Consistency shines for Cyclone gymnastics in first win of the season

Iowa State junior Laura Cooke competes in the floor exercise against the University of Nebraska on Jan. 7. 

Christian Royston

After a cold start to the season, Cyclone gymnastics needed one great meet to get the ball rolling in the right direction.

And they got it Friday night.

Iowa State and West Virginia were both coming off season-high meets against top schools in the nation in No. 8 Auburn and No. 5 Denver, and both teams were looking for a bounce-back meet.

The Cyclones led in the first half of the meet but entered the final rotation trailing by .150. The Cyclones needed to clutch up and perform solid floor routines to pull out a victory and they did not disappoint. 

A new season-high on floor pushed the Cyclones to a 196.225-195.425 win over West Virginia.

The Cyclones have constantly been improving every meet. New season-high and career-high scores seem to be commonplace for the team. They bumped up their season-high score that was set last week to 196.225.

This was in part due to the success they saw in each event. The Cyclones set new season-high scores on the vault, the balance beam and the floor.

The Cyclones came into the meet planning to hit 24 out of 24 routines, as any missed routine is a missed opportunity. They succeeded in nailing routines across the board, with just one fall on bars during the meet.

“We almost hit the 24 routines that we were here to do. Even though we had a little stumble on bars, we were able to pull it back together again,” Head Coach Jay Ronayne said.

The Cyclones also didn’t let missed or suboptimal routines affect their momentum. They went out and competed hard to make up lost points. 

The main momentum swing in the Cyclones’ favor was on the balance beam. The beam plagued the Cyclones in the first three meets, putting up the lowest scores in every meet by a significant margin.

This beam team came out hot and ready to impress against West Virginia.

Falls had become a common sight on the beam throughout the season, but in front of a large Hilton crowd, perfection was all that was on the team’s mind.

The Cyclones not only nailed all their routines on the beam but set a new season-high score with 48.825. 

The gymnast who had the toughest time turning things around was Ana Palacios. After a fall on the uneven bars and a fall on the beam in the previous meet, all eyes were on her to see how she would tackle the pressure to perform a good routine on the beam.

Palacios did not let her fall on the bars affect her mental state and came out and delivered a strong routine on the balance beam to secure a score of 9.700 for the Cyclones.

When asked about how Ana Palacios came back from a fall on bars to put together a solid beam routine, Ronayne said, “She told me she didn’t want to let her team down.”

Her performance seemed to spark something in her teammates, as the rest of the gymnasts put up better and better scores. 

The momentum the Cyclones gained from each performance and the energy in Hilton Coliseum fueled them going into the final event.

Ronayne said the crowd did a great job inspiring and cheering on the gymnasts throughout the meet. The Hilton Magic proved strong as everyone was on the edge of their seats to see how the Cyclones would tackle the floor event and pull out a victory over West Virginia.

There has been hype throughout the season about the talent on the floor. However, the Cyclones had not quite lived up to that hype. The floor sat as Iowa State’s third-best event out of four entering the meet.

The Cyclones had something to prove, and they went out and demonstrated what to expect from floor this season. With five gymnasts putting up 9.800s or better and Laura Cooke adding in her second 9.900 routine of the season, the Cyclones were able to blow past their previous season-high with a score of 49.225. 

Now that the floor sits as the highest-scoring event for the Cyclones, it is safe to say that it might be the event to look forward to in the future.

Not only were the Cyclones consistent in hitting a majority of their routines, but the landings looked a lot better. The Cyclones stuck landings consistently on each event and were able to fix the small mistakes they showed throughout the season.

The Cyclones will have to continue to dial in and build off of their momentum as they go into their bye week.

Ronayne said that going forward, “we are going to keep on working on the details.”

The details will need to be perfected going into that meet. After their week off, the Cyclones are set to take on No. 5 Denver on the road. The Cyclones are scheduled to face off against Denver at 3 p.m. on Feb. 13, in Denver, Colo.

Results (top five scores are counted):


Makayla Maxwell: 9.875

Emilie Hong: 9.850

Kelsey Boychuk: 9.825

Josie Bergstrom: 9.825

Ariana Orrego: 9.800

Hannah Loyim: 9.725


Loganne Basuel: 9.850

Laura Cooke: 9.825

Ariana Orrego: 9.825

Hannah Loyim: 9.775

Makayla Maxwell: 9.625

Ana Palacios: 9.025


Meixi Semple: 9.850

Loganne Basuel: 9.800

Hannah Loyim: 9.775

Sophia Steinmeyer: 9.700

Josie Bergstrom: 9.700

Ana Palacios: 9.700


Laura Cooke: 9.900

Maddie Diab: 9.875

Kelsey Boychuk: 9.825

Andrea Maldonado: 9.825

Rachel Wilke: 9.800

Kaia Parker: 9.000