March 16, 2016
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — After posting a season-high 196.650 team score at the Big Five Meet on March 12 and falling just short of qualifying for the evening session of the Big Ten Championships, the University of Iowa women’s gymnastics team is more motivated than ever to pull out a come-from-behind win from the morning session.
“I think they were very disappointed to have hit a meet and it still not be good enough,” said UI head coach Larissa Libby. “To miss qualifying for the night session by such a tiny margin is devastating but in the Big Ten, every team is good. When you step on the competition floor you have to be at your best and we weren’t.”
While the GymHawks were disappointed with the result in the moment, the dispiritedness turned into a realization of potential.
“They completely acknowledged that there were things we could have done that would have solidified us going in to the night session,” said Libby. “We realized that we have to raise our game if we want to be the best. We have to go back and focus on the smallest of details in order to achieve a different result. The effort they have been putting in every day since that moment has been outstanding”
This self-awareness as a team is what Libby attributes the team’s continued success to.
“The best thing about this team is that they are willing to talk about the things that went wrong,” said Libby. “They listen and figure things out so they can make sure it doesn’t happen again. They are so open to changes and what will make them better. Not a lot of teams, or girls, are comfortable with those kinds of conversation. We have put a concerted effort into the quality of what we do. We know that we are good enough.”
While the morning session was not the goal for the GymHawks, there is comfort in competing in a familiar setting.
“We have had this experience before,” said Libby. “I think the point we are trying to drive home now is that nothing is new. We experienced what it was like in the morning last season and we were quite successful.”
The GymHawks have also benefitted from a lighter schedule due to spring break.
“We have upped our practices because we are on spring break,” said Libby. “We have more time to work on details and the quality of what we are doing. We have concentrated our efforts on the accountability of each person not giving away little details and we are focused on a higher standard of what we are capable of doing.
“We are using the extra time to recover in the training room and to relax with their team. They are excited. They just want to get back on the floor and show everyone that the team we were at Big Fives was just a fraction of the team we are capable of being.”
For the GymHawks, the Big Ten Championship is won by knowing they are capable of doing it.
“At this point, the most important aspect of our training is our belief system and what we believe we are capable of accomplishing,” said Libby. “Right now, I have 22 athletes that know it’s possible to win from the morning session. Why? Because it has been done before. Everything seems impossible until it is achieved.
“Our team believes that we are capable. Will that be enough, we don’t know. We will do everything within our control to demonstrate that we are a team worth taking seriously. That is what we are focused on and hopefully that will be enough to prove that we deserve to be recognized with the very best.”