Gymnastics face handful of competitors


Emily Blobaum/Iowa State Daily

Sophomore Kelsey Paz performs her uneven bars routine during the meet against West Virginia on Feb 5. Paz scored 9.75, contributing to the Cyclones’ narrow 195.3-195.2 win over the Mountaineers. 

Rachel Given

The ISU gymnastics team will see some familiar competitive faces and leotards this weekend at Hilton Coliseum.

The Cyclones will face five teams over two meets, and two of those teams have already faced the Cyclones this season: Minnesota and North Carolina State. 

With such a big weekend ahead, the team is taking a different approach to preparing for the meet. 

“We try to take it easy,” said assistant coach Kristen Maloney. “We try to focus on the little things and getting things done: every turn counts.”

Iowa State will face Air Force and No. 18 Minnesota starting at 6:30 p.m. Friday. The Cyclones opened their 2016 season against the Gophers in Minnesota, which ended in a mere .675-point loss for Iowa State.

“Now that we’re in the middle of the season, I expect them to be more confident than in the first meet of the season,” Maloney said. “I expect another close meet, and for them to pull out a win this time.”

Minnesota has moved up two spots in the rankings since the first meet and sits 18th in the NCAA ranks.

“Overall, [Minnesota is] a pretty strong team,” Maloney said. “We’re just looking to be even stronger going in, focusing on ourselves and what we can control.”

Iowa State will take on Nebraska, North Carolina State and Wisconsin-La Crosse at 2 p.m. Sunday. 

Iowa State and North Carolina State have already crossed paths this season at Hilton Coliseum. The Cyclones grabbed a win, which started their current three-meet win streak.

Maloney said the team has been working on “little details, sticking dismounts, hitting handstands and just being really clean.”

Nebraska is also a ranked team in the NCAA ranks, sitting 14th with a team average of 195.875 points per meet. The Huskers are currently on a two-meet losing streak, losing against Iowa and Minnesota. 

Confidence seems to play a major role for Iowa State. There are always times when the team loses its confidence, but Maloney believes the key role to keeping the confidence is trust.

“[The team] has to trust their training,” Maloney said. “They put a lot of work [in], a lot of hours [in], a lot of training and they’re doing really well.”