775 and 9.825, leading Iowa State to a score of 49.000 after the first rotation. Lindenwood followed with a 48.750 and Illinois State came in at 47.925.

Iowa State increased its lead at the midway point thanks to strong performances by sophomore Molly Russ who scored a 9.850 and senior Haylee Young, who had the team’s highest score on the beam, a 9.900. The event score of 49.125 put the Cyclones at 98.125 after two rotations.

Then the Cyclones had their best event of the meet on the floor exercise. Iowa State impressively had three Cyclones score 9.800s. Freshman Ariana Orrego scored a 9.825, Young added a 9.850 and senior Briana Ledesma recorded a new season high with a 9.900 to lead the Cyclones to a 49.175 on floor.

The Cyclones finished on the vault with a team score of 49.150. Junior Kelly Martin scored a career high 9.800 and junior Meaghan Sievers had the Cyclones best event score with a 9.900 to seal the tri-meet win.

Finally: 24 of 24

Every week, Iowa State coach Jay Ronayne has had the same goal for his team. He wanted his gymnasts to hit all 24 of their routines without falling.

Even with only a few weeks left in the regular season, it’s been hard to judge exactly how good these Cyclones can be. They’ve shown flashes of brilliance on certain events and resilience to bounce back in others, but without evidence of putting a complete meet together, a potential run in the post-season seemed unlikely.

It got to the point where Ronayne said after practice last Wednesday that he was trying to bribe his gymnasts into hitting all 24 routines, saying they might “get something cool” if they are able to complete the task.

On Sunday, for the first time all season, the Cyclones did exactly that. Without a single fall on Sunday, the Cyclones put on display what their potential could be. Those results showed with the team’s highest score of the season.

Looks like it might be time for Ronayne to pay up.

Was a statement made?

After Iowa State defeated No. 10 Arizona in the Cyclones’ home opener earlier this season, Ronayne wasn’t sure if his team had made a statement.

“I don’t know about a statement,” Ronayne said on Jan. 12. “Maybe a bit of a whisper. A whisper that we’re here and we’re going to be a lot better than we are right now as long as things continue the way we think they are going to.

“We’ll make a statement when we score mid-196.”

On Sunday, the Cyclones did score mid-196, but it remains to be seen if they would consider this making a statement. The Cyclones were consistent on the uneven bars but lacked a high scorer that would have pushed their team score to another level, but that might be nitpicking.

What doesn’t remain to be seen however, is the Cyclones put up their best team performance of the year on Sunday, at exactly the right time to improve to 15-2 on the season.