Cyclone gymnastics host West Virginia, team growing in confidence


Iowa State junior Maddie Diab celebrates after the floor exercise in the Cyclones’ gymnastics meet against the University of Nebraska on Jan. 7.

Christian Royston

Coming off a tough meet against No. 8 Auburn, where Cyclone gymnastics put up a new season-high score but failed to come away with a win, the team is looking to turn the season around as they return home to take on West Virginia on Friday.

At the beginning of the season, nerves were expected, but it took some time to shake them off and compete at a high level. The team has the talent to compete with the top schools in the nation; they just need to display that talent in competition.

“We suspected we would be starting off slow and build through the season, and that’s exactly what’s happened,” Iowa State Head Coach Jay Ronayne said. “We’re getting better each week.”

Although it’s easy to nitpick after starting the season with three losses, each loss helped the Cyclones improve and become more consistent.

It’s a tough task to go out and compete against a top-10 school in the nation, but the Cyclones took that challenge head-on and put on an impressive performance. The Cyclones will have to continue to build off this momentum as they enter the Big 12 Competition. 

The Cyclones will be back home to host West Virginia, who sit just outside the top-25.

This season, the Cyclones and the Mountaineers have competed at very similar levels, averaging 194.667 and 194.863 points, respectively. 

Iowa State has won the last nine matchups against West Virginia, but the Mountaineers are coming off a season-high meet against a top-five team in Denver, where they put up 195.725.

The Cyclones will need to show great consistency in each event and compete at a high level if they want to come away with a win. Being home at Hilton Coliseum may help ease some of the nerves seen early in the season.

“We are one great meet away,” Ronayne said. “We know when we are hitting, which will be soon, we are going to be great.”

Hitting all the routines on each event has been easier said than done this season. Consistency seems to be the big factor in whether or not the Cyclones can come home with a win.

There have been bright spots in all the losses, but the top routines don’t seem to come out in the same nights. If the Cyclones can hit a majority of their routines, then scores will continue to trend upwards.

“I think we have the routines,” Maddie Diab said. “We just need to put it all together at the right time.”

The events have improved meet to meet, as was the case in Auburn, Ala. The Cyclones put it all together and came away with season highs on each event.

Despite the major improvements across the board, one event seems to be plaguing the Cyclones this season: the balance beam.

So far, the season-high score for the team on the beam has been 48.375, which is significantly lower than the other events. It is clear that there have been struggles, but the Cyclones are ready to show what they have been working on in practice.

Ronayne does not seem to be too stressed out about the lack of production on the beam. It is clear that there is still rust that needs to be shaken off, and the team is close to demonstrating their talent.

“We are really good right now, we just haven’t shown it,” Ronayne said.

As the season progresses, the scores will continue to rise. Some kinks need to be worked out, but once they find their stride, the beam has the possibility to be one of their best events.

Going forward, consistency is the main focal point for the team. If the Cyclones can display great routines on each event and work to minimize the missed opportunities, they will be able to compete with the top teams in the nation. 

When asked about the game plan going forward, freshman Josie Bergstrom knows it’s all about putting together the same types of performances they have each day in practice.

“We need to hit 24 out of 24 [routines],” Bergstrom said. “Just perform like we do in practice.”

Every suboptimal or failed routine is a missed opportunity for the Cyclones. If they can take advantage of each opportunity to put points on the board, then wins will be easier to come by.

The Cyclones will host West Virginia to open the Big 12 competition at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Hilton Coliseum.