Pair of GymHawks Aim for National Title

April 12, 2011

This Week
The University of Iowa women’s gymnastics team will be represented by a pair of seniors at the 2011 NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships April 15-17. Rebecca Simbhudas and Houry Gebeshian will compete as individual all-around competitors, vying for a national title beginning Friday at 11 a.m. (CT). Competition will be hosted by Kent State and take place in the Wolstein Center in Cleveland, Ohio.

Rebecca Simbhudas
Simbhudas, a native of Markham, Ontario, is a returning All-American from 2010. She is currently ranked ninth in the nation on beam and 13th in the all-around. With 23 event titles in 2011, Simbhudas recorded nine all-around titles, including a stretch of eight-straight. She was a first team all-Big Ten selection for the second-consecutive year and named North Central Region Gymnast of the Year. Simbhudas will be competing alongside No. 2 Alabama at the NCAA Championships.

Houry Gebeshian
Gebeshian is a native of Newton, Mass., and a four-year letterwinner for the GymHawks. Heading into her first trip to nationals, Gebeshian won six individual event titles this year, tied for second-most on the team with junior Jessa Hansen. Gebeshian, a returning Big Ten champion on beam, was named second-team all-Big Ten for the second time in her career. She will rotate with No. 3 Oregon State.

Regional Competition
The Hawkeyes finished fifth at the NCAA Corvallis Regional April 2, posting a team mark of 193.925. Simbhudas finished second (39.325) in the all-around as Gebeshian placed third with a season best of 39.300. The Hawkeyes have made a total of 11 regional appearances, earning a top-three seed four times. Head coach Larissa Libby has guided the GymHawks to five regional appearances in seven seasons, including each of the last four seasons. Assistant coaches Caleb Phillips and Linas Gaveika were named the 2011 North Central Region Assistant Coaches of the Year.

Head Coach Larissa Libby
In her seventh season at Iowa, 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.