The ISU gymnastics team concluded its season at NCAA Regionals in last place with a score of 193.350, ending a meet below 194 for the fourth time this season.
After performances on vault and bars, with scores of 48.750 and 48.425, the team began its descent to sixth place, falling on four out of six beam performances for an end score of 46.950.
“We felt pretty confident we would hit,” said coach Jay Ronayne. “We practiced very well. This was completely out of left field to have a slow motion train wreck happen right in front of our eyes.”
The team didn’t let the results on beam keep them down for long. The team came back and had a strong floor performance — one of its best — scoring 49.025.
“Right after [we finished beam] we were a little upset, but we got it together,” said sophomore Michelle Shealy. “The meet wasn’t over so we got together as a team and said we had to go out with a bang. We came out and rocked floor.”
The seniors were at the forefront of leading the team to great floor exercises.
“They were disappointed in themselves, but at that point there was nothing they could do,” said sophomore Hailey Johnson. “Our seniors are mature enough to get through that and come back and do well in their next event.”
The gymnasts were beaten up emotionally knowing it was their last event together, but they rallied to prove what they were capable of.
“Directly after the meet we knew we could’ve done better,” Johnson said. “We had some flukes. In the end, in one of our last moments together, we kind of just let that go and were together as a team. We knew we had to let it go and come back on floor.”
The end of the road for the seniors
After the last meet of their long and storied careers at Iowa State, the three senior gymnasts will be missed.
Shea Anderson, Michelle Browning and Celine Paulus have been respected by their peers and coach.
“They grew up a lot over the years,” Ronayne said. “They’re like my daughters. It’s bittersweet. It’s bitter because I don’t want them to leave. They’re so great to be around. Just great people. It’s sweet because they get to move on with the next chapter of their lives.”
Their leadership has not gone unnoticed and the team will miss these seniors.
“They’ve had great seasons all of them,” Shealy said. “Two of them had their career-high all-around. We’re really going to miss them. They are three great leaders for the team. Even though tonight wasn’t the best, they’ve been awesome all year.”