Feb. 10, 2016
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Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide. To receive daily news from the Iowa Hawkeyes, sign up HERE.
BY MEGAN ROWLEY
IOWA CITY, Iowa — As the University of Iowa women’s gymnastics team enters the back half of the season, the team has its sights set on its eighth NCAA Regional berth in the last nine seasons. With postseason experience as an individual competitor, senior Alie Glover serves as a veteran for the Hawkeyes to look to for motivation.
Glover was one of six Iowa gymnasts selected for competition at the 2014 NCAA Regionals in Minneapolis. The Destin, Florida, native competed in the all-around, posting a 39.075 overall score and falling just short of qualifying for the NCAA Championships.
In 2015, Glover returned to the NCAA Auburn Regional with her team by her side. The senior led the GymHawks on beam, posting a season high score of 9.875 to finish ninth overall. Glover also paced the team on floor, placing 10th with a score of 9.800.
This year, Iowa and Carver-Hawkeye Arena will host 2016 NCAA Regional competition, beginning April 2 at 4 p.m. (CT). The Hawkeyes last hosted an NCAA Regional in 2009.
Glover recently sat down with hawkeyesports.com to reflect on her regional experiences and her goals for the remainder of the season.
Q: What was it like competing as an individual at the NCAA Regional in 2014?
A: “That experience was completely different than being with a team. It is always fun to go to regionals, but I would never choose to go over my team. It is a different atmosphere, and you are on your own. You are thrown in with a different team and while that team can be welcoming, it is nothing like being there with your own family. I would rather go with my team than go alone again.”
Q: After your individual experience, what was it like to share regionals with your team the following year?
A: “The energy was incredible. You come in after working the whole year for it and all you want to do is break that barrier and make it to nationals. It is motivating, fun, and brings everyone together. It was an incredible experience for everyone involved.”
Q: How did you feel when you found out the team was headed to the Auburn Regional in 2015?
A: “That was a fun moment. I am from the south, so it felt like I was getting the chance to go home. We are always in the Big Ten and I love that, but it is fun to have a new experience and go somewhere new. Going to the SEC with big arenas and great teams was different, but we loved that opportunity. That is where we wanted to be because it gave us a good shot.”
Q: How has hosting a regional motivated the team this year?
A: “It makes us feel like we are in charge. It is our home turf and we are the ones welcoming everyone here, but we are also here to defend ourselves. We get to feel comfortable on our own equipment and with our home crowd, so it is very special to have a regional at home.”
Q: How have the upperclassmen used their postseason experience to motivate the team?
A: “We try to tell them how fast it is all going to go by and how it will physically feel like the longest year of their lives. You have to be able to pace yourself. We have tried to help them learn when and where to use their energy so they can make it all the way through.
“When I had my individual experience, we took everything positive we could from it and brought it back to the team and said, ‘It was great, but we never want to do this again.’ So we decided to do whatever we needed to do to make sure we do it as one team because it is worth it. It isn’t fun to work with a team for a collective goal, lose it, and have to go by yourself. It was hard knowing that my team had to stay home and watch me from the sidelines. We have motivated them in that way.”
Q: As a senior, what would it mean to you to compete at regionals in front of the Hawkeye faithful inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena?
A: “It would mean everything to me. For that to be my last home meet would be more than I could ever ask for. So to be standing there with my team by my side, knowing that I had the four years leading up to it is truly an honor.”
The GymHawks continue their push to the postseason in Champaign, Illinois, on Saturday, Feb. 13 for a Big Ten Conference contest at No. 21 Illinois. The meet is set for 4 p.m. (CT) inside Huff Hall.