Gap in team appearances at NCAA Championships filled by individuals


Senior Caitlin Brown competes on the beam at the NCAA Regionals on Saturday at Hilton Coliseum.

Kevin Horner

After reaching the Super Six Finals at the NCAA Championships for the first and only time in school history in 2006, ISU gymnastics has yet to return as a team to even the preliminary round of the NCAA Championships.

Following the successful 2006 season, the Cyclones came about as close to a return to nationals as possible as they finished in a tie with Oklahoma for second place at the NCAA Central Regional in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Unfortunately for Iowa State, the tiebreaker favored the Sooners by 0.200 points — sending Oklahoma on to the nationals in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Following this unfortunate outcome at regionals in 2007, the Cyclones have yet to return as a team to the big stage at the NCAA Championships. Three times — in 2009, 2013 and 2014 — Iowa State has finished third in its regional competition, just one spot away from advancing.

Despite this now nine-year team drought, ISU gymnasts such as Janet Anson, Michelle Shealy and senior Caitlin Brown have filled this gap with individual appearances at nationals. Since the team’s last appearance in 2006, there have been only three years in which Iowa State has gone unrepresented at NCAA gymnastics’ biggest stage — 2008, 2009 and 2012.

Brown continued to fill in these gaps with her two qualifications to the championships in her final two seasons as a Cyclone. With Brown graduating this year, however, the Cyclones will look for a new representative, or perhaps representatives, to continue this trend of success.