ISU gymnasts stay positive despite unreached potential in regular season


Whitney Lynn/Iowa State Daily

Senior Caitlin Brown got a lot of height on her jumps during her floor performance Feb. 6, scoring a 9.775 against the Oklahoma Sooners. Iowa State lost 198.150-195.675.

Kevin Horner

If each of the ISU gymnasts successfully completed her routines on a consistent basis, there is no questioning that the Cyclones would be among the top of the NCAA rankings. 

However, despite the potential for success each gymnast has displayed, missed routines and falls have inhibited Iowa State from ever fully attaining their potential in the regular season. At times they were close, such as at Beauty and the Beast on Jan. 18, yet the Cyclones have yet to completely meet their own high expectations for themselves.

“We’ve left so much out there all season,” said ISU gymnastics coach Jay Ronayne. “We know that we can put it together, now we need to just do it. It sounds so easy.”

Ronayne and the Cyclones may have thought those higher scores would have come easily and naturally after posting a score of 195.950 in just the second meet of the season. Little did the team know that it would fail to reach that number for the remainder of the season.

For the ISU gymnasts, their unreached potential has not resulted from lopsided production — relying heavily on the strong gymnasts while the others consistently inhibit the total score — rather, individual gymnasts simply just have not put together higher scores at the right times.

Each of the gymnasts that compete on a consistent basis have displayed the capability to lead the team in scoring for a given event, it is just a matter of having every gymnast execute in the same meet.

“We all hit personal bests this season, so I think that’s what we did really well,” said freshman Haylee Young. “What we need to work on is hitting it all at the same time.”

Early on, the ISU gymnasts were cognizant of their raw talent — due in large part to the seven incoming freshmen. Along with that barrage of youth, however, comes inexperience on a collegiate level, and inexperience, in almost an area of life, results in inconsistencies.

“Something we struggled with this year was consistency on the events,” Ronayne said. “That’s the thing that was disappointing, in one sense, because we have a ton of talent on the team. It was somewhat expected [though] because they are very young.”

For the ISU gymnasts, however, there is a distinct silver lining on this cloud of youthfulness and inexperience. Despite the inconsistency that comes with any rookie season, this young team provides hope for a very bright future for ISU gymnastics.

Given the proper training and experience, this team has the capabilities to turn some heads. For the Cyclones, they hope this training will kick in sooner than later — potentially generating success in this current postseason.

“We plan on [reaching our full potential] next weekend [at regionals],” said senior Caitlin Brown. “I just hope to see it constantly growing.”

Although this season may have generated some disappointment for the ISU gymnasts given their talent, they continue to stay positive, recognizing that if they do achieve their potential, they will score among the teams that currently sit atop the regional standings.

For the Cyclones, this season has never been about dwelling on past setbacks or disappointments, rather, the team has always strived to keep its eyes fixed on what is ahead, maintaining confidence in its abilities.

“If we put it all together for this last meet, we could totally go to nationals,” Young said.