Jan. 19, 2005
The University of Iowa women’s gymnastics team opens its home season, hosting Illinois-Chicago Saturday. Competition will take place on the main deck of the Field House beginning at 7 p.m. Admission is $3 for individuals and $2 each for groups of 20 or more.
The Illinois-Chicago Flames
The Flames is a veteran team consisting of 10 returning letterwinners and only two freshmen.
Leading the team is senior Jennifer O’Neil. She has posted the top all-around scores for the Flames in its two meets this season. Junior Veronique Meunier is a strong competitor on vault, while sophomore Rachael Zelinski finished second on floor last weekend with a career-high 9.875.
Illinois-Chicago has lost both its meets this season. It opened the season against Northern Illinois. The Flames scored a 190.325 in the defeat. Last weekend, Illinois-Chicago took on Arizona, Michigan State and Missouri. The Flames finished fourth with a score of 189.6.
Last Season Against the Flames
Last season, the GymHawks competed against the Flames twice. Iowa won both contests. Both meets took place at neutral sites.
Iowa’s Series Against Illinois-Chicago
The GymHawks’ record against Illinois-Chicago is 15-4. The last time Iowa beat the Flames was in 2004. The last time Illinois-Chicago beat the GymHawks was in 1999.
In the Rankings
The Gymhawks rank 15th on vault with a high score of 48.875, achieved last weekend at Denver. On bars, the GymHawks are ranked 24th, with a high score of 48.550 from the Super Six Challenge.
The Gymhawks have one individual national ranking. Junior Kortny Williamson is tied for eighth on vault. Williamson scored a 9.9 against Denver last weekend.
Noteworthy Against Denver
The GymHawks led Denver after two events, but were unable to hold on, losing 195.1-191.8. Williamson tied for second on vault and led the GymHawks on beam with a tie for fourth place. Iowa had a strong showing on bars, with senior Annie Rue placing second and sophomore Romina Mazzoni finishing third. On floor, freshman Amanda Rudolph led Iowa with a seventh place finish. Liz Grajewski was the top GymHawk all-arounder, scoring a 38.75 to finish third.
Quoting Coach Libby
“Our focus this week is to improve. We want to become a team that closes meets well. “
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.