Iowa State gymnastics hoping rest will be beneficial with two meets this weekend

Iowa State Senior Kelsey Paz takes a moment to concentrate before starting her bars routine 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

After having last weekend off from competing, Iowa State gymnastics coach Jay Ronayne said the two meets this weekend could go one of two ways.

The goal was to give them a mental and physical break by tweaking the training in practice over the last two weeks.

The Cyclones have taken less reps in practice and taken less impact by doing less tumbling, vaulting and fewer dismounts on bars and beam.

“It could go two different directions because the pacing of training during the week then competing on the weekend has been broken,” Ronayne said.

If the training doesn’t pay off, the Cyclones could be rusty.

One other possible downfall of a week off is the Cyclones fell to No. 25 in the Road To Nationals rankings after an inactive week. Senior captain Kelsey Paz said the week off would only be a disadvantage if the Cyclones mentally let it affect them. They watched other gymnastics teams compete over the weekend to try to stay focused.

“The only disadvantage is if you let it get to your mind that you got out of a rhythm,” Paz said. “I think it honestly is just good to have that break on our bodies.”

The Cyclones have had rest, but this weekend the team will have a full schedule. On Friday, Iowa State hosts a quad meet with Michigan State, No. 19 Minnesota and Wisconsin-Stout. Then, two days later, the Cyclones travel on Sunday to St. Charles, Missouri, to face Lindenwood and Illinois State.

“It can be challenging [to have two meets in a weekend],” Ronayne said. “I try to approach it that we practice every day. We do more in practice than we do in a competition, so how hard this is. It’s easier than practice.

“Physically, [practice is] less demanding. Emotionally, it’s a different ball game. If you keep your emotions in check on Friday night, on Sunday you should be ready to go. In theory it’s easier.”

Last season, the Cyclones had a weekend early in the season where they scored, at the time, a season high against Oklahoma on a Friday night. Then two days later they had the second best score they would have all season, a 196.125 on the road against Texas Woman’s.

“It’ll be fine,” Paz said. “It’s all mental. It’s being mentally strong enough to do two meets.”

After this weekend, the Cyclones will have just three meets left in the regular season. They currently sit at 10-2 and rank in the top 25 with a feeling of optimism about the postseason that hasn’t always been there in past seasons.

“I think this is probably the best and most exciting team that I’ve been apart of,” senior Briana Ledesma said. “Every week we are growing and making changes. Even if we are just moving a little at a time, we are are moving, which is awesome.”

Paz echoes the same thoughts as the regular season begins to wind down.

“It’s super exciting,” Paz said. “I’ve never been this confident. Everyone says ‘Oh, this will be the team that’s going to Nationals. This is a team that’s going to be amazing this year.’ But I really feel it with this team this year and I think all of us do.”