Jan. 20, 2009
The University of Iowa women’s gymnastics team hits the road for the second time in as many weeks, traveling to Champaign, IL, to take on conference foe and No. 14 Illinois. The meet is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at Huff Hall.
Illinois entered this week at No. 14 in the national polls and are coming off a road win at Penn State. The Fighting Illini won the dual meet by almost three full points, 195.500 – 192.925. Illinois finished second at the Big Ten Championships in 2008.
Illinois was led by juniors Nicole Cowart and Sarah Schmidt. Cowart won the all-around competition while Schmidt grabbed equal 9.900 scores on bars and floor to take home first place in each event.
The Fighting Illini are coached by Bob Starkell, who is in his 16th year at Illinois (10th as head coach). Entering the season, Starkell owned a career record of 75-85 at Illinois.
Last Time Out
The GymHawks took first place in East Lansing, MI, last weekend, besting Michigan State, No. 18 West Virginia and Illinois State. Iowa’s team score of 194.350 was almost a full three points higher than the week prior when the GymHawks scored a 191.375 at home against LSU and Southeast Missouri State (Jan. 9). Iowa finished 1-2 in the all-around competition, with senior Jenifer Simbhudas leading the way with a 39.075. Sophomore Houry Gebeshian finished second with a 39.025.
The GymHawks took first place on both vault and floor and finished second on beam. Sophomore Kelly Galau, competing in her first meet for Iowa, led the GymHawks on vault with a 9.775, tying freshman Annie Szatkowski, who got the same mark. Gebeshian and Simbhudas tied for seventh on bars (9.750), while sophomore Rebecca Simbhudas tied for third on balance beam (9.800).
The meet will be shown on the Big Ten Network Jan. 23 at 5 p.m.
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 200 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.
The GymHawks return home Jan. 31, hosting Texas Woman’s University and University of Wisconsin-Whitewater inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Meet time is scheduled for 7 p.m.