Feb. 26, 2013
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- 24 Hawkeyes to Watch
Editor’s note: 24 Hawkeyes to Watch is a feature released Monday, Aug. 6, highlighting one athlete from each of the 24 intercollegiate sports offered by the University of Iowa. More than 700 talented student-athletes are currently busy preparing for the 2012-13 athletics year at the UI. Hawkeyesports.com will introduce you to 24 Hawkeyes who, for one reason or another, are poised to play a prominent role in the intercollegiate athletics program at the UI in the coming year.
By JESSA HANSEN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Emma Stevenson, a senior on the University of Iowa women’s gymnastics team, is the go-to girl, and she is comfortable with that. No matter the condition, Stevenson reels in big scores and radiates a calm, quiet confidence. After four surgeries and overcoming major injuries, Stevenson credits her success to mental strength and perseverance.
“Never give up,” said Stevenson. “Bad days come and go, but in the end they are just funny memories that you look back on. Just because you have setbacks, a tough preseason or a couple injuries, doesn’t mean that you’re out for the count.”
From the time she stepped on the competition floor, Stevenson made it known that she would be a reliable team player.
“During my touch warm-up freshman year, Larissa put me in the floor lineup last minute,” said Stevenson. “She asked, `Can I count on you?’ I felt incredibly nervous because it was my collegiate debut on floor, but I said yes. From then on, I knew that I was counted on and had to be prepared no matter what. I knew I had to have confidence, regardless of how practice or warm-ups went because all of my training has prepared me for this.”
“I would love to make it to the NCAA Championships, and I think this team is capable. We are a small, tight-knit group, and that is how we do the best. I also want to repeat a top-three finish at Big Ten’s. Conference competition is very close, so it will be anyone’s day.”
Senior Emma Stevenson
Stevenson had a standout year in 2012. She competed on three events and was named to the All-Big Ten Championship Team after scoring a 9.875 on the floor exercise. However, Stevenson, a true team player, says that her most memorable moment as a Hawkeye was standing on the Big Ten podium with her team in 2010.
“I’ll never forget the 2010 Big Ten Championships — the energy, the excitement and everything that went along with it,” said Stevenson. “Nobody thought we would be near the top going into the meet, but we hit, hit, hit and showed that we were contenders. We placed third, and it was such an accomplishment to stand on the Big Ten podium. I hope we can relive that feeling this season.”
Stevenson has accomplished a lot during her collegiate career, but the 2013 season is just starting. The senior wants to regain her spot on the All-Big Ten Championship Team and be named to the All-Big Ten team, but her focus is on her Hawkeye team.
“I would love to make it to the NCAA Championships, and I think this team is capable,” said Stevenson. “We are a small, tight-knit group, and that is how we do the best. I also want to repeat a top-three finish at Big Ten’s. Conference competition is very close, so it will be anyone’s day.”
In addition to athletics, Stevenson is working on pursuing her professional career. The integrative physiology major aspires to become a physical therapist and help other athletes achieve success in their respective sport.
“I’ve had so much first-hand experience in college,” said Stevenson. “Going through therapy and watching all of my teammates go through the therapy has showed me what it takes to come back to sports successfully. I’m excited to see the other side of it next year, but I’m focused on finishing the season well first.”
Stevenson still has a lot to prove in 2013, but one thing is certain: never count Stevenson out. She is always raising the standard and working toward the next goal.
“I want to show how hard work and perseverance pays off,” said Stevenson. “That’s the legacy I want to leave behind. I’m really excited to have this last year to show what I’ve got and what this team has got. I want to walk out of here with no regrets.”
Next week, the Hawkeyes travel to Lincoln, Neb., to take on the ninth-ranked Huskers on Monday, March 4. Action is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. (CT) in the Bob Devaney Sports Center.