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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

Feb. 10, 2006

Beauty and the beast

by Samantha Beres

Once upon a time, at a faraway Midwest university, a young beauty dressed in red sparkles performed a perfect floor routine. Alongside her, in clear sight, a beast, dressed in a dashing red suit, in fierce competition pinned his opponent to the ground.

This "Beauty and the Beast" scenario is no fairy tale. It's what's to come at the first-ever Cyclone wrestling and gymnastics meet when both teams will compete simultaneously against the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Feb. 19.

Nick Britton, director of event management for athletics, said the dual meet actually grew out of a scheduling conflict. Both teams needed Hilton at the same time. When it was realized both teams were competing against Nebraska, they decided to combine the two. Several universities have found success with Beauty and the Beast meets, and Boise State shared its boilerplate with Britton.

The success can be found in the fans.

Bill Smith, senior associate athletic director for sports administration, oversees wrestling. He said that wrestling fans, known for their passion and intelligence about the sport, will see this as an opportunity to grow their fan base.

"Once you see a wrestling match, you'll want to come back and see more. The same holds true for gymnastics," he said.

Smith added, "It's an exciting, unique environment, and it should create a lot of positive energy."

For athletes, the positive energy already is there.

"There's a natural camaraderie and mutual respect between gymnasts and wrestlers because of the grueling work and what it takes to compete in both sports," said Britton, himself a former ISU wrestler. (When he was on the team, he and other wrestlers hung out with gymnasts during study hours and what little free time they had when they weren't training.)

That camaraderie will show at the beginning of the meet when those "beastly" wrestlers become princes and escort gymnasts out to the floor for introductions.

The floor set-up, said Britton, has been the biggest challenge for this event. Between matches, wrestlers go back in the locker room to get warmed up, and "you can't have wrestlers running into vaulting gymnasts."

The vault, beam and floor routines will happen on one side of Hilton. On the other side will be the wrestling matches and bar routines.

Meanwhile, off to the side, there will be a low set balance beam. Five audience members will be chosen to have a stand-off. The last person left standing on the beam (presumably toward the end of the meet) will win plane tickets to Las Vegas.

Will all of the hubbub distract the athletes? According to wrestling aficionados Smith and Britton, wrestlers will be grappling on the mat and totally focused on one another.

Head gymnastics coach K.J. Kindler is not too worried about her team. "Gymnastics is a sport of concentration, and we've been taught to concentrate through any possible distractions," she said, adding that the crowd will be more of a positive than a concern.

"It might be a little chaotic at times," said Britton, "but this being the first one, we're going to try it and see how it goes."

The event begins at 2 p.m. at Hilton. For more information, click on the Beauty and the Beast logo at the bottom of the Iowa State athletics Web site at For tickets ($10), call 888-478-2925.

Iowa State's Janet Anson and Nate Gallick

Iowa State's Janet Anson and Nate Gallick will compete in the upcoming "Beauty and the Beast" meet. Submitted photo.


The Cyclone gymnastics and wrestling teams will compete simultaneously at Hilton against Nebraska Feb. 19 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10.