GymHawks Begin Postseason Action

March 20, 2013

Complete Release

The University of Iowa women’s gymnastics team will travel to East Lansing, Mich. to compete at the Big Ten Championships on Saturday. There will be two sessions, with four teams competing in each session based on RQS. The teams with the four lowest RQS scores will compete at 12 p.m. (CT), while the four teams with the highest RQS will compete at 5 p.m. (CT). Iowa will compete in the first session with No. 18 Illinois, No. 20 Ohio State and Michigan State. No. 4 Michigan, No. 9 Nebraska, No. 14 Minnesota and No. 14 Penn State will perform in the second session. Both sessions will be shown live on the Big Ten Network. Lisa Byington and Kylee Kolarik will call the action.

The GymHawks scored 195.025 in the quad-meet last Friday, earning second place. Southern Utah won the meet (196.200), while San Jose State finished third (194.250), and Ball State placed fourth (193.575). Iowa earned the top scores on vault (49.050) and bars (49.325), with sophomore Emma Willis winning the vault (9.875) and sophomore Sydney Hoerr winning bars (9.925). Hoerr and Willis tied for second in the all-around (39.150), while freshman Alie Glover placed sixth (38.850). Southern Utah senior Caitlin Kennedy won the all-around title, scoring a career-high 39.275.

The Hawkeyes are ranked seventh in the conference (195.600 RQS). In the Big Ten all-around, sophomore Emma Willis improved to 11th (39.015 RQS). Six of the eight Big Ten teams (No. 4 Michigan, No. 9 Nebraska, No. 14 Minnesota/Penn State, No. 18 Illinois and No. 20 Ohio State) are nationally-ranked in the GymInfo Top 25. Michigan leads the conference on vault (49.390 RQS), bars (49.355 RQS), floor (49.450 RQS) and is tied with Nebraska for the top spot on beam (49.185 RQS).

Minnesota (16-3, 6-1 Big Ten) and Michigan (17-1, 6-1 Big Ten) tie for the first-ever regular season title the conference has awarded. Iowa is the only Big Ten team to defeat the 14th-ranked Gophers this season. Iowa downed Minnesota, who was previously undefeated, 195.725-195.550 (2/23).

Iowa dropped out of the top-25 but improved its national ranking on bars (No. 19) and ranks 21st on floor. Sophomore Emma Willis leads Iowa in the all-around, ranking 55th (39.015 RQS). Freshman Kyra Trowbridge is tied for 40th on floor with Bridgeport freshman Sasha Tsikhanovich, Boise State junior Kelsey Black, Oklahoma junior Lara Albright, Michigan junior Reema Zakharia and Utah junior Nansy Damianova (9.880 RQS).

Alina Weinstein (ILL), Brittnee Martinez (MICH), Joanna Sampson (MICH), Sachi Sugiyama (MICH), Katie Zurales (MICH), Shannon Golich (MINN), Lindsay Mable (MINN), Kylie Schermann (MINN), Jessie DeZiel (NEB), Janelle Giblin (NEB), Jennifer Lauer (NEB), Emily Wong (NEB), Sarah Miller (OSU), Madison Merriam (PSU), Sharaya Musser (PSU)

Sunny Kato (ILL), Gianna O’Connor (ILL), Amber See (ILL), Natalie Beilstein (MICH), Shelby Gies (MICH), Taira Neal (MSU), Kayla Slechta (MINN), Brittany Skinner (NEB), Alyssa Marohn (OSU), Melanie Shaffer (OSU)

The majority of GymHawks are underclassmen, with eight freshmen, four sophomores, three seniors and no juniors. With senior Kaitlynn Urano out with a fractured tibia and fibula, 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. 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 (2/8). Glover captured the all-around title with a career-high 39.050, leading the Hawkeyes to a first-place finish (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 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). Last Friday (3/15) against Southern Utah, San Jose State and Ball State, Iowa scored 195.025 and earned its highest bars score of the season (49.325).

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 also 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.

After all conference championships are complete, the top-36 teams will be selected to compete throughout six different regional sites, fighting for a berth in the NCAA National Championship. The 2013 National Championship will be held April 19-21 at UCLA’s newly renovated Pauley Pavilion. The 2013 Regional Championships will be held April 6 at the following sites:

1. Tuscaloosa, Ala. (Coleman Coliseum)
2. Norman, Okla. (Lloyd Noble Center)
3. Corvallis, Ore. (Gill Coliseum)
4. Columbus, Ohio (St. John Arena)
5. Gainesville, Fla. (O’Connell Center)
6. Morgantown, W. Va. (WVU Coliseum)

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