GymHawks to Compete in Norman Regional

April 2, 2013

Complete Release

The University of Iowa women’s gymnastics team has been selected to compete in NCAA Regional competition for the sixth-straight year under head coach Larissa Libby. The GymHawks were one of just 36 teams to receive an invitation to regional competition at one of six different sites. Iowa will join No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 11 Stanford, No. 14 Penn State, No. 22 Washington and Southern Utah in the Norman, Okla., Regional. Competition will begin at 4 p.m. (CT) on Saturday in the Lloyd Noble Center.

This year marks Iowa’s sixth-consecutive NCAA postseason appearance and the 13th in program history. Libby has led Iowa to seven NCAA postseason appearances in nine seasons. Iowa posted a 194.600 and finished fifth at the Seattle Regional last year. The Hawkeyes have advanced to the NCAA National Championships twice as a team in 2003 and 2004, while five student-athletes have advanced individually. Most recently, Rebecca Simbhudas and Houry Gebeshian advanced as all-arounders in 2011. Simbhudas also qualified in 2010, earning All-America honors on beam. She is one of three GymHawks to be honored as an All-American.

The GymHawks scored 193.400 for eighth place at the Big Ten Championships on Saturday, March 23. Freshman Kyra Trowbridge led Iowa on beam (9.675), floor (9.900) and vault (9.825). Trowbridge matched her career-best on floor for the fifth time this season, tying for sixth place on the event. Senior Emma Stevenson tied for eighth place on bars, earning 9.875.

Nebraska won its second Big Ten title with a score of 197.800. Michigan earned second (197.225), followed by Minnesota (196.775), Illinois (196.475), Ohio State (195.950), Penn State (195.825) and Michigan State (195.450). Nebraska junior Emily Wong won the all-around title with 39.725.

The Hawkeyes rank seventh in the conference (195.600 RQS). In the Big Ten all-around, sophomore Emma Willis improved to 11th (39.015 RQS). Michigan leads the conference on vault (49.435 RQS), bars (49.370 RQS) and floor (49.450 RQS), while Nebraska ranks No. 1 in the Big Ten on beam (49.225 RQS).

The Big Ten produced four of the nation’s top ten all-arounders (No. 4 Nebraska junior Emily Wong, No. 5 Michigan junior Joanna Sampson, No. 8 Nebraska sophomore Jessie DeZiel and No. 9 Penn State senior Sharaya Musser). Additionally, six of the eight Big Ten teams are nationally-ranked in the top 25 (No. 5 Michigan, No. 8 Nebraska, No. 12 Minnesota, No. 14 Penn State, No 17 Illinois and No. 20 Ohio State). Seven league teams qualified to the 2013 NCAA Regional Championships.

This season, Iowa recorded its highest-ever average home attendance (1,414), with a season-high 2,303 in attendance against Iowa State (3/8). In 2012, the GymHawks drew an average of 940 fans. Before 2013, Iowa’s record was an average of 1,307 fans in 2001.

Four GymHawks, sophomore Sydney Hoerr, senior Emma Stevenson, senior Kaitlynn Urano and sophomore Emma Willis, were named to the 2013 Big Ten Winter Academic All-Conference team. To be eligible for academic All-Big Ten honors, student-athletes must be letterwinners and in at least their second academic year at the institution. They must also carry a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better. Stevenson and Urano are three-time Academic All-Big Ten selections.

For 11-consecutive weeks, Iowa has been nationally-ranked in the top 25 on bars and floor. Currently, Iowa is 16th on bars (49.115 RQS) and 21st on floor (49.140 RQS). Sophomore Emma Willis leads Iowa in the all-around, ranking 58th (39.015 RQS). Freshman Kyra Trowbridge is tied for 48th on floor (9.888 RQS) with West Virginia senior Alaska Richardson and Michigan junior Reema Zakharia.

Freshman Maryah Huntley made her collegiate debut on floor at the Big Ten Championships, earning 9.800. Huntley, a former UI cheerleader, learned her floor routine less than a week prior to competition and anchored Iowa’s lineup. Before attending Iowa, the Van Meter, Iowa, native placed seventh in the all-around at the 2010 Region IV Championships and qualified to the 2010 Junior Olympic Nationals. Additionally, Huntley qualified to the 2007 and 2008 Level 9 Western National Championships, placing 11th in the all-around in 2008.

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).

HEAD COACH Larissa Libby:
Libby has led Iowa to seven NCAA postseason appearances in nine seasons. 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.

The top two teams, event winners and top two all-around competitors not on an advancing team will qualify to the national championships in Los Angeles, Calif., on April 19-21, hosted by UCLA.

Web Address:

Gainesville, Fla.
1. Florida (No. 1, 197.840 RQS)
2. Minnesota (No. 12, 196.615 RQS)
3. Auburn (No. 12, 196.615 RQS)
4. Maryland (No. 24, 195.810 RQS)
5. Bridgeport (195.485 RQS)
6. Pittsburgh (195.065 RQS)

Norman, Okla.
1. Oklahoma (No. 2, 197.570 RQS)
2. Stanford (No. 11, 196.710 RQS)
3. Penn State (No. 14 196.500 RQS)
4. Washington (No. 22, 195.965 RQS)
5. Iowa (195.600 RQS)
6. Southern Utah (195.145 RQS)

Tuscaloosa, Ala.
1. Alabama (No. 3, 197.415 RQS)
2. Utah (No. 9, 197.105 RQS)
3. Denver (No. 15, 196.470 RQS)
4. Kent State (No. 23, 195.815 RQS)
5. Brigham Young (195.365 RQS)
6. Iowa State (195.105 RQS)

Corvallis, Ore.
1. Georgia (No. 4, 197.260 RQS)
2. Oregon State (No. 10, 196.900 RQS)
3. Arkansas (No. 16, 196.435 RQS)
4. Boise State (No. 21, 195.970 RQS)
5. Arizona State (195.495 RQS)
6. California (195.340 RQS)

Morgantown, W. Va.
1. Michigan (No. 5, 197.235 RQS)
2. Nebraska (No. 8, 197.145 RQS)
3. Illinois (No. 17, 196.210 RQS)
4. Kentucky (No. 19, 196.060 RQS)
5. West Virginia (195.780 RQS)
6. North Carolina (195.200 RQS)

Columbus, Ohio
1. UCLA (No. 6, 197.200 RQS)
2. LSU (No. 7, 197.180 RQS)
3. Arizona (No. 18, RQS)
4. Ohio State (No. 20, 196.090 RQS)
5. Central Michigan (195.810 RQS)
6. North Carolina State (195.350 RQS)