Big 12 Moments Still Top Larsonís (Sweitzer) List
AMES, Iowa – When Iowa State alumna Stephanie Larson (Sweitzer) sits in the crowd at today’s Big 12 Championship in Hilton Coliseum she will be back in the arena where one of her greatest gymnastics memories occurred at an event she cherishes.
Cyclones.com caught up with Larson at last night’s gymnastics alumni event, and when asked about her experience winning the Big 12 team title at Hilton in 2000, Larson’s pride was apparent.
“It was amazing,” Larson said. “We did not know at first because we won by .025, and we were trying to signal to all the parents in the stands to see if they knew if we had won. They were all straight-faced and wouldn’t tell us anything. We really did not know until they announced it. When we heard it announced, it was an immediate celebration. The crowd made it feel like Hilton was shaking, and it was such a great feeling.”
Larson’s career at Iowa State did not stop at being a part of great teams. She tied for the Big 12 beam title in 2001 and shared top league honors on bars in 2002 with teammate and league all-around champion Sissy Huey. Larson also won a regional beam title in 2001, but she points to her Big 12 bars title as her top individual accomplishment.
“The moment I stuck my bars dismount my senior year and was Big 12 champion was such an incredible feeling,” Larson said. “Coming in as a walk-on, winning a Big 12 title was not something I thought would come my way. Standing on the podium and sharing it with my teammate Sissy Huey, who was an amazing athlete, was probably the high point for me.”
At the Iowa State alumni event, former men’s and women’s gymnasts made a point to tell the current Cyclones they are a part of a special family that shares unique experiences. Sweitzer echoed that sentiment when she shared why she came back to Ames this weekend.
“I haven’t been down in here in quite some time and it is great to get down here and see what has changed at Iowa State and Ames,” Larson said. “Being able to see old friends and see the team compete is what brought me down here.”
A lot has changed at Iowa State since Larson last competed, but the pride, memories and friendships she made as a Cyclone will remain unaltered.