Jan. 9, 2013
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Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The 2013 University of Iowa women’s gymnastics season is upon us, and the GymHawks could not be more excited to get started.
Iowa opens the campaign Friday night inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena, hosting Ball State at 7 p.m. (CT). After months of training, the Hawkeyes are ready to get true competition underway.
“We have been ready for a long time,” said UI head coach Larissa Libby, who is looking to guide Iowa to its sixth-straight NCAA postseason appearance, the seventh in her tenure. “They are chomping at the bit right now. The team is ready to see something different than training.”
The Hawkeyes held an intrasquad last Saturday. The team knows where it is at, and where it needs to be, heading into the opener.
“It was OK,” said Libby about the intrasquad. “As a coaching staff, it was what we expected considering we had time off. Now that we had the intrasquad, they are not training aimlessly and there is direction. They know what they need to work on.”
“We have been ready for a long time. They are chomping at the bit right now. The team is ready to see something different than training.”
UI head coach Larissa Libby
The potential for this team is there.
“If I was happy with where we are currently, that would mean we were settling,” said the ninth-year head coach. “So, no, I am not happy with where we are because our potential for what we are capable of, is far better.”
Progress has been made during training, despite a challenging schedule that included first semester finals followed by winter break. After the break, the Hawkeyes began training again on Dec. 27 in preparation for the season.
“It is always strange timing,” said Libby. “Black and Gold (Intrasquad) was OK. I thought after Black and Gold, training was a lot better, and then we went away. They did a tremendous job training through finals, because we cannot mandate that they are in the gym. They were all in the gym. We were very impressed with the level of work ethic during a time that was extremely stressful.
“It is difficult to keep up the same training schedule over the holidays. We try to look at the advantages of that: rest, relaxation and recovery. They came back in very good shape, we went straight to work on the first day, and they were ready.
“Mentally, the shift has been made. They are ready to do what needs to be done.”
The goal for Friday, and throughout the season, is clear.
“We plan on going in and winning,” said Libby. “There is no grey area. The objective is to win against every team you face; to get the highest score we can. Everything we are doing right now for the next few days, until 2013 starts for us… that is the goal.”
Friday night’s season opener is Elementary Night. Free schedule posters and key tags will be given out, in addition to t-shirts to the first 250 fans. The Hawkeyes are excited to be at home.
“Being at home, with the very young team that we have, is a good thing,” said Libby. “The comfort of being at home, in an arena that they are used to, will be a plus. They will do a great job.
“It will be exciting, and it will be a great way for this team to start out.”
Fans interested in attending home meets at Carver-Hawkeye Arena should visit hawkeyesports.com or contact the UI Athletics Ticket Office at 1-800 IA-HAWKS for season tickets.