ISU softball battles for CyHawk Series trophy


Freshmen righthander Emma Hylen throws a pitch in a 17-0 Cyclone loss to the Baylor Lady Bears.

Curran Mclaughlin

The single biggest sporting rivalry in the state of Iowa: Iowa vs. Iowa State. 

And the CyHawk Series, which is a compilation of all the sporting events this season, will reach an end Wednesday at the Cyclone Sports Complex. 

ISU softball will square off against rival Iowa (12-28, 2-11 Big 10) to finish off the 2015-16 installment of the Iowa Corn CyHawk Series.

Iowa leads the series 12-10, and the game, worth two points, will decide who brings home the CyHawk Series trophy. 

With a win Wednesday, Iowa State, which has won the trophy in back-to-back seasons, will tie the series at 12. Since the tiebreaker is decided by who won last year’s series, Iowa State would take the trophy once again. 

“We’re the deciding game, so I think we’re all getting pumped for [the game],” said freshman pitcher Emma Hylen.

Hylen had a chance to see the Hawkeyes in an exhibition game in the fall. She said the Cyclones have improved as a whole since the last time Iowa saw them.

“Everybody’s gotten better since [playing the Hawkeyes] last fall,” Hylen said. “It’ll be a good game, and I’m excited [to play them again].”

The Cyclones have been in the full swing of the softball season and were rolling last week, winning in a doubleheader. They were slated to play Iowa last Wednesday before it was cancelled because of inclement weather. Iowa State went on to go 1-2 against Texas Tech over the weekend. 

The team has been taking it one game at a time, and with a game the night before, the mindset is no different heading into its game against the Hawkeyes.

“It’s [always] somewhere in the back of their mind, but I don’t think it [was] on their plate [leading up to this week],” said ISU softball coach Stacy Gemeinhardt-Cesler.

Sophomore shortstop Nychole Antillon said she can feel the excitement building in the team.

“It’s a rivalry, so it’s going to be pumped,” Antillon said. “[The energy is going to be high], especially with our Iowan teammates. They’re all head on [toward] it.”

However, Antillon takes the one-game-at-a-time approach to heart and will try not to let the implications surrounding the CyHawk game affect the way she plays.

“I have to stay focused and not let the emotions get to me,” Antillon said. “To me, it’s just another game. You have to go out there and win it.”

It might be hard to focus on Iowa after that game was cancelled, but the team is still managing to stay focused.

“Wednesday will come, the rivalry is always there,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said. “We know that it’s always there and it’s a great game. We look forward to it but we still have to get there first.”