Ronayne expecting more contribution from freshmen

Iowa State junior Haylee Young performs her uneven bars routine, scoring a 9.8. The Cyclones hosted Arizona State at Hilton Coliseum for simultaneous gymnastics and wrestling meets, dubbed ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ The gymnastics team defeated the Sun Devils 193.850-191.8, while the wrestling team lost 25-14. 

Austin Anderson

Iowa State gymnastics coach Jay Ronayne said the freshmen that competed last Friday in the team’s win against Arizona State are no longer rookies. They have cemented themselves to veteran status for the Cyclones upcoming tri-meet against Towson and Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

Molly Russ, Laura Burns and Cassie Diaz competed for the Cyclones in their first meet in Hilton, a joint meet with the wrestling team.

Russ has said she heard her teammates talking about Hilton Magic, but didn’t know the actual feeling.

“When you’re in here it’s so unbelievable,” Russ said. “It’s thrilling, there’s so much adrenaline and the crowd gets you going. I’ve never experienced anything like it.”

The team practiced at Hilton Coliseum on Thursday in preparation of Iowa State’s meet against Towson and Wisconsin-Oshkosh on Friday.

This week, the wrestling team is on the road in North Carolina, leaving the gymnastics team with their first true home meet.

“Winning would be a great confidence booster,” said junior Briana Ledesma. “I think we’re going in with fueled fire. If we keep doing well that’ll just keep fueling the fire so we just have to keep rocking it.”

Towson comes into the meet coming off its highest score in a season opener in program history last weekend when they beat Connecticut State 193.900-187.600. The Tigers’ Gabby Yarussi scored a 9.900 on the balance beam, a score that currently ranks fifth nationally.

Wisconsin Oshkosh is coming off a 175.550-174.725 loss to Gustavus Adolphus College.

“Let’s say after the meet we’re 3-0,” said coach Jay Ronayne. “That’s what we’ve expected since May. That’s what we’ve been working for. That is what is expected.”

The freshmen have only have one meet of experience, but Ronayne has high expectations for them to contribute this season.

Russ performed well on the beams but struggled more than expected on the floor, Ronayne said, and that was the common theme with the freshmen so far this season.

“I’m not overly impressed with what they’ve been doing so far, the whole freshman class,” Ronayne said. “I expect freshmen to come in and be contributors, high level contributors, right away. We’re not really getting that, yet. I expect that to change and that they will be better.

“They didn’t give us exactly what they’re capable of and it’s up to everyone to get there.”