March 13, 2012
The University of Iowa women’s gymnastics team travels to Denver, Colo., on March 17 for a final tune-up before hosting the 2012 Big Ten Championships. Along with the GymHawks, Denver University will host Minnesota and Arizona State. Competition will be held inside Hamilton Gymnasium and is slated to begin at 6 p.m. (CT).
Iowa team manager Nicole Pineau will offer interactive content live from Hamilton Gymnasium via the Official Iowa Gymnastics Blog. This feature gives 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 the Hawkeyes. The live blog will begin at approximately 5:45 p.m. (CT) and run throughout the meet.
Last Time Out
The GymHawks posted one of their highest marks of the season (195.700) in a loss to Louisiana State on March 9. Senior Jessa Hansen finished the night by taking home event titles on beam (9.900) and floor (9.900), along with the all-around title (39.425). The performance on beam marked a career high for the Clive, Iowa, native while her score on floor stands as a season best.
Scouting The Competition
Denver is ranked 17th in the nation after a win over No. 8 Oregon State and Texas Women’s University on March 10. The Pioneers posted a team score of 196.725 as they swept every event except for bars. Sophomore Moriah Martin won the all-around title with a score of 39.400.
No. 19 Minnesota broke a two-meet losing streak with a win (196.125) over Iowa State on March 10. The Golden Gophers also swept the event titles, minus bars, as Dusti Russell earned a share of the all-around title.
Arizona State is looking for its first win since Feb. 3. The Sun Devils own a season record of 4-6 and are currently ranked seventh in the PAC 12.
Head Coach Larissa Libby
In her eighth season at Iowa, Libby has a career record of 65-72-2. 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 a 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 after 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.