ISU gymnastics aims to perfect details at Beauty and the Beast


Jonathan Krueger/Iowa State Dail

Junior Caitlin Brown competes in the beam on March 7, 2014, at Hilton Coliseum. Brown received a 9.675 for her beam in the Cyclones’ 195.925-192.775 victory against Iowa.

Kevin Horner

The members of the ISU gymnastics team will attempt to harness their inner Belle as they play host to two teams at this weekend’s wrestling-gymnastics combination event, the fifth Beauty and the Beast.

Oregon State (0-1, 0-1 Pac-12) and Southeast Missouri State (1-0, 0-0 Ohio Valley) will travel to Ames on Jan. 18 to experience, alongside Iowa State (0-1, 0-0 Big 12), a truly unique event.

Beauty and the Beast, first hosted by the Cyclones in 2006, is an event that divides Hilton Coliseum in half, designating both wrestling and gymnastics a portion of the arena for their respective competitions. 

Given the publicity for the event in addition to the fans from both sports, Hilton Coliseum is likely to see enhanced numbers in comparison to a typical gymnastics or wrestling meet.

“We hope it’s going to be a huge crowd,” said ISU gymnastics head coach Jay Ronayne. “If you ask any of [the girls], they’re going to say that the bigger the crowd, the better they’ll feel about it. That’s what makes Hilton Magic, Hilton Magic. It’s because of the crowd.”

The Cyclones plan to feed off of the energy from the crowd as they will clash with not only Southeast Missouri State, but also a Pac-12 powerhouse in Oregon State. 

Oregon State, who bested Iowa State last season by a score of 196.425-194.850, fell to fellow Pac-12 competitor, University of California-Los Angeles, on Jan. 12 by a score of 196.000-195.450. Despite the result of the meet, the Beavers’ score is high enough to place them amongst the ranks of the top 25 teams in the country.

Defeating Oregon State will be no easy feat, but Iowa State feels they are prepared for the challenge.

Where does Iowa State begin in terms of trying to take down a well-established team such as Oregon State? If one asked this to any of the ISU competitors or coaches, they will all reiterate the same answer: details.

“It’s the details,” said senior Caitlin Brown. “Jay talked about it all day at practice today. Landings, little form breaks here and there, handstands. We have the routines down, and now we just have to get them more perfect.”

At its last meet in Minneapolis, Minn. on Jan. 10, the Cyclones put up consistent scores of 48.300, 48.350, 48.350, and 48.475 on the vault, beam, floor and bars respectively. These scores, as Brown said, reflect well-executed routines but lack the totals that could be produced by refining minor, but influential, details.

“We need to stick landings,” Ronayne said. “Also, we’ve been working a lot on form. If your feet are supposed to be together, keep them together. If your toes are supposed to be pointed, point them. If your legs are supposed to be straight, straighten them. Those kind of details.”

In addition to Brown, another significant contributor at the meet against the Golden Gophers was freshman Haylee Young. Young, a native of Des Moines, scored a team-high 9.800 on the floor exercise, leading the Cyclones on their best event of the night.

“It was so much fun,” Young said. “Being out there with a college team and having them all screaming so loud for [me], it was very exciting.”

Along with Young, multiple other freshmen made substantial contributions to the Cyclone effort last Sunday, giving the team hope for a bright future. 

“Honestly, I got goosebumps [watching the freshmen compete],” Brown said. “We were all looking at each other, coaches and trainers included, and we were saying, ‘This is going to be a good year.'”

Iowa State will seek to utilize that young talent as it looks forward not only to Beauty and the Beast this weekend, but to the season as a whole as well.

The event will begin at 2 p.m. Jan. 18 at Hilton Coliseum.