Iowa Prepares For Home Opener

Jan. 12, 2010

This Week The University of Iowa women’s gymnastics team will return to Carver- Hawkeye Arena Friday when they host Michigan State and the University of Illinois-Chicago in the first home meet of 2010. Competition is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

Scouting the Opponents The No. 24 Michigan State Spartans began their season 3-0, with a first place finish at home against No. 11 Penn State, No. 21 West Virginia and Western Michigan. The Spartans were led by senior Nicole Curler, who posted a 39.00 and second place finish in the all-around. The UIC Flames are 0-1 after dropping their home-opener to Southeast Missouri, Jan. 9. The young team was led by sophomore Rachel Montoya, who finished in a tie for first place on the balance beam.

Scouting the Hawkeyes Iowa currently holds a record of 1-1 after an impressive tri-meet, hosted by the Michigan Wolverines. The GymHawks finished with a team score of 193.200, behind Michigan’s 194.875. Anchoring the GymHawks was junior Rebecca Simbhudas, who took a second place finish in the all-around with a score of 39.000.

Head Coach Larissa Libby Entering her sixth season at Iowa, Larissa Libby has a career record of 45-51-1. She was named North Central Region Coach of the Year in 2009 for her efforts in guiding the GymHawks to a 10-5 record and a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Regionals. She was also named co-Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2008. 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 “Michigan State is an extremely strong team and I know that UIC had a great start to the season too,” said Coach Libby. “It will be a tough meet, but our goal is to stay focused on our own goals and not so much what the others are doing. I’m excited for the team to be back home and in front of its friends and family. The comfort that comes from the support of your own fans right out of the tunnel gives you that little extra edge. It’s definitely an advantage and it means a lot to be at home.”

Next Competition The Hawkeyes will travel to University Park, PA, Jan. 23 to take on the Nitany Lion of Penn State. Competition is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. in Rec Hall.