GymHawks Travel to Southern Utah

March 13, 2013

Complete Release

The 25th-ranked University of Iowa women’s gymnastics team will travel to Cedar City, Utah to take on Southern Utah, San Jose State and Ball State on Friday. Action is slated to start at 8 p.m. (CT) in Centum Arena.

Iowa downed Iowa State, 196.375-194.575, on Senior Night last Friday to clinch the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series. The Hawkeyes performed without senior Kaitlynn Urano, who suffered a broken tibia and fibula in practice on Thursday. With a season-high attendance mark (2,303), Iowa rallied to conclude its homestand undefeated. Sophomore Sydney Hoerr captured the all-around title with a career-best 39.400. Sophomore Emma Willis finished second (39.275), and freshman Alie Glover placed third (38.975). The GymHawks earned a season-high 49.275 on the vault to start the meet, and topped the Cyclones on all four events.

Southern Utah fell to Brigham Young, 195.875-195.425, in Centrum Arena last Friday. Senior Michaela Chernoch finished second in the all-around (39.200), marking her fourth time to surpass 39 this season. Freshman Arlyn Amor tied for first on the bars, while freshman Natalie Trejo earned second on the beam and floor with a pair of 9.825s.

San Jose State hit 24 for 24 routines last Friday for the first time this season in its 195.575 win over UC Davis (194.500), Seattle Pacific (191.725) and Boise State (195.425). The Spartans earned season-high team scores on the beam (48.925) and floor (49.300) and upset 23rd-ranked Boise State. Junior Boise State transfer Beka Gher won the all-around with 39.200.

Ball State scored 193.500 last Saturday to defeat UIC (192.625), but the Cardinals could not overcome 17th-ranked Illinois (196.300). Freshman Denasiha Christian tied for third on floor with a 9.875, which marked Ball State’s top finish in the tri-meet. Senior Brittney Emmons placed sixth in the all-around, posting 38.775. Iowa defeated Ball State in its season opener, 193.375-193.125.

The Hawkeyes are ranked seventh in the conference (195.600 RQS). In the Big Ten all-around, freshman Alie Glover ranks 12th (38.915 RQS), while sophomores Emma Willis and Sydney Hoerr rank 13th (38.795 RQS) and 14th (38.790), respectively. Seven of the eight Big Ten teams (No. 3 Michigan, No. 11 Nebraska, No. 14 Minnesota, No. 16 Penn State, No. 17 Illinois, No. 20 Ohio State and No. 25 Iowa) are nationally-ranked in the GymInfo Top 25. Michigan leads the conference on all events: vault (49.340 RQS), bars (49.355 RQS), beam (49.185 RQS) and floor (49.450 RQS).

Iowa found its way back into the top-25 after scoring 196.375 against Iowa State. The 25th-ranked Hawkeyes are also nationally ranked on the bars (No. 21) and floor (No. 19). Freshman Alie Glover leads Iowa in the all-around at No. 53 (38.915 RQS). Senior Emma Stevenson and freshman Kyra Trowbridge are tied for 42nd on the floor with Penn State senior Sharaya Musser, Pittsburgh freshman Lindsey Offutt and Bridgeport freshman Sasha Tsikhanovich (9.870 RQS).

Freshman Maryah Huntley, a former UI cheerleader, officially joined the University of Iowa gymnastics team last week. Huntley retired from gymnastics in 2011 due to a back injury, but she started training on the beam and floor in January and exhibitioned on the beam against Iowa State (3/8), scoring 9.550. The Van Meter, Iowa, native qualified to the 2010 Junior Olympic Nationals after placing seventh in the all-around at the 2010 Region IV Championship. Huntley trained at Chow’s Gymnastics and Dance Institute in Wes Des Moines, the same club as former GymHawk Jessa Hansen and Olympic gold medalists Gabrielle Douglas and Shawn Johnson.

Sophomore Jessica Morreale, a key performer on beam and vault, will be out for the remainder of the season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus. Morreale won the beam title vs. Michigan State and Illinois-Chicago with a career-best 9.875. Senior Kaitlynn Urano broke her fibula and tibia in practice (3/7) and will not compete for the remainder of the season. The Mission, B.C. Canada native is Iowa’s top beam scorer (9.765 RQS), earning a career-best 9.800 on the beam against Penn State (1/19) and Michigan (1/26).

The majority of GymHawks are underclassmen, with eight freshmen, four sophomores, three seniors and no juniors. With senior Kaitlynn Urano out, 20 of Iowa’s 24 routines are contributed by underclassmen. Freshman Alie Glover is the only Hawkeye to compete on four events in every competition. She is ranked 53rd nationally in the all-around. Glover was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Feb. 11 for her outstanding performance in the tri-meet against Michigan State and Illinois-Chicago on Feb. 8. Glover captured the all-around title with a career-high 39.050, leading the Hawkeyes to a first-place finish and season-best performance (195.875).

The rankings switched over from the scoring average to Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) on Monday, Feb 25. The RQS is calculated by taking the team’s top six scores, three of which must be from road meets. The highest score is dropped, and the remaining five are averaged. In the Big Ten, the top four teams with the highest RQS scores will compete in the evening session (6 p.m.) of the Big Ten Championships, while the bottom four will compete in the afternoon session (12 p.m.). Nationally, teams with the top-18 Regional Qualifying Scores will be seeded for the NCAA Regional Championships.

The next gymnastics competition scheduled to be shown on the Big Ten Network is the Big Ten Championships (Mar. 23). The Hawkeyes appeared on BTN on Feb. 23, in their dual meet vs. Minnesota. Iowa won, 195.725-195.550.

The Hawkeyes have increased their team score dramatically since scoring a 193.375 in the home opener against Ball State (1/11). Iowa tallied a 194.200 at Ohio State (1/19), before finding the 195 range at Penn State (1/26) with a 195.325, and at Michigan (2/2) with a 195.200. The Hawkeyes earned 195.875 against Michigan State and Illinois-Chicago (2/8). Iowa matched its then season-best (195.875) against Illinois (2/16) and downed undefeated Minnesota, upsetting the 12th-ranked Gophers, 195.725-195.550 (2/22). Despite the 197.675-194.950 loss at Nebraska (3/4), Iowa’s 194.950 result will allow the Hawkeyes to drop their 194.200 at Ohio State and increase their Regional Qualifying Score. Iowa broke into the 196 range in its win over Iowa State (196.375-194.575), clinching the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series (3/8).

HEAD COACH Larissa Libby:
Entering her ninth year as head coach of the Hawkeyes, Libby has her eyes set on a sixth-consecutive NCAA postseason appearance, the seventh in her tenure. In 2012, the Hawkeyes finished the season ranked 26th nationally, the highest finish since 2004. Libby coached Emma Stevenson to the Big Ten All-Championship Team. The Hawkeyes hosted the Big Ten Championships, drawing a season-high attendance figure of 1,661. Stevenson scored a 9.875 on the floor exercise, and Iowa finished seventh as a team. Libby led the Hawkeyes to a fifth-consecutive NCAA postseason appearance. Iowa posted 194.600 and finished fifth at the Seattle Regional.

The GymHawks will return to action on Saturday, March 23, to compete at the Big Ten Championships in East Lansing, Mich. The competition is scheduled to start at 12 p.m. (CT) in Jenison Field House.