April 15, 2016
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FORT WORTH, Texas — University of Iowa gymnast Mollie Drenth represented the Hawkeyes at the 2016 NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships in the second of two sessions Friday evening. The Hawkeye standout competed as an individual all-arounder on the largest stage in NCAA women’s gymnastics.
“I don’t think the season could have ended a better way for Mollie,” said UI head coach Larissa Libby. “I know that she is upset that she fell but she represented our program with such class and a high level of gymnastics. She did her job. She came out here and put Iowa on the map.”
Oklahoma won the second session with a mark of 197.7875. Alabama (197.3875) placed second while UCLA (196.700) finished third. The event — hosted by Texas Woman’s University and the Knight Eady Sports Group — took place inside the Fort Worth Convention Center.
Drenth — Iowa’s first NCAA Championship qualifier since 2011 — started the night on beam, where she posted the highest score of the rotation. The junior’s efforts earned her a 9.9125 and a third place finish overall. Drenth’s beam score also earned her First Team All-America honors on beam — Iowa’s first honor since Alexis Maday in 2004.
Following a bye, Drenth moved to floor and vault, where she earned a 9.8250 and 9.7750, respectively. The junior capped the night on bars where she earned an 8.9625. Drenth finished 13th in the all-around with a total of 38.4750.
“You can’t be perfect your first time out,” said Libby. “She has never been in this setting and yet I thought she fit in with the best perfectly. Sometimes you learn more from mistakes than you do from a perfect routine.
“It was thrilling from start to finish. She has come a long way since her freshman year and she has more in her.”
Drenth helped lead the GymHawks to one of the most impressive seasons in program history. Iowa finished its regular season ranked 19th in the country and went into the NCAA Iowa City Regional seeded fourth, Libby’s ninth regional appearance in 12 seasons. In the 2016 season alone, Drenth collected a total of 19 titles during the 2016 season, including eight beam titles, seven in the all-around, three on vault, and one on floor.
The junior collected five all-around event titles in five consecutive weeks from January 23 to February 20. The Riverview, Florida, native captured Iowa’s season high scores on vault (9.950), beam (9.925), and in the all-around (39.475).