Gymnastics ready to turn tables in rematch


Senior Caitlin Brown high fives her coach after a successful routine on the uneven bars.

Kevin Horner

Minnesota claimed victory against Iowa State in Minneapolis at the commencement of this 2015 season and will seek out the season sweep of the Cyclones on Feb. 20 at Hilton Coliseum.

Little do the Golden Gophers know, they will not be facing the same ISU squad that they faced back in January.

Iowa State (4-7-1, 0-2-1 Big 12) will look to utilize its now experienced young lineup to rebound as the team matches up against No. 19 Minnesota (3-4, 2-3 Big 10) on its home turf in Ames. 

In the season-opening 194.950-193.475 loss to the Gophers, four of nine ISU gymnasts were competing in their first collegiate meet of their young careers — battling the new nerves and anxiety associated with any Division I sport.

However, this time around, Minnesota will be squaring off against a new, more developed ISU squad with a chip on its shoulder.

“It will be exciting to show Minnesota what we’re really about,” said senior Caitlin Brown. “Now we get it. Now we know what we are doing.”

Since the team’s opening loss to the Gophers, Iowa State has only scored below a 194.850 once, in the Metroplex Challenge, and that was due in large part to several falls on the balance beam. In the meet at Minnesota, the sub-194.000 score was not due to mistakes necessarily, but rather to simply average scores.

Iowa State, however, has since proved that when it avoids mistakes, it generates higher total scores. Freshman Haylee Young, who posted a score of 9.250 to begin her collegiate career on the balance beam, now logs an average score of 9.618 in the event, including a season-high 9.900 at Beauty and the Beast.

It is safe to say in their six meets since the season’s commencement, the Cyclones have recognized and have begun to reach their true capacity for success — granting them something to prove to the unsuspecting Golden Gophers.

“We are far more prepared to take [Minnesota] on,” said ISU gymnastics coach Jay Ronayne. “[Before], we were prepared to begin a season but we weren’t prepared to win. Now, we are far more prepared to win.”

Not only is it important for Iowa State to display its full potential against Minnesota, but it is also absolutely paramount that the ISU gymnasts take advantage of competing at Hilton this weekend by achieving a successful combined score. 

Considering that this matchup is one of two remaining home competitions before regionals for Iowa State and additionally taking into account the trend of the Cyclones posting their highest scores in Ames, the ISU gymnasts cannot let this opportunity for success pass.

Time is running out for Iowa State to up its average score before the commencement of the postseason.

“We have to [post a high score], for one thing,” Ronayne said. “The other thing is we’re ready for it. As long as [the ISU gymnasts] stay as focused as they have been in the gym this past week, they’ll be just fine and we will get that high score.”

That opportunity for success will begin at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 20 at Hilton Coliseum.