Jan. 6, 2009
IOWA CITY – This Week
The University of Iowa women’s gymnastics team opens its season Friday, hosting Southeast Missouri State and No. 7 LSU inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Meet time is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Scouting the Opponents
LSU enters the 2009 season ranked No. 7 nationally and has already claimed the Cancun Classic title Jan. 2. The Tigers swept the individual titles, led by senior Asleigh Clare-Kearney, who took the all-around with a score of 39.350.
Southeast Missouri State comes to Iowa City after narrowly defeating Illinois State Sunday, 191.725-191.525 in Normal, IL. Junior Rikara Turner paced the Redhawks, winning the all-around with a score of 38.675.
Scouting the Hawkeyes
The GymHawks return 12 letterwinners from last year’s squad that went 10-4-1 and finished sixth at the NCAA Regionals. Iowa is led by senior Jenifer Simbhudas, who was named first team all-Big Ten and was a two-time Big Ten Gymnast of the Week.
Tough Schedule in `09
The GymHawks will square off against seven teams that appear in the preseason Top 25 this season. Those opponents are LSU (No. 7), Illinois (No. 16), Michigan State (No. 17), Ohio State (No. 21), Minnesota (No. 22), West Virginia (No. 23) and Kentucky (No. 25). Additionally, Iowa will face both Michigan (No. 8) and Penn State (No. 13) at the 2009 Big Ten Championships.
Iowa was listed as receiving votes in the preseason poll, along with opponents Iowa State, Southern Utah, Southeast Missouri State and Maryland.
Head Coach Larissa Libby
Entering her fifth season at Iowa, Larissa Libby has a career record of 30-46-1. She was named co-Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2009 for her efforts in guiding the GymHawks to a 10-4-1 record and a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Regionals. Libby served as associate head coach in 2004 and assistant coach from 2001-03 at Iowa before being named head coach in 2005.
Quoting Coach Libby
“I think the team is very excited. For the first time in a long time, they feel they are ready to start the season. We still have some holes to fill, but for the beginning of the season, they have worked real hard and look really good. They are ready to go.”