Feb. 6, 2010
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IOWA CITY, IA – The University of Iowa women’s gymnastics team picked up a win over Ohio State, topping the Big Ten foe 194.925-193.025, in Carver-Hawkeye Arena Saturday night. Junior Rebecca Simbhudas led the Hawkeyes as she won her second straight all-around title with a final score of 39.275.
“This win feels awesome and I couldn’t be more proud,” said Head Coach Larissa Libby. “Not even because it’s a Big Ten win, but because we did what we intended to do. We were hard on the girls this week about mental toughness because that is what we were missing. Certainly our lineup is depleted, but it’s not so much physical as it is mental. We were making mental errors, but we had a good week of practice. We wanted them to come out and better themselves. Better themselves from the day before, the week before and the month before. We wanted them to understand that if you better yourself personally, it’ll better the team and they did exactly that tonight.”
Iowa’s dominating performance was reflected in the all-around scores as Hawkeyes took up the top three spots for the event. Junior Houry Gebeshian placed second in the event with a score of 39.200 while sophomore Jessa Hansen took third with a score of 39.000.
The Hawkeyes began the night on vault where they were led by Simbhudas. The Markham, Ontario native won the event with a score of 9.900, tying her career best. Iowa turned in a team total of 48.900 while the Buckeyes won the event with a score of 49.050, their best event of the night. Also tying a career mark on vault was Kelly Galau. Despite injuring her knee on the landing, the junior was able to stick her routine and finish in a tie for seventh with a score of 9.775.
“We asked the girls to address the fact that they could fail, realize it, let it go and go hard anyway,” said Libby. “We wanted them to throw caution to the win and compete aggressively in every event. I think the girls did that from the very beginning tonight and it showed.”
“We asked the girls to address the fact that they could fail, realize it, let it go and go hard anyway. We wanted them to throw caution to the win and compete aggressively in every event. I think the girls did that from the very beginning tonight and it showed.”
Iowa then moved to bars where they fell to the Buckeyes, 48.600-48.350. Simbhudas won the event with a score of 9.900 while Gebeshian tied for fourth with a score of 9.725.
In a dominating performance on beam, Iowa took the top six spots in the event as three Hawkeyes tied career marks. Hansen led the GymHawks with a first place finish and score of 9.850, tying her career best. Simbhudas and Gebeshian tied for second with scores of 9.825 while sophomore Annie Szatkowski matched a career score of 9.675 and placed fourth. Additionally, sophomore Mellissa Miller tied her career best with a score of 9.650, finishing in a tie for fifth with teammate and junior, Andrea Hurlburt.
“You have to give so much credit to Annie [Szatkowski],” said Libby. “She showed the team that at no point would it be a problem for her to step up. The team saw that, trusted her and it all worked out.”
Going into floor, the final event of the night, Iowa found themselves just 0.175 points behind Ohio State. With the Buckeyes competing on beam, the Hawkeyes were able to put together their second-best event of the night to seal a victory on floor as well as the meet.
“I think the best thing for us was not to know how close the meet was going into the final event,” said Libby. “The girls just did what they knew they were supposed to do. It was a nice surprise for them at the end that they came out on top, but the best thing from this meet is that, had we lost, it would have been a success, simply by accomplishing exactly what we intended to do.”
The Hawkeyes were led by Gebeshian who won the event with a score of 9.850, tying her career best. Hansen took second with a score of 9.825 while senior Jenny Donar tied her career best of 9.800 to finish third. Amy Center and Miller both set career bests of 9.600 as the sophomore duo tied for ninth place.
“They got tougher after every event, they continued to push and not give up on each other and that’s what we needed tonight,” said Libby. “We made a big jump, not just with points, but with what we’re capable of. I’m hopeful that it will just escalate from here because they now know what it feels like. They’ll go back and do the same thing, only to a higher level each time they return.”
The Hawkeyes return to action Feb. 12 when they travel to Chicago, IL, for the Navy Pier meet against Illinois, Denver and Nebraska. Competition is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. (CT).