BY: MADISON PETERSEN
IOWA CITY, Iowa – The University of Iowa No. 22 women’s gymnastics squad enters the 2017 season with over half of its team ready to compete on beam at any given point.
Iowa posted a team-high 49.375 on beam at No. 18 Ohio State last Saturday.
Iowa returns five GymHawks to its potential beam lineup this season: seniors Mollie Drenth, Angel Metcalf, Savannah Borman, Lexi Mura, and junior Nikki Youd.
Drenth has competed in every meet on beam so far this season. She posted a season high and tied her personal best with a 9.925 at Ohio State last Saturday to take first overall in the competition. The senior tied for third in the nation with a 9.9125 and earned All-American honors on beam at the NCAA Championships last season. She competed in 15 meets on beam in 2016 and earned first-place titles eight times. At the NCAA Regional Championships in Iowa City, she was the beam champion with a 9.900. The senior garnered a personal-best 9.925 on beam twice last season in meets against Nebraska and Iowa State. This performance tied the third best score in Iowa history and was the team’s individual season best in the event.
Metcalf has also been in the beam lineup for every meet this season. She registered a season best and tied her personal record with a score of 9.900 against Ohio State last Saturday. She tied for first overall on beam with a score of 9.825 against Michigan State on Jan. 13. The senior competed in every meet on beam last season and earned one event title. She tied the fourth highest beam score in Iowa history with a 9.900 at the Big Five Meet at Penn State on March 12, 2016. At the Big Ten Championship last season, she took 12th in the event.
Borman has started first in the beam lineup at all four meets this season. At Ohio State, she posted a season high of 9.750. The senior competed in twelve meets on beam last season and posted a personal-best 9.775 at the NCAA Regionals on April 2.
Youd has competed on beam in two meets this season and had a season-high 9.725 at Northern Illinois on Jan. 8. This is Youd’s third season on beam. The junior competed in nine meets on bars in 2016 and posted a personal-best 9.800 twice (against Iowa State and at the Big Five Meet).
Mura made her season debut on beam at Ohio State last Saturday, where she registered a career-high score of 9.850. She competed twice on beam last season and had a season high score of a 9.750 at the NCAA Regional Championships on April 2.
New Additions to the Lineup
Eight additional GymHawks are available to compete on beam.
Juniors Lanie Snyder and Jori Robertson and sophomores Sydney Hogan, Rose Piorkowski, Tessa Walsh, Misty-Jade Carlson, Maria Ortiz, and Nicole Chow have been working on their routines to prepare for lineup action.
Three freshmen have created beam routines, and two have performed for the Hawkeyes this season.
Charlotte Sullivan has competed in every meet on beam so far. She posted a season-best 9.825 at Ohio State last Saturday. The freshman comes to Iowa from a successful career on the New Zealand national team. She won the bronze medal on beam at the World Cup Event in Portugal in 2015, and won the New Zealand Nationals in 2012, 2013, 2012, 2010, and 2007.
Clair Kaji has also been in the beam lineup for every competition this season. She posted a season-high score of 9.875 against Ohio State on Saturday. The freshman also tied Metcalf for first overall on beam against Michigan State on Jan. 13. She tied for second on beam at the quad meet with a 9.825. The freshman comes to Iowa from a successful career on the Canadian national team. She took second on beam at the Western Canadian Championships in 2014 and was beam champion at the British Columbia Provincial Championships in 2015.
Bre Fitzke is prepared to make an appearance for the Hawkeyes. The freshman is originally from West Allis, Wis., and qualified for regionals in 2013, 2014, and 2015. She took fifth overall on beam at the regional competition in 2013.
The beam team and the rest of the GymHawks return to action on Sunday against Big Ten foe Maryland at 2:00 p.m. (CT) inside Carver Hawkeye Arena.