Hawkeyes Make 2017 Debut at Northern Illinois

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DEKALB, Illinois — The University of Iowa women’s gymnastics team posted a 194.200 to take second in its 2017 season opener on the road against Northern Illinois, Lindenwood, and Western Michigan on Sunday afternoon.

“We did some things great and some not so great, as to be expected,” said UI head coach Larissa Libby. “The last two events we could have done better in, but we still had a decent score. The potential with this team is there. In the big picture, I think where we could be the rest of the season from this point is unbelievable. We made mistakes and it happens. It was a good start, and now we go from here.”

Ten Hawkeyes saw team action inside the Convocation Center, with three seniors, three juniors, two sophomores, and two freshmen competing. Three GymHawks (Melissa Zurawski, Rose Piorkowski, and Clair Kaji) earned event titles and the team had five additional top-three individual finishes to highlight the competition.

“The freshman really stood out to me today,” said Libby. “It was their first meet out, and they were leading off a lot of rotations. They performed really well.

“I’m also really proud how Melissa Zurawski competed today. If she was competing in the all-around, she would have easily won the competition, but we decided to hold her out some events due to injuries. The level of gymnastics that she’s risen to from last season to this season is unbelievable.”

Iowa started the competition on beam, where they registered their highest event score of the day with a 48.975. Freshman Clair Kaji, senior Angel Metcalf, and senior Mollie Drenth paced the Hawkeyes in this event tied for second with scores of 9.825. Freshman Charlotte Sullivan and junior Nikki Youd followed with scores of 9.775 and 9.725, respectively.

The GymHawks moved to floor for the second rotation, where they recorded  a 48.800. Junior Melissa Zurawski won the event with a score of 9.825.  Metcalf and Drenth tallied scores of 9.775 and 9.725 to follow, while Kaji and Sullivan posted a 9.750 and a 9.675, respectively, in their Hawkeye debuts.

In the third rotation on vault, Iowa registered a 48.575. Sophomore Rose Piorkowski won the event to record a score of 9.775. Sullivan and Drenth finished closely behind, with  a 9.750 and a 9.725.

The Hawkeyes closed the day on bars with a team score of 47.850, Kaji took the event title with a score of 9.875. Zurawski and Sullivan registered scores of 9.775 and 9.700, respectively.

In the all-around, Sullivan took second place with a score of 38.900, while Drenth finished sixth with a 38.325.

The GymHawks finished in second with a total score of 194.200, while host Northern Illinois won the meet with 194.825. Western Michigan followed in third with a 193.025, and Lindenwood finished fourth with a 192.075.

Iowa opens its home slate against Michigan State on Friday, Jan. 13 at 7:00 p.m. (CT) inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.