GymHawks Upset Denver, 196.350-196.200

Feb. 11, 2011

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IOWA CITY, Iowa – The University of Iowa women’s gymnastics team upset No. 20 Denver, 196.350-196.200, in a thriller at the UI Field House Friday evening. With nearly 20 season-best performances and 13 individual routines that at least tied career marks, the 23rd-ranked Hawkeyes remain flawless at home. The GymHawks, 4-4 on the season, posted a season high team score as well as season bests in three events.

“196 was the score we were looking for,” Head Coach Larissa Libby said. “We are a little bit ahead of pace, considering where we were last year around this time. Tonight was a huge confidence builder heading into the back half of the season.”

Senior Rebecca Simbhudas took home at least a share of the title in three events and won the all-around competition with a career high of 39.525. Junior Jessa Hansen also had a career performance in the all-around (39.425) and finished second. Senior Houry Gebeshian set season marks in three events, including the all-around. The Newton, MA, native posted a 39.250 and finished fifth in the all-around.

Iowa began the evening on vault where they topped the Pioneers, 49.250-49.175. Five of Iowa’s six competitors on the event at least tied their season best. Gebeshian took home a share of the title with a career high of 9.925. Simbhudas’ season high of 9.875 earned her third place. With another career high, one of three on the night, Hansen tied for fourth with a 9.850. Freshman Maya Wickus tied for sixth as she improved her season high to 9.825.

In one of the closest events of the night, Iowa beat Denver on bars, 49.075-49.050. Simbhudas was part of a three-way tie for first place with a 9.875. Gebeshian and Hansen tied for fourth, each posting a 9.825. Freshman Tesla Cox and sophomore Emma Stevenson each scored a 9.775 and tied for sixth. It was a season high for Cox.

In their only loss of the night, the GymHawks fell to Denver on beam, 48.950-48.975. Simbhudas won the event with a 9.900, tying her career best. Hansen placed second with a 9.875 while Cox finished tied for fifth with a 9.775, a career high for both student-athletes. Additionally, senior Arielle Sucich posted a career performance of 9.675 and placed 10th.

The Hawkeyes finished the meet strong on floor, beating the Pioneers 49.075-49.000. Simbhudas and Hansen each posted scores of 9.875 to share the title on floor exercise. Simbhudas’ performance tied a career best for her in the event. Stevenson tied for fifth with a career high of 9.800 while Gebeshian turned in a 9.775 to tie for seventh. Cox’s score of 9.750 was good for ninth place. The Mauldin, SC, native set career marks in all three events she competed in.

In a quick turnaround, the GymHawks will host Wisconsin-Stout Sunday, Feb. 13. The meet will be held in the UI Field House and is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. (CT). Fans can follow the action live from the Official Iowa Gymnastics Blog at

“We will come into the gym tomorrow (Saturday) and keep their brains on gymnastics,” Libby said. “We will make sure they are up and training tomorrow and get here a little bit early Sunday for a 2 p.m. start. We will start again Sunday going after 24-for-24.”