Feb. 6, 2016
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa women’s gymnastics team earned a season-high team score to defeat No. 14 Nebraska, 196.650- 196.350, inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena Saturday afternoon. The win marks the first time in 17 years that the Hawkeyes have topped the Cornhuskers.
“It is the perfect Hawkeye day,” said UI head coach Larissa Libby. “I don’t think today could have gone any better. We started out a little rough with a few details. We started early in the morning, and we were a little off our game. We had a few last minute changes in the lineup due to injuries, so it was a shaky start.
“I cannot tell you how amazing this team is. They never cease to amaze me with what they are capable of under the gun.”
Eight GymHawks earned a total of 14 top five finishes to highlight the competition. Leading the pack was junior Mollie Drenth, a preseason Big Ten Gymnast to Watch, who finished at the top of the podium on beam (9.925) and all-around (39.475), and finished second on vault (9.850) and bars (9.850).
Iowa started the night on vault, posting a season-high team score of 49.025. Drenth and sophomore Nikki Youd lead the GymHawks, posting season-high scores of 9.850 and 9.800 to earn second and fifth place overall, respectively. After the first rotation, Iowa led Nebraska 49.025-49.000.
After posting a 49.200 on bars to hold onto their lead, the Hawkeyes moved to beam. Drenth set the pace for Iowa once again, tallying a career-high 9.925 to earn first place overall. The junior’s score earned her a No. 3-ranking in the Iowa record books for highest individual performance on beam. Junior Angel Metcalf followed her teammate, posting a season-high 9.875 for second place overall.
Iowa’s team score stood at 147.375 entering the final rotation, while Nebraska stood at 147.225. The Hawkeyes closed the night on floor with a season-high team score of 49.275. Metcalf paced the squad with another second place result and a season-high score of 9.900.
Drenth took the all-around title for the third consecutive meet and the fifth time this season with a career-high score of 39.475. Metcalf earned a 39.350 in the all-around to finish third overall.
“Our mission is to be seen as legitimate contenders in the Big Ten and nationally,” said Libby. “It was so amazing to beat Nebraska, but more than that I know the whole world bet against us. For us, this win justifies all the work we are doing week in and week out. Everything is coming along nicely, and I hope people will start to take us seriously. These kids deserve it.”
The GymHawks travel to Champaign, Illinois, on Saturday, Feb. 13 to take on No. 19 Illinois. The meet is set for 4 p.m. (CT) inside Huff Hall.