Jan. 11, 2011
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The University of Iowa women’s gymnastics team will travel to Minneapolis, MN, for a Big Ten matchup against the Minnesota Gophers Jan. 15. Competition is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. (CT) inside the Sports Pavilion.
The Hawkeyes were left out of the Troester.com preseason national rankings, but jumped to No. 18 after week one. The Big Ten is well-represented, with five squads in the top-25, including Michigan (No. 3), Ohio State (No. 15), Minnesota (No. 17), Iowa (No. 18) and Illinois (No. 21).
In Big Ten standings, Hawkeye senior Rebecca Simbhudas shares the top spot in individual floor rankings, with Michigan sophomore Natalie Beilstein. Both student-athletes recorded scores of 9.875 on floor in their season opener.
Scouting the Hawkeyes
In an impressive season debut, the Hawkeyes finished second at Michigan State (Jan. 7). Along with Iowa, the Spartans hosted Michigan and Western Michigan in Jenison Field House. The Hawkeyes scored a team total of 193.825, while Michigan won the meet with a score of 195.700. Junior Jessa Hansen led the Black and Gold with a third place finish in the all-around, posting a 39.150. Simbhudas took home a share of the title on floor with a score of 9.875.
Scouting the Opponents
No. 17 Minnesota began its season with a 193.925-194.475 loss on the road to Ohio State. The Gophers were led by senior Kristin Furukawa and freshman Kayla Slechta. Furukawa tied for first on bars while Slechta won the title on vault. Minnesota’s top scorer was a freshman in three of four events.
Head Coach Larissa Libby
In her seventh season at Iowa, Larissa Libby has a career record of 54-63-1. Libby coached the 2010 GymHawks to a third place finish at the Big Ten Championships, their best finish in six years, as well as their fourth regional appearance in six seasons. She was named North Central Region Coach of the Year in 2009 for her efforts in guiding the GymHawks to a 10-5 record and a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Regionals. She was also named co-Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2008. Libby served as associate head coach in 2004 and assistant coach from 2001-03 at Iowa before being named head coach in 2005.
The Hawkeyes will host the Michigan Wolverines in their home opener Jan. 22. The meet is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. (CT) at the UI Field House.