GymHawks Head to Florida

Jan. 3, 2005

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This Week

The University of Iowa women’s gymnastics team opens its 2005 season at the Super Six Challenge in Gainesville, FL, Friday. Competition will take place at the O’Connell Center beginning at 6 p.m. EST.

The Competition

The GymHawks will be competing against Florida, Alabama, Arizona, Georgia and Penn State. All five schools are ranked in the preseason top 25, including No. 2 Georgia.

Alabama’s Ashley Miles will be one of the top individuals at the Super Six Challenege. Miles is the reigning NCAA vault and floor champion.

On The Air

The Super Six Challenge will be aired tape-delayed on ESPN Jan. 16 beginning at 1:30 p.m. CST.

In the Rankings

The Gymhawks start the season ranked 17th nationally in the GymInfo Preseason Coaches Poll. Topping the pre-season poll is reigning National Champion UCLA, followed by Georgia and Stanford.

After the Super Six Challenge, the GymHawks will be competing against four other Top 25 teams. The GymHawks will travel to No. 7 Michigan, No. 14 Iowa State, No. 16 Auburn and No. 20 Denver.

Sisterly Love

Senior Annie Rue will compete against her sister, Katie, at this week’s meet. Katie is a sophomore at Florida.

Rue will likely go head-to-head against her sister, as both compete on vault, beam and floor.

The Iowa Connection

The GymHawks will be competing against a few friends at the Super Six Challenge.

Alabama’s Rachael Delahoussaye trained with GymHawk Danielle Legeai at Northshore Gymnastics for three years during high school. The best matchup between the two will be on beam.

Head Coach Larissa Libby and Arizona Assistant Coach Colleen Johnson were teammates on the Canadian National Team for several years. This is the second time Libby and Johnson have coached teams competing against one another. Last season, Johnson was an assistant coach for North Carolina State when the GymHawks defeated the Wolfpack.

Season Preview

The GymHawks return eight letterwinners and add four newcomers to the roster. Juniors Liz Grajewski and Tiffany Kwan are co-captains, while senior Annie Rue adds three years of NCAA championship experience.

The GymHawks have a tough schedule ahead. After the Super Six Challenge, Iowa will travel to Denver before hosting Illinois-Chicago.

Back For More

Letterwinners returning for the Hawkeyes in 2005 include Beth Dilick, Liz Grajewski, Danielle Legeai, Mindi Levitz, Romina Mazzoni, Annie Rue, Kortny Williamson and Bobbie Zimmerman.

New Faces

Four newcomers have joined the GymHawks for the 2005 season. They include Katie Burke (Palatine, IL), Natalie Padilla (Bonita, CA), Amanda Rudolph (West Bend, WI), and Ally Zipse (Fort Wayne, IN).

All four individuals had strong showings at the Black and Gold intrasquad meet, and hope to have an impact on the GymHawk lineups.

Head Coach Larissa Libby

Larissa Libby begins her first season as Head Coach of the GymHawks. Last season, Libby served as Associate Head Coach after three years as an assistant. Libby has already made a lasting impact on the GymHawks as the team’s choreographer and beam coach. The top 10 school beam performances have all been under her guidance, including the school record of 49.425. Libby coached four gymnasts to score a 9.9 or higher on beam in 2004. She also guided sophomore Danielle Legeai to tie for second on beam at NCAA regionals last season.

Quoting Coach Libby

“We are very excited about beginning our season against some of the top teams in the country. We are a young team and will be looking to use this competition to build confidence and work on the consistency of our lineup.”