PHOTOS: Gymnastics Iowa State vs. Denver

Then-freshman Meixi Semple sticks the landing as her team awaits to congratulate her. The meet was March 15 in Hilton Coliseum, with Denver winning 197.225 to 195.925.

Iowa State was able to come out on top Friday night against the No. 19 ranked Southern Utah Thunderbirds with a final score of 196.300 to 195.775. This is the Cyclones' fourth victory against a ranked opponent this year, and it was hard fought. With this win, Iowa State moves to 7-6 overall and 1-2 in Big 12 play. 

Peaking at just the right time

Iowa State finished with a score above 196 for the fourth straight meet and fifth time in the year. With only three meets left until the Big 12 Championships, the Cyclones are gaining momentum at the perfect time in the season. 

"We try to keep them chasing something, have something on the horizon and something to get better at," Head Coach Jay Ronayne said.

In last year's Big 12 championships, Oklahoma took home its eighth consecutive title with a score of 197.575. Iowa State would end up finishing third with a score 195.950.

After winning the Big 12 Championship, Oklahoma would go on to win the National Title at the 2019 NCAA Gymnastics Championships. The Cyclones faced off against the No. 1 ranked Sooners earlier in the year and lost with a score of 195.000 to 197.600.

Despite the fact that Oklahoma is the top-ranked team in the nation, Ronayne feels confident in his team's ability to go out and compete with anyone in the country.

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Iowa State then-senior Sydney Converse competes on vault during the first rotation of the Iowa State vs. Oklahoma gymnastics meet in 2019. The then-No. 23 ranked Cyclones were defeated by the then-No. 1 ranked Sooners 196.275-197.575.

Sydney Converse's solid performance

Redshirt senior Sydney Converse has battled a wide range of injuries her entire time at Iowa State, with the most recent being a torn Achilles a month before the 2018 season. She earned a medical redshirt and is now competing well in her final season with the Cyclones.

On Friday, she finished 9.900 on the beam, which matches her career high, and a 9.875 on the floor.

Converse is seen as one of the leaders for this team, and she is doing a solid job of mentoring some of the newcomers.

"Every year, I have felt more and more like a leader," Converse said. "Having a fifth year, knowing all the obstacles I've been through and experiences I have, has given me a different outlook that I am able to give to the team."

New vault order pays off

Coming into this meet, Ronayne said he was going to make some changes to the order gymnasts would compete in the vault, and it worked out well.

The Cyclones finished with the best score on the vault in over a year with a score of 49.275. Junior Andrea Maldonado went on to win the event with a career best 9.925. Sophomore Phoebe Turner also earned a career best with a final score of 9.875.

Iowa State also received valuable contributions from Sophia Steinmeyer and Makayla Maxwell, both earning a 9.850, as well as Kelsey Boychuk and Converse; each finished with a 9.775.

Looking forward

Iowa State will be set to face off against the Michigan State Spartans at 6:30 p.m. Friday in Hilton Coliseum.

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