BY: MADISON PETERSEN
IOWA CITY, Iowa – The No. 22 University of Iowa women’s gymnastics team recorded its third consecutive conference win as it defeated Maryland, 195.975-193.800, on Saturday afternoon inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“Winning tonight was awesome,” said UI head coach Larissa Libby. “The conference is so strong right now, from top to bottom, so we’re really excited about that. Being undefeated in the Big Ten is a hard thing to do, and it is always a good feeling.”
The competition was highlighted by eight event titles and four new season best scores.
In the all-around, freshman Charlotte Sullivan took first with a total of 38.775. Senior Mollie Drenth followed in second with a score of 38.725, while senior Angel Metcalf finished third with a score of 38.275.
The Hawkeyes recorded a season high on uneven bars with a score of 49.325. Sullivan, Metcalf, and junior Melissa Zurawski tied for the event title, as each posted career highs of 9.925.
“It was really exciting to find out that we all recorded great scores,” said Metcalf. “Any way that I can help my team is definitely a win at the end of the day.”
Iowa registered a team score of 48.975 on vault. Drenth led the GymHawks in the event. She earned a season-high 9.875 for first place overall. Zurawski followed in second with a score of 9.850, while sophomore Rose Piorkowski finished third with a 9.800.
On beam, Iowa recorded an event total of 48.850. Metcalf and senior Lexi Mura paced the squad with scores of 9.825 to tie for first. Senior Savannah Borman followed in third with a 9.750.
The Hawkeyes’ team score stood at 147.150 entering the final rotation, while Maryland stood at 144.975. Iowa closed the night on floor with a team score of 48.825. Freshman Clair Kaji posted a 9.900 for a first-place result. Zurawski followed with a score of 9.875 for runner-up.
“Just the experience of having my teammates around to support me is amazing,” said Kaji. “Gaining momentum throughout the season and building confidence from team has really helped me to improve my gymnastics.”
The GymHawks hit the road next week to face Big Ten foe No. 12 Nebraska on Sunday, Feb. 5 in Lincoln, Nebraska, at 1:00 p.m. (CT).
“The next two meets for us are going to be extremely difficult,” said Libby. “We’re really evenly matched against Nebraska, even though it doesn’t show in the rankings. Nebraska is very skilled and well coached. However, we are so talented, and the potential for what we could be is pretty exciting.”