Jan. 30, 2010
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IOWA CITY, IA – The University of Iowa women’s gymnastics team fell to No. 25 Illinois in Carver-Hawkeye Arena Saturday evening. The Hawkeyes finished with a team score of 192.950, shy of the Fighting Illini’s 195.225. Junior Rebecca Simbhudas shined for the GymHawks, finishing in at least a tie for first in every event.
“Rebecca had a very good meet and I was extremely please with her performance,” said Iowa Head Coach Larissa Libby. “She’s been working hard trying to get herself back under control and it definitely showed tonight.”
The Hawkeyes began the night on vault where they scored a 48.200, behind Illinois’ 48.650. Simbhudas won the event with an impressive 9.850. Junior Houry Gebeshian tied for third with a score of 9.750.
The Simbhudas-Gebeshian duo also anchored the GymHawks on bars. Simbhudas tied for first with a score of 9.850 while Gebeshian scored a 9.800 and placed fourth. Freshman Kaitlynn Urano set her career high on the event with a 9.650. The Hawkeyes finished bars with a team score of 47.750.
“I’ve been working really hard in practice and my main focus tonight was to bring all of that hard work to the competition,” said Simbhudas. “I can’t say that one event stuck out above the rest because I was happy with all of them. You will always have your ups and downs but it all came together tonight and I was really pleased.”
The Black and Gold scored a 48.525 on beam while the Fighting Illini received a 48.950. Simbhudas tied for first again with a score of 9.875 while Gebeshian placed sixth with a 9.725. Another career mark was set as junior Kelly Galau placed eighth with a 9.675.
“I think Kelly is doing a very good job for us,” said Libby. “With two appearances this year in the beam line up, an event that she’s not meant to do, she’s doing a phenomenal job.
Continuing this season’s trend, the injury bud struck again for the Hawkeyes and it came on floor exercise. Sophomore Rachel Corcoran went down mid-way through her routine with an injury to her left knee, still scoring a 9.200. Despite the bad luck, Iowa scored a 48.475, short of Illinois” 48.700. Simbhudas tied for first with a score of 9.825 while sophomore Jessa Hansen scored a 9.775 and placed third.
“Everybody is aware when someone on the team is injured but we let it lie,” said Libby. “We leave it on the floor, go back to the gym and work as usual. We just keep moving on and the next person steps in. It would drive us crazy if we felt sorry for ourselves. Yes, it’s disappointing but as long as we have five kids on each event, we’ll keep going. You just have to give credit to all of our kids for continuing to move forward.”
“My kids don’t know any better than to keep fighting,” added Libby. “That’s what they were taught to do and that’s what we’ll continue to do. We’ll go back to the gym like we always do. We’ll figure out what things we can fix, who can fill in the gaps and we’ll go from there.”
The Hawkeyes return to action Feb. 6 to host another Big Ten opponent, the Ohio State Buckeyes. Competition will take place in Carver-Hawkeye Arena and is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. (CT).