GymHawks Finish Fifth At Columbia Regional

April 10, 2010

COLUMBIA, MO – The No. 30 University of Iowa women’s gymnastics team placed fifth at the NCAA Columbia Regional Championships with a team score of 194.900. This marks Iowa’s tenth trip to the NCAA Regional Championships and its fourth appearance in the last six years. No. 15 Missouri won the title with a score of 196.500, advancing them to the NCAA Championships with No. 8 Oregon State, who finished second with a score of 196.275.

The GymHawks began the meet on beam where they scored a 48.400. Rebecca Simbhudas led the squad with a score of 9.725 as the junior finished tied for 22nd place. Juniors Andrea Hurlburt and Houry Gebeshian, along with sophomore Melissa Miller, finished with scores of 9.700, earning them a tie for 24th place.

The Hawkeyes then moved to floor where they scored a 48.800. Sophomore Jessa Hansen stood out for the Black and Gold with a 9.850. The sophomore finished in a tie for fourth place. Gebeshian finished in a tie for 12th place after scoring a 9.825. Additionally, Simbhudas scored a 9.800 to finish tied for 17th.

Moving on to vault, Iowa scored a 48.925, their best performance in the event this season. Simbhudas led the team once again, tallying a 9.875 to finish in fifth place. Sophomore Annie Szatkowski finished tied for 13th after scoring a 9.800. Emma Stevenson tied two career marks Saturday evening, including her 9.525 on vault. The sophomore also tied a career best with her floor routine (9.750).

The GymHawks finished on bars where they scored a team total of 48.775. Simbhudas finished in a tie for third with a score of 9.850 while Gebeshian finished with a 9.800, good enough for a share of ninth place. Freshman Kaitlynn Urano finished in a tie for 22nd after scoring a 9.725.

Simbhudas was Iowa’s highest finisher in the all-around after scoring a 39.250, earning her fourth place. Gebeshian finished in a tie for fifth with a 39.100 while Hansen came in 16th with a 38.250.

Since the top three finishers in the all-around, Sarah Shire (Missouri, 39.625), Mandi Rodriguez (Oregon State, 39.300) and Danielle Guider (Missouri, 39.275), have already qualified for the NCAA Championships with their respective teams, the next two place winners will advance. Simbhudas’ fourth-place score of 39.250 earned her a trip to Gainesville, FL, for the NCAA Championships. Gebeshian was in a three-way tie for fifth, but two rounds of tie-breaking criterion left the Newton, MA, native out of the action.

“I’m really excited for Rebecca, but it’s like a double-edged sword,” said Head Coach Larissa Libby.” “It’s so upsetting for Houry, but I’m thrilled for Rebecca. Everything she has done this year is paying off and that’s pretty exciting stuff to watch.”

With a core group of young talent, Libby has a lot to look forward to as her squad moves forward.

“This will be the first time in a long while that we’ll go up in the rankings,” Libby said. “It’s exciting. The girls have worked all year long and never gave up. I’m excited for this team and its future. They had some really great gymnastics out there tonight and it was nice to see the fight. I’m ecstatic that they’re walking away having bettered themselves from our regional performance last year. That’s exactly what we asked them to do.”

The NCAA Championships will be held April 22 on the campus of the University of Florida. Check in to for future information on the championships.