With six weeks left, Cyclones will spend rest of the season on the road

Madeline Johnson runs to celebrate with Coach Ronayne after her bar routine. The Cyclones won their tri-meet against Illinois State and Gustavus with a score of 195.625.

Austin Anderson

The Iowa State gymnastic team will spend the rest of their season on the road. Their final three meets are away from Hilton Coliseum. The season concludes in a month and a half.

Their postseason meets include the Big 12 Championships, regionals and, potentially, nationals. 

“[Home gym advantage] definitely is a factor,” sophomore M.J. Johnson said. “Some teams get really overscored at home. I like being on the road and I think the team does too. I think it’s just fun to experience a different environment.”

The three-week road trip to end the regular season begins this weekend as the Cyclones travel to Morgantown, West Virginia, for a tri-meet against No. 26 West Virginia and No. 29 Maryland.

Coach Jay Ronayne said there are some obvious challenges being on the road like the wear and tear of traveling, especially on the nearly 900-mile plane ride to West Virginia. Being on the road can get repetitive, Ronayne said, which leads to the challenge of keeping his team focused.

To combat that, Ronayne said he has given his team a message in recent weeks: “Chase something that is special to you.”

He has been rewarding his team for successful scores with days off of practice when the Cyclones are preparing for teams they are hardly challenged by, like Illinois State and Gustavus Adolphus.

This week, however, the No. 24 Cyclones are facing two teams that are evenly matched, at least on paper.

“It’s a human-natured thing, when you know the other team is really good, you’re going to step up a little better,” Ronayne said. “I suppose you can liken it to if they know there is a good looking guy in the room, they are going to look a little better. They are going to try and show off a little bit and be as good as they can be, something like that.”

Although the team may step up its performance against better competition, sophomore Meaghan Sievers said the mindset never changes, no matter who is on the schedule.

“It doesn’t matter who we’re against,” Sievers said. “If we’re against the No. 1 team or a Division III school, it doesn’t matter what they do, it’s only what we do. So I would say our mentality is the same, we’re just trying to be our best.”

The Cyclones best this season came on the road in Denton, Texas, against Texas Woman’s, at 196.125.

Ronayne said he “would be lying” if he said the Cyclones are better on the road, but with potentially six weeks left on the season, Iowa State has an opportunity to get used to life on the road before the postseason starts.

“We’ll see how we are on the road,” Ronayne said. “And we will find out pretty soon.”