ISU gymnasts attempt to turn recent regression into progression at home meet


Sam Greene/Iowa State Daily

Freshman Briana Ledesma pauses at the top of her revolution to switch directions on the uneven bars. Iowa State lost to Oregon State 195.950-195.975 Jan. 18. 

Kevin Horner

For the ISU gymnasts, the formula for a much-needed rebound is simple — hit routines.

After experiencing multiple falls on the balance beam alone at the Metroplex Challenge on Jan. 31, the Cyclones are reverting back to the rudiments of their sport as they look forward to two upcoming meets at Hilton Coliseum this weekend.

“The whole team has to hit routines,” said ISU gymnastics coach Jay Ronayne. “That’s it, boiled down to its essence.”

From the commencement of the season, Ronayne has preached the message of fixating and perfecting the details of every routine and executing every routine each week. This is, in its most basic form, the recipe for success in the sport of gymnastics in the minds of Ronayne and the ISU gymnasts.

However, after a season-best performance at Hilton in the Beauty and the Beast, the Cyclones not only traveled away from Ames for two straight away meets, but also began to stray from the fundamentals of consistency, which Ronayne is attempting to develop success for his team.

Iowa State fell at least one point short of its score in the previous meet these past two weekends, portraying regression instead of progression. But Ronayne and the Cyclones have pinpointed their shortcomings and have transformed them into a blueprint for success.

“We just need to do what we do in practice every day and have fun with it,” said freshman Kelsey Paz. “The more fun we have, the easier our gymnastics, the better our gymnastics.”

For Iowa State, it is as much of an internal battle as external battle as far as getting the season back on track. It is paramount that the Cyclones unearth the confidence they achieved three weeks ago in Ames. As it is in most sports, the gymnasts will look to gain that confidence back through consistent execution of the elements they can control.

“We have to believe that we’re a good team,” Ronayne said. “To do that, we have to hit routines. Everyone has to stay on the equipment.”

Unfortunately for the Cyclones, a delayed flight from Fort Worth on Feb. 1 has dealt the team a shortened week of practice, giving the team less time to perfect the details of their routines. This may prove detrimental for the ISU gymnasts, especially considering the first opponent they will be squaring off against.

After defeating Iowa State at the Metroplex Challenge, No. 1 Oklahoma will travel to Ames for the rematch. The Cyclones will look to utilize their home turf in an attempt to turn the tables on the Sooners before facing Centenary College on Feb. 8.

“We have to give [Oklahoma] a good competition,” said freshman Briana Ledesma. “This is our house. We have to represent for Iowa State.”

The lone home meet of the season for Iowa State, Beauty and the Beast, proved to be its most successful meet by a significant margin. At Beauty and the Beast, amidst the Hilton Magic, Iowa State posted a combined team score of 195.950. On the road this season, the Cyclones are averaging just 193.908. 

Iowa State hopes the welcoming atmosphere of  Hilton Coliseum will provide the panacea needed for the ISU gymnasts to hit their routines and refine their technicalities enough to raise their scores to their true potential.

“It’s going to be such a great boost this weekend,” Ledesma said. “I mean, it’s Hilton Magic. It’s going to be lively in there.” 

The first meet is set to start at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 6 followed by the matchup against Centenary at 2:00 p.m. Feb. 8.