Simbhudas Leads GymHawks With Three Individual Titles

Feb. 28, 2010

IOWA CITY, IA – The University of Iowa women’s gymnastics team fell Sunday afternoon, 194.625-194.200, to the University of Minnesota. Despite career marks from six different athletes throughout three different events, the Black and Gold weren’t able to top the Golden Gophers.

Iowa began the meet on vault where they were led by Rebecca Simbhudas. The junior won the event with a score of 9.850 while sophomore Annie Szatkowski (9.800) and junior Houry Gebeshian (9.775) placed second and third, respectively. The GymHawks’ strong start gave them a commanding, 48.750-47.950, win on vault.

The Hawkeyes then moved to bars where they scored a team total of 49.000, their best score of the meet. Freshman Emma Stevenson and sophomore Jordan Eszlinger led the Black and Gold with scores of 9.825. Both athletes finished in a tie for second and set career marks on the event. Sophomore Jessa Hansen also put together a career performance on bars as she tied her career high (9.800) and finished in a tie for sixth.

“We’ve been pushing really hard on bars since the Navy Pier meet,” said Libby. “It was great for the team to have that reinforcement from the hard work done in the gym.”

Iowa scored a 48.100 on beam as Simbhudas led the team with a first place finish and score of 9.850. Gebeshian scored a 9.825 and finished just behind her teammate. Additionally, sophomore Melissa Miller scored a 9.675 which tied a career high.

“I think everyone was a little pumped up after two great events and got ahead of themselves,” said Libby. “That’s the lesson to be learned, you need to stay positive while remaining grounded.”

Iowa finished the meet on floor where Simbhudas led her team as well as the competition. The Markham, Ontario native tied a career mark of 9.875 and won her third event of the day.

“Rebecca continues to turn in pretty amazing performances on three events,” said Head Coach Larissa Libby. “Ironically, bars is her best event and it’s the third time she’s fallen on bars, so we’ll have to go back to the gym and work on some things. With that said, I was really pleased with her other two events following her bar routine.”

Jenny Donar also came up big for the GymHawks with a second place finish and a score of 9.850, a career high for the senior.

“What a fabulous night for Jenny,” said Libby. “She’s done well for us all along. It was her last time competing in the Field House and what a great way for her to finish that off.”

Despite her three individual wins, Simbhudas (38.900) was edged out of the all-around victory by Minnesota’s Lucy Ennis (39.100). Simbhudas placed second while Hansen finished in fifth with a score of 38.075.

“Ultimately, I want to make that 195.00 mark, and you need to stick 24 events of 24 to do that.” added Libby. “They’re fully capable, but they need to decide that they’ll be successful before they ever get there. It’ll take a good week of practice, but I know they’ll be haunted by a loss at home and I think that’s what will drive them to work harder in the gym.”

Iowa will hit the road March 5 when they travel to Ames, IA, to take on the Cyclones. Competition will be held at Hilton Coliseum and is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. (CT).

Final Results