CyHawk dual, senior night come together for ISU Gymnastics


Emily Blobaum/Iowa State Daily

Alex Marasco, senior, salutes the judges after finishing balance beam routine during the meet against Lindenwood and North Carolina State Jan. 23. Marasco would go on to earn a 9.875 for the event. 

Rachel Given

The ISU women’s gymnastics team has faced big-name rivals all season, but there’s one rivalry that it’s been eyeing all season: The CyHawk rivalry that will take place Friday.

This season, it is the Hawkeyes turn to travel to Ames. Iowa State is 2-2 at home this season but has had a history of winning against Iowa at home recently, winning the last two in Ames. 

“We don’t know why,” said head coach Jay Ronayne. “It just is what it is. Iowa is really good, but we have to be better than them, and it takes a lot.”

Ronayne admits he loves the CyHawk series. He follows it from the first volleyball game all the way to the end of the semester and believes there is a lot of pride at stake.

“I know if we’re winning or losing all year round,” Ronayne said. “So it’s really important to me, and I know it’s really important to a lot of people in this state.”

Entering her second year as a Cyclone, sophomore Kelsey Paz has some team goals set specifically for the CyHawk meet.

“I want to redeem myself from last year because we lost to Iowa last year,” Paz said. “We want to show everyone that Iowa State is an awesome school.”

Preparing for this meet is a little different than others. Ronayne believes it allows the team to focus on something other than itself. He also notices the team is much more team oriented in a largely individualized sport.

Paz said Monday she could already feel the energy for this meet.

“This is one thing that puts focus on a win as opposed to a score,” Ronayne said. “A gymnastics score is hypothetically more important than winning, but for this one, winning is everything.”

This season, the CyHawk dual is also senior night for four gymnasts.

“It’s really special to be able to bring [the CyHawk] back home,” said senior Alex Marasco.

The team has been working hard at the gym on little details but has shifted its focus to stuck landings, form and presentation.

“By doing these things, I feel like we’re well prepared for this weekend,” Marasco said. “We just need to put it all out there.”

Marasco has bittersweet feelings about this meet being her last one at home but is excited to perform for many ISU fans. 

“The crowd makes us all pumped up,” Marasco said. “To see everyone cheering for us makes us feel much more comfortable, and it gets us definitely more excited.”