March 14, 2011
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The University of Iowa women’s gymnastics team will begin postseason action at the 2011 Big Ten Championship Saturday, March 19. The University of Minnesota will host the conference event at the Sports Pavilion in Minneapolis, MN. Competition is scheduled to begin at 2:00 p.m. (CT).
Tickets for the Big Ten Championships are available through the University of Minnesota ticket office. Visit mygophersports.com or call 1-800-UGOPHER. Doors open to the Sports Pavilion Friday, March 18 with an open practice beginning at 1 p.m. (CT). Doors open for Saturday’s championship at 12:30 p.m. (CT).
Six Big Ten teams appear in the latest top-25 GymInfo rankings at troester.com. The Hawkeyes are ranked No. 14 with a regional qualifying score of 195.820. Ninth-ranked Michigan (196.320) tops the conference while Penn State (196.045) takes the No. 10 spot. Ohio State (195.800) and Illinois (195.790) are ranked 15th and 16th, respectively, while Minnesota (195.255) is ranked No. 21. Senior Rebecca Simbhudas and junior Jessa Hansen are both ranked among the top-25 individual all-around competitors in the nation. Simbhudas is ranked No. 11 with a regional qualifying score of 39.355 while Hansen (39.165) is No. 23.
Last Time Out
The GymHawks capped off their regular season with a first place finish on the road over Southern Utah and Utah State. Iowa posted a season high of 196.450 as senior Rebecca Simbhudas won her seventh-consecutive all-around title (39.375). Simbhudas also tied for first on beam while junior Jessa Hansen (floor), freshman Maya Wickus (vault) and senior Houry Gebeshian (bars) all won individual event titles.
2010 Big Ten Championship
The 2010 GymHawks made a statement with a third place finish in last year’s Big Ten Championships. The Black and Gold posted a score of 195.575 while Michigan (196.900) took home the crown and Penn State (196.525) placed second. Gebeshian won the tile on beam with a career performance of 9.950. Simbhudas took fourth in the all-around (39.325) as Gebeshian tied for fifth (39.275). Simbhudas was named first team all-Big Ten while Gebeshian and Hansen were both second team honorees.
Head Coach Larissa Libby
In her seventh season at Iowa, Larissa Libby has a career record of 55-64-1. 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 look to extend their postseason at NCAA Regional competition. After all conference championships are complete, 36 teams in Division I women’s gymnastics will be selected to compete throughout six different regional sites, fighting for a berth in the NCAA Championship. Regional competitions will be held April 2.