Jan. 9, 2012
The University of Iowa women’s gymnastics team will open its home season with a Big Ten matchup against Michigan State Friday, Jan. 13. The 25th-ranked Hawkeyes will host the Spartans in Carver-Hawkeye Arena beginning at 7 p.m. (CT).
A member of the Iowa gymnastics staff will offer interactive content live from Carver-Hawkeye Arena via the Official Iowa Gymnastics Blog. This feature gives diehard Hawkeye fans the opportunity to voice their opinion by submitting questions and comments, while receiving up-to-the-minute play-by-play, notes and stats about the meet and Hawkeyes. The live blog will begin at approximately 6:45 p.m. (CT) and run throughout the meet.
Last Time Out
The GymHawks are coming off a fourth place finish at the Cancun Classic Jan. 6. The Classic featured five progams all ranked inside the nation’s top-25. Iowa posted a team score of 193.875 to top No. 12 Louisiana State.
Big Ten Honors
After an impressive performance at the Cancun Classic, Emma Willis was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week. In her collegiate debut, the Sarnia, Ontario, native posted a mark of 38.950 to finish eighth. She also paced Iowa on vault (9.800) and floor (9.775), finishing T10th and T7 respectively.
The Spartans are 0-1 on the season after a 193.175-191.875 loss to No. 16 Washington on Jan. 6. Sophomore Taira Neal earned MSU’s highest finish with a first place performance on vault (9.850). Sophomore Dani Levy led the Spartans in the all-around competition, finishing fourth with a score of 38.000.
Head Coach Larissa Libby
In her eighth season at Iowa, Libby has a career record of 64-71-1. The Hawkeyes are searching for their fifth consecutive NCAA postseason appearance, the sixth in Libby’s tenure. She coached the 2011 GymHawks to an 11-6 record and sixth place finish at the Big Ten Championships, this coming after a third place finish in 2010, their best finish in six years. Libby coached three all-Big Ten selections in 2011 – Rebecca Simbhudas, Houry Gebeshian and Jessa Hansen. Libby 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.