March 20, 2012
The University of Iowa women’s gymnastics team is set to host the 2012 Big Ten Championships on March 24. The field of eight conference rivals will be split into two sessions of four teams apiece. The GymHawks will compete in the first session beginning at 1 p.m. (CT), with the second session beginning at six o’clock. Action will be held inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City. Both sessions will be televised on the BTN.
Iowa team manager Nicole Pineau will offer interactive content live from Carver-Hawkeye Arena 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 12:45 p.m. (CT) and run throughout the first session.
Last Time Out
The GymHawks closed their regular season with a trip to Denver, Colo., where they finished third (194.500) in a four-team meet hosted by Denver University on March 17. Minnesota (196.225) won the event as Denver (196.200) finished second and Arizona State (194.225) placed fourth.
Big Ten Competition
With eight women’s gymnastics programs in the conference, the Big Ten boasts six programs inside the nation’s top-25. In order of their conference standings (and national ranking), Saturday’s meet will feature Nebraska (6), Penn State (12), Ohio State (13), Minnesota (16), Michigan (21), Illinois (23), Iowa and Michigan State.
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.
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 7.