Iowa State gymnasts continue winning ways, Sydney Converse returns to lineup


Jack MacDonald/ Iowa State Daily

Sophomore Sydney Converse performs on the balance beam during the Cyclones tri-meet against Southeast Missouri and Centenary. Iowa State won the meet with a score of 195.775.

Andy Stubblefield

Iowa State gymnast Sydney Converse didn’t seem to miss a beat as she returned to the lineup for the first time in 2017 after fracturing her tibia in late October.

Her positive energy on the beam fueled the Cyclones to a dominant victory over Southeast Missouri State and Centenary College.

Iowa State won the tri-meet with an overall score of 195.775. Southeast Missouri State came in second with 189.475 while Centenary finished with 183.400.

“Once I was up there, it was just me and the beam and it was like I never left,” said Converse, a sophomore from Stone Mountain, Georgia.

The night didn’t begin the way Iowa State had hoped, scoring 48.600 on the first rotation. Haylee Young led the Cyclones on vault with a score of 9.800, good enough to win the vault competition. Meaghan Sievers recorded the second best vault of the night for the Cyclones with a score of 9.750.

In the second rotation of the night Iowa State moved to the uneven bars where Hilary Green tied her season high with a score of 9.850. The Cyclones came up short of their goal for the evening, scoring a total of 48.925 on the uneven bars.

“We were aiming for a 49.000 on every event. That was the target,” coach Jay Ronayne said. “At the beginning of the meet we let some lower scores bring us down a little bit so we had to pull it back up. I felt by the time we got to beam we were back to normal.”

Iowa State came alive on the beam, scoring 49.175 on the third rotation. Four Cyclones set personal bests on the beam. Kelsey Paz (9.850), Cassandra Diaz (9.850), Sydney Converse (9.825) and Hilary Green (9.800) all had career nights.

When Converse was done with her first routine in nearly three months she was embraced in a group hug from her teammates. That special moment propelled the Cyclones for the rest of the night.

“I’ve been waiting for that girl back on beam all year. I was so happy for her,” junior Haylee Young said. “We strive to build off of each other’s routines. When we see someone in front of us hit a great routine that motivates us to do good ourselves.”

Paz, Diaz and Young tied with a score of 9.850 to win the beam event.

Iowa State finished the night strong on the floor exercise with a score of 49.075.

Young registered her third 9.900 of the season on floor to win the floor exercise. The Cyclones also had strong performances from Briana Ledesma (9.850) and Paz (9.825) who finished second and third in the event, respectively.

In the all-around competition, it was Young who stood atop the leaderboard with a score of 39.325. Kelsey Paz finished second in the all-around with a score of 39.125, a new personal best.

Iowa State will return to action Friday, February 10th at 7 p.m. in Columbia, Missouri where they will face Lindenwood, George Washington and Missouri.