Iowa State gymnastics focusing on beam ahead of matchup against Texas Woman’s University

Members of the Iowa State gymnastics team compete during the first home meet of the season against Arizona Jan. 12 in Hilton Coliseum. The Cyclones defeated the Wildcats 195.45 to 194.975.

Austin Anderson

The Iowa State gymnastics team had season-high scores on three events last weekend at Oklahoma, yet finished with the lowest team score of the season.

The balance beam has been the thorn in the back of the Cyclones in the last two meets. Scores have been down across the board on the balance beam but the falls have been what’s been most damaging to the score.

Junior Meaghan Sievers has received scores of 9.050 and 9.225 in her last two meets after falling off the beam both times.

“I don’t expect to fall,” Sievers said. “I’m shocked when it happens.”

The first opportunity to get one of the Cyclones’ top gymnasts back on track is this Friday when Iowa State hosts Texas Woman’s University. Iowa State coach Jay Ronayne has tweaked Sievers’ routine slightly, shifting from a side flip to a side aerial. It’s essentially the same skill, Ronayne said, just done slightly different.

“She just needs to trust it and get some reps under her belt,” Ronayne said. “Keep doing great [routines] and trust that she has the ability.”

Ronayne said he hasn’t specifically said anything to Sievers but that she’s dwelling on her slip-ups.

“She’s a competitor,” Ronayne said. “I don’t want her to keep dwelling on it. I want her to move past that and focus on the process of the skill and not the outcome, the fall.”

Ronayne also said the lineup for the beam might look a little different this week. At the end of practice on Wednesday, sophomores Molly Russ and Laura Burns, who haven’t participated on beam this season, were working with the rest of the team on beam and might get a shot in the lineup.

“We’re looking at personnel changes on that event,” Ronayne said. “Will Molly Russ go in? Meaghan isn’t the only one who’s been having a problem. M.J. [Johnson] has had a problem too. Not everyone else has been scoring 9.9’s every time.

“Who are the right people for this? We have some other options. Laura Burns was up there and she’s been doing a pretty good job. So we have others too that we may be using in the next few weeks.”

The team is only three meets into the regular season, so there is still opportunity to test different lineups and see who fits where. Ronayne said it would be nice to stick to one lineup to avoid the unknowns, but said that’s just “not reality.”

The Cyclones opened the season with a score of 49.025, their second highest event score of the season, so the potential is clearly there.

“This week we’re trying to do our best beam,” said freshman Ariana Orrego. “We’ve been training really hard with numbers and routines and making everything as perfect as we can.”