GymHawks Overpower No. 14 Illinois


Jan. 24, 2009

Complete Results

CHAMPAIGN, IL – The University of Iowa women’s gymnastics team pulled out a hard-fought road victory Saturday night over No. 14 Illinois, upsetting the Fighting Illini 194.950-194.400 in Champaign, IL.

Iowa improves to 4-2 on the season and a perfect 2-0 in the Big Ten Conference. Iowa’s win on Saturday comes off the heels of a quad-meet victory last weekend at Michigan State, where the GymHawks bested the Spartans, as well as Illinois State and then-No. 18 West Virginia.

Following the win, head coach Larissa Libby praised her young team for getting the job done once again.

“This was a great confidence booster for us,” said Libby. “Our girls focused on themselves and created the positive mindset we needed them to have. For us to come out on top against a ranked opponent on the road and increase our hit percentage is a wonderful feeling. They’re living in the moment right now, but come Monday, we’re going to get right back to work.”

From the meet’s beginning, the GymHawks showed no signs of slowing up. Individually, Illinois won three of the four events, but it was Iowa’s one-two punch of sophomore Houry Gebeshian and senior Jenifer Simbhudas that would be the difference maker. Gebeshian took home her first-ever all-around title with a total score of 39.150 while Simbhudas finished third in the all-around (38.725). Gebeshian has not scored any lower than a 9.550 on any event so far this season.

With injuries to several GymHawks, Libby turned Saturday night to sophomore Rebecca Simbhudas, who competed as an all-around performer for the first time in her collegiate career. On Saturday, the younger Simbhudas unveiled a new routine one bars and took the place of sophomore Kelly Galau on vault.

“I think she did a great job,” said Libby of Rebecca. “I think she was still a little nervous, but the sign of a true athlete is to be able to drop it, let it go and compete freely. She did a great job on three events.”

Iowa dominated Illinois on two of the meet’s four events, none more evident than on floor. Iowa took the first four places, led by Jenifer Simbhudas, who finished with a 9.925. Senior teammate Kara Pinjuv scored a career-high 9.900, while Gebeshian and freshman Jessa Hansen both tied for third with identical marks of 9.825.

The GymHawks also put forth six solid performances on vault, led by Jenifer Simbhudas (9.800). Freshman Annie Szatkowski scored a 9.750 and finished fifth, while Gebeshian and fellow sophomore Arielle Sucich tied for sixth (9.725). Iowa was led by Jenifer Simbhudas on bars (9.800) and Gebeshian on beam (9.825).

After two straight weekends on the road, the GymHawks will look to keep their momentum going, as they return to Carver-Hawkeye Arena next Saturday to take on Texas Woman’s University and University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. The meet is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

“We are going to do the same things we’ve been doing,” said Libby. “We’re going to try out some new people and see if we can get some of our all-arounders a rest. We want to get the job done when it comes to crunch time.”

Final Team ScoresPlace   Team        Vault       Bars    Beam        Floor       Total1.   IOWA        48.700      48.650  48.400      49.200      194.9502.  Illinois        47.925      48.850  49.000      48.625      194.400
Individual Results (Winner plus Iowa):Vault1. Marijka Botterman (Illinois) 9.900T2. Jenifer Simbhudas (Iowa) 9.8005. Annie Szatkowski (Iowa) 9.750T6. Houry Gebeshian (Iowa) 9.725T6. Arielle Sucich (Iowa) 9.7258. Kara Pinjuv (Iowa) 9.7009. Rebecca Simbhudas (Iowa) 9.650
Uneven Bars1. Marijka Botterman (Illinois) 9.8252. Jenifer Simbhudas (Iowa) 9.800T3. Houry Gebeshian (Iowa) 9.7757. Arielle Sucich (Iowa) 9.7509. Jessa Hansen (Iowa) 9.67510. Jennie Schurman (Iowa) 9.65012. Rebecca Simbhudas (Iowa) 8.550
Balance Beam1. Kelsey Joannides (Illinois) 9.850T2. Houry Gebeshian (Iowa) 9.825T4. Kara Pinjuv (Iowa) 9.775T4. Rebecca Simbhudas (Iowa) 9.7759. Andrea Hurlburt (Iowa) 9.75010. Jessa Hansen (Iowa) 9.27511. Jenifer Simbhudas (Iowa) 9.200
Floor Exercise1. Jenifer Simbhudas (Iowa) 9.9252. Kara Pinjuv (Iowa) 9.900T3. Houry Gebeshian (Iowa) 9.825T3. Jessa Hansen (Iowa) 9.825T7. Arielle Sucich (Iowa) 9.72510. Rebecca Simbhudas (Iowa) 9.675
All-Around1. Houry Gebeshian (Iowa) 39.1502. Kelsey Joannides (Illinois) 39.0503. Jenifer Simbhudas (Iowa) 38.7254. Nicole Cowart (Illinois) 38.4505. Rebecca Simbhudas (Iowa) 37.650