GymHawks Take Second In Home Opener

Jan. 15, 2010

IOWA CITY, IA – The University of Iowa women’s gymnastics team returned to Iowa City Friday evening for its home opener against Michigan State and the University of Illinois-Chicago in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes placed second with a total score of 192.225, behind Michigan State’s 194.425.

Jessa Hansen stole the show as she took first in the all-around with a score of 39.025, a career best for her. The sophomore put together career performances on vault and beam as well.

“I think that Jessa has always struggled in the past with not trusting herself,” said Head Coach Larissa Libby. “With each competition she’s starting to figure out slowly that she is capable of competing with the best in the country. She’s done it twice now, so I’m very pleased with her. She’s another all-arounder who is starting to come around and figure out how to compete, and that speaks great for the future of our program.”

Houry Gebeshian also anchored the GymHawks as she place in the top three of every event until suffering a foot injury during her floor routine. The junior finished fifth in the all-around with a score of 38.375.

“Houry is an excellent competitor,” said Libby. “If we had seven athletes with her mentality, we would go extremely far. I can only say that I’m disappointed for her because she needs that little lift right now. She works extremely hard in the gym, so it’s disappointing.”

The Hawkeyes began the night on vault where Rebecca Simbhudas led the way. The junior placed second with a score of 9.875, just ahead of Gebeshian who tied for third with a score of 9.800. Michigan State won the event with a score of 49.050 while Iowa finished second with a 48.725.

Iowa then competed on bars where Gebeshian won the event with a score of 9.775. Hansen also excelled as she tied for fourth with a score of 9.625. Iowa placed second as a team on bars with a score of 47.675, behind Michigan State who posted a 47.900.

The GymHawks then went to beam where they placed second with a team score of 47.950. Hansen and Gebeshian tied for second with scores of 9.850, a career best for Hansen. Additionally, sophomore Melissa Miller scored a 9.650 and placed ninth.

The Hawkeyes finished on floor where they competed in front of a cheering Michigan State team who was done with its events. Simbhudas led the Hawkeyes and the competition with a score of 9.825. Hansen placed third with a score of 9.775 as the Hawkeyes took second in the event with a 47.875, behind Michigan State’s 48.475.

“I want to say what a class act Michigan State is and I’ve always known that,” said Libby. “It’s what we expect in the Big 10, but to see them come and support our team after Houry’s routine, is just an absolute class act. It’s always a pleasure if you have to lose, to lose to a team like that.”

In a homecoming that brought forth Iowa’s young talent, Libby was please with her GymHawks but knows that there is still sufficient room to improve.

“I really think we got better tonight,” said Libby. “I know it’s difficult for the girls to see, but it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish and I think our routines were a lot cleaner. We tell our team not to look at the scores because it’s subjective, but I really do believe that the level of gymnastics done tonight was far superior to what they did just a week ago. If they can continue to do that, it’s going to be a three point difference. It’s going to take time but they have plenty of that right now.”

The Hawkeyes will travel to University Park, PA, Jan. 23 to take on the Nitany Lions of Penn State. Competition is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. (CT).

Final Team Scores
Place Team Vault Bars Beam Floor Total
1. Michigan State 49.050 47.900 49.000 48.475 194.425
2. IOWA 48.725 47.675 47.950 47.875 192.225
3. Bowling Green 37.675 47.050 45.700 47.275 177.700

Individual Results (Winner plus Iowa):
1. Rochelle Robinson (MSU) 9.950
2. Rebecca Simbhudas (Iowa) 9.875
T3. Houry Gebeshian (Iowa) 9.800
T6. Jessa Hansen (Iowa) 9.775
T8. Kelly Galau (Iowa) 9.725
12. Rachel Corcoran (Iowa) 9.550
16. Emma Stevenson (Iowa) 8.950

Uneven Bars
1. Houry Gebeshian (Iowa) 9.775
T4. Jessa Hansen (Iowa) 9.625
T7. Jordan Eszlinger (Iowa) 9.550
T11. Emma Stevenson (Iowa) 9.500
14. Rebecca Simbhudas (Iowa) 9.225
18. Annie Szatkowski (Iowa) 8.200

Balance Beam
1. Nicole Curler (MSU) 9.900
T2. Jessa Hansen (Iowa) 9.850
T2. Houry Gebeshian (Iowa) 9.850
9. Melissa Miller (Iowa) 9.650
11. Rebecca Simbhudas (Iowa) 9.375
14. Kaitlynn Urano (Iowa) 9.225
16. Annie Szatkowski (Iowa) 8.675

Floor Exercise
1. Rebecca Simbhudas (Iowa) 9.825
3. Jessa Hansen (Iowa) 9.775
T10. Jenny Donar (Iowa) 9.575
T10. Melissa Miller (Iowa) 9.575
16. Rachel Corcoran (Iowa) 9.125
T17. Houry Gebeshian (Iowa) 8.950

1. Jessa Hansen (Iowa) 39.025
5. Houry Gebeshian (Iowa) 38.375
6. Rebecca Simbhudas (Iowa) 38.300