ISU gymnastics tie West Virginia in opening Big 12 meet, fall to George Washington

Kevin Horner

In the rematch of last year’s Big 12 Championship, it was the non-conference competitor who claimed victory.

No. 25 George Washington (8-0, 2-0 EAGL), with a score of 195.025, defeated both No. 23 Iowa State (1-3-1, 0-0-1 Big 12) and West Virginia (1-4-1, 0-0-1 Big 12) on Jan. 25 at Cary Gym in Morgantown. The Cyclones and the Mountaineers matched scores at 194.850 a piece.

For Iowa State, similar scores to Beauty and the Beast were tallied in the majority of the events. However, what appeared to be the team’s most valuable asset last weekend, the balance beam, proved to impair the Cyclones this time around.

The ISU gymnasts matched the third-best score in school history on the beam at Hilton Coliseum on Jan. 18 with a score of 49.425, but dropped nearly an entire point Jan. 25, with a score of 48.500. The Cyclones were forced to drop the score of junior Sammie Pearsall, who led the team last weekend on the beam with a school-record tying score of 9.950.

Iowa State was again led by senior Caitlin Brown, who took the crown in the all-around competition in the triangular meet — posting a 39.300 score over the four events. Brown also led Iowa State in the balance beam with a 9.900 score.

In the shadow of Brown in the all-around competition was ISU freshman Haylee Young. Young not only fell just one-tenth of a point shy of Brown’s all-around total, but also led the Cyclone effort on the vault and the floor exercise with scores of 9.825 and 9.900, respectively.

The freshmen contribution continued as Hilary Green notched a 9.800 score on the uneven bars, followed close behind by fellow freshman Kelsey Paz at 9.775.

On another positive note, Iowa State’s combined team score of 194.850 outmatched its season average of 194.713. This will aid the Cyclones as they attempt to continue to ascend in the national rankings.

After a week of practice, Iowa State will hit the road once again as it heads to Fort Worth, Texas for the Metroplex Challenge.

The meet will commence at 7 p.m. Jan. 31 at the Fort Worth Convention Center Arena.