Potential Lineups: Iowa State

By Caroline Medley


Today we check in with the Iowa State Cyclones, who will hope to improve on their performance from last year, which left them just shy of qualifying to regionals. Their roster is significantly pared down from last year, having lost four seniors and three other upperclassmen who could have contributed. These losses will have to be picked up by the rest of the team plus their five new freshmen in order to finish this season ranked higher than the last.

On vault, ISU will feel the loss of seniors Alex Marasco and Sara Townsend from its lineup. Marasco has completed her eligibility, and Townsend will not be taking her redshirt senior season of eligibility. The Cyclones will return Yurchenko fulls from Sydney Converse, Kelly Martin, Kelsey Paz and Haylee Young. In addition, they’ll see the return of Meghan Sievers, whose handspring front pike half vault is the only 10.0 start value in the lineup and landed her a trip to the national championships during her freshman campaign. Whether or not Briana Ledesma’s vault was judged as a Yurchenko layout half or a Yurchenko arabian last season, her start value is now the same either way. She too will be vying for a spot in the lineup in the coming season. She’ll have to contend with vaults from incoming freshmen Molly Russ and Riley Walsh, who both have competed solid Yurchenko fulls in the past. At her most recent competition, though, Russ was competing just a Yurchenko layout. Whether this is due to injury or just for clean execution, a Yurchenko layout won’t cut it this season.

Townsend and senior Sammie Pearsall will both be missed on bars. Their departure could mean a lack of depth on the event for the Cyclones. Ledesma, Paz, Sievers, Young and Hilary Green will all return
bar routines to the lineup, but of those five, only three were able to score 9.8 or higher in 2016. In addition, only two of the freshmen seem to be in contention for a lineup spot. Cassandra Diaz competes a stronger Jaeger, but her dismount needs upgrading or a connection before it’s ready for NCAA. And though Walsh’s bars scores haven’t been stellar in her club career, she was training a strong Tkachev and pak salto last

year. If she can put that together in college competition, maybe starting in an exhibition routine, she could be a real contender for a lineup spot.

Beam should be much less of an issue, despite missing Marasco and Pearsall, as four strong veterans return and four freshmen hope to compete for a lineup spot. Converse, Paz, Sievers and Young all scored decently on beam last year, each reaching at least a 9.775 at some point during the season. Freshmen Diaz and Russ should look to contribute with good pacing, steady landings and nice amplitude and shapes in their dance elements. Emily White should also have a chance at a lineup spot, as she was the 2014 J.O. NIT beam champion. Her clean form will certainly be an asset in NCAA competition. And Laura Burns is training some exciting skills on beam, including a switch leap-switch half-back tuck combination, a triple series and a roundoff to double tuck dismount. Choosing six from eight possible routines should be a much more comfortable position here on beam.

Floor should bring even more depth for ISU, with seven lineup routines from last season returning, with all but one of those breaking 9.825. Converse, Ledesma, Paz, Sievers, Young, Courtney Middelkoop and Micole O’Dell will all be back vying for those six lineup spots, but there will be

competition from the freshmen as well. Of these seven gymnasts, only Converse regularly competed an E pass — a double arabian. Burns, Russ and Walsh will all look to crack that strong veteran lineup with some solid tumbling, though none of them are expected to have E passes to contribute either. Burns’s best asset is her landings, which are all very close to that coveted stick, but she’ll want to loosen up a little in her

dance sections if she’s going to compete floor in NCAA. Russ excels at bringing the drama and musicality to her dance, but her landings definitely needs a little work for college competition. And Walsh’s long lines and excellent twisting form should definitely put her in the running as well.

The Cyclones should have no problem fielding some great all arounders this season. Paz, Sievers and Young should easily be up on all four on a regular basis. Young, who won the Big 12 AA title as a freshman in 2015, will likely lead the way in this group — though Paz and Sievers can certainly hold their own. All three girls competed all around at least five times last season. The only other potential contender might be Sydney Converse. She competed three events last season: vault, beam and floor. Iowa State is already in need of new bar routines to add to its arsenal. If Converse can put one together, she could definitely have a shot as well.

Stay tuned tomorrow as we tackle last season’s national champions, the Oklahoma Sooners! For more info on potential lineups, check out our page here, any of our previous lineups series here or previous posts in this Big 12 series:


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