GymHawks Set for Big 5 Meet

March 9, 2016

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — The 18th-ranked University of Iowa women’s gymnastics team is not exempt from the madness of March, with three high-profile competitions and the start of the championship season on the horizon.


“It is a difficult time because everything goes quickly during the last stretch of the season,” said UI head coach Larissa Libby. “I think Iowa State is a great preparation for the Big Five Meets because of that loud, fanatical experience. We are getting more accustomed to being in that kind of an arena.”

While the turnover time for meets is short, the GymHawks find refuge in the extra time spring break provides.

“A good thing for us is that Big Ten Championships fall on spring break,” said Libby. “It will be a good time to get a break from school, exams, and actually physically rest. These next few meets will be tough both mentally and physically. So it is packaged quite nicely.”

Despite the stressful schedule, the Hawkeyes make time to prepare themselves mentally for the physical grind of the postseason each week. One lesson in particular has resonated for the Hawkeyes. Each student-athlete draws a green dot on their left hand.

“The dot is a way to center them, keep them grounded, and focused on themselves,” said Libby. “The best part is that they pulled this out of the lesson on their own. It was a part of the lesson, but we never told them to do it. They found it, they put it on their hands, and they are the ones working it into their competitive situations. I am quite impressed with them for that.

“It is also a little reminder for when any girl gets into a little bit of trouble out on the floor. All they have to do is look at that little green dot and it serves as a reminder to always be on the attack, to never back off regardless of what happens. If you make a mistake or something went wrong out there, they just look at their dot and the whole lesson comes back.”

Instead of setting goals for the season, the GymHawks have distinguished themselves as a mission based team. Their mission? To be respected and considered a legitimate contender.

“I don’t know if it is because we are in the middle of the country or what, but we have never really been seen as a threat,” said Libby. “I want people to take them seriously. They work just as hard, if not harder, as everyone else. They are as talented as all the other teams out there.

“They do everything they can to make sure everyone feels comfortable, confident, and ready to go. They are in a great place right now. To this point, they have done everything they have been asked and more. So they have already won.”

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