IOWA CITY, IOWA — The No. 22 University of Iowa women’s gymnastics team is set for two competitions this weekend as it heads to a five-team meet at No. 20 George Washington on Friday at 6 p.m. (CT) before traveling to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to face No. 2 LSU and George Washington on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. In addition to host George Washington, Iowa will take on Pittsburgh, Maryland, and William & Mary in Washington D.C. on Friday.
“The team has been working hard in practice this week to prepare to compete twice this weekend,” said UI head coach Larissa Libby. “I think they are in a good place. After this past weekend, I think they understand who they are, what they are capable, and where they need to be.”
The Hawkeyes enter the weekend with an overall record of 6-3 and a 4-1 mark in conference play. The team registered their fourth conference win last Saturday in a tri-meet against No. 21 Illinois and UIC. Iowa recorded a season-high 196.475 to finish first. Illinois followed in second with a score of 196.050, while UIC finished third with a score of 192.625. Iowa is currently tied for first in the Big Ten Conference with Michigan and Nebraska.
“My expectation is always to win,” said Libby. “However, there are different things that we define as winning. If we had lost last Saturday, I still would have considered it a win, because there were so many things that were done right. So, for us, it needs to be a win in our column, not necessarily a W.
“Wins and losses don’t matter in gymnastics. We could lose every single meet and still get to the national championship. As long as we’re turning out performances that will put us in the 196 score range, it’s a win. That’s where we need to be to return to the first round of the national championship again this year, and that is the big picture focus.”
Iowa registered a season-high 49.075 on vault against No. 21 Illinois and UIC. Sophomore Rose Piorkowski won the event title on vault with a career-high 9.875, Angel Metcalf took first on beam with a career-high 9.925 and freshman Charlotte Sullivan earned her second uneven bars title of the season with a score of 9.850.
Iowa is ranked No. 22 nationally with a 195.489 scoring average. The GymHawks rank in the top 25 in every event. They are ranked 18th on beam (48.846 scoring average), 19th on bars (48.864), 19th on floor (48.957), and 24th on vault (48.821).
George Washington is ranked No. 20 nationally with a 195.613 scoring average and a 12-2 overall record. The Colonials registered their first losses of the season when they fell to Missouri and Iowa State at the Mizzou Quad Meet on Feb. 10.
Maryland ranks 41st with a 194.250 scoring average and 4-6 overall season record. Maryland finished first at the Rutgers Quad Meet with a score of 195.050 last Saturday.
Pittsburgh ranks 50th nationally with a 194.075 scoring average and a 4-6 overall record, while William & Mary ranks 63 nationally with a 190.177 scoring average and a 1-8 overall record. Both teams competed at the North Carolina State Quad Meet last Saturday, where Pittsburgh took third (194.075) and William & Mary took fourth (193.025).
LSU ranks No. 2 in the nation with a 197.759 scoring average. They defeated No. 23 Arkansas last Saturday, 197.700-196.325, for their sixth consecutive win this season. The Tigers are ranked inside the top-4 for every event. They rank second beam (49.900 scoring average), second on floor (49.483), third on vault (49.363), and fourth on uneven bars (49.333).
Fans can follow the GymHawks on the road as they travel to George Washington on Friday and to LSU on Sunday through live stats on hawkeyesports.com. Fans can also follow @IowaGymnastics on Twitter and Instagram or on Facebook Live at facebook.com/iowagymnastics.