Feb. 13, 2016
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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Eighteen top five finishes lifted the University of Iowa women’s gymnastics team over 21st-ranked Illinois, 196.275-195.125, inside Huff Hall Saturday. The win marks the first time the Hawkeyes have topped Illinois in Champaign since Jan. 24, 2009.
“I am elated,” said UI head coach Larissa Libby. “This was hard. We are now in crunch time. The girls had a lot of exams this week, and we are just coming off a big win over Nebraska. It takes a lot out of you. They are beat up and tired right now, mentally more than physically.”
Nine GymHawks earned a total of 18 top-five finishes to highlight the competition. Leading the pack was junior Mollie Drenth who finished at the top of the podium on beam (9.875) and all-around (39.300), third on vault (9.800), and fifth on bars (9.800) and floor (9.825). Drenth claimed the all-around title for the sixth consecutive meet.
Iowa started the night on bars, posting a 49.125. Senior Johanny Sotillo led the GymHawks, posting a career-high 9.900 to take first place overall. Junior Lexi Mura followed her teammate, earning a 9.850 for second place overall.
Freshman Rose Piorkowski led the charge on vault for the Hawkeyes, posting a 9.875 to earn a first place result. Senior Alie Glover added a 9.825 for second place to give the Hawkeyes an event total of 49.000.
Iowa closed the night on beam with a season-high team score of 49.125. Juniors Angel Metcalf and Drenth led the Hawkeyes, tying for first place after each earning a 9.875. Sotillo followed closely behind her teammates, tallying a 9.850 and taking third place overall.
“We came in knowing that Illinois was a fantastic team,” said Libby. “They go to nationals every year. It is always a big rivalry between our teams and an exciting one. It is always hard. So to come out on top knowing that the girls were struggling is incredible.”
The GymHawks return to Carver-Hawkeye Arena for their final home contest of the season against Towson on Feb. 20. The meet is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. (CT). The meet will serve as the annual Pink Meet and Senior Night for Alie Glover and Opua Calucag. Iowa will honor the seniors with highlight videos following the conclusion of the meet.