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Sports Briefs

BY DI SPORTS STAFF | MARCH 13, 2009 7:30 AM

GymHawks go on the road

After closing out its home slate with the highest point total of the season, the Iowa women’s gymnastics team will look to continue its success on the road.

The 25th-ranked GymHawks (10-4, 2-1) will travel to No. 17 Minnesota (7-7) to wrap up its regular season.

Iowa is coming off a 196.525-194.875 victory over Kentucky with 23 of 24 performances scoring more than 9.600.

The GymHawks will be led by Big Ten Gymnast of the Week and senior Jenifer Simbhudas.

She received the honor after setting a personal-best in the all-around with a 39.525 against Kentucky, eighth highest all-time for Iowa. She scored 9.825 on the bars, 9.875 on the balance beam, 9.900 on the vault, and 9.925 on the floor exercise.

Sophomores Rebecca Simbhudas and Houry Gebeshian are also expecting to play a big role for the team; Rebecca Simbhudas finished second (39.400) in the all-around with Gebeshian in third (39.175).

Iowa will then head to Illinois to compete in the Big Ten championships on March 21.

— by Evelyn Lau

Baseball off to Kentucky, Tennessee

The Iowa baseball team will travel to Louisville to take on the 25th-ranked Louisville Cardinals in a three-game set starting Saturday. The series will continue through March 16.

Following that, and because they’re in the area, the Hawkeyes (2-7) will travel to Martin, Tenn., to take on Tennessee-Martin (4-3) on March 18, then play a rematch against Austin Peay (5-6) in Clarksville, Tenn., on March 19. The Hawkeyes dropped two of three against the Governors in their first three-game series on March 6-8.

“I am really looking forward to playing a lot of games this coming week,” Iowa head coach Jack Dahm said in a release. “The more we play, the more I think our confidence will come back. Playing five games in a week will be a good thing for us; we will get into a rhythm, finally. It is so tough to play three days of competition, then have four off. I hope our spring trip gets us back to playing some solid baseball.”

Upon return from its five game road trip, Iowa will host its first home game of the year with a double-header against Western Illinois on March 21. Immediately following the double-header, the teams will travel to Macomb, Ill., for the third and final game of the series on March 22.

— by Jeff Pawola

Women’s golf hopes to rebound

The Iowa women’s golf team will try to bounce back from a disappointing start to the spring season when it travels to Waco, Texas, next week to compete in the Baylor Spring Invitational.

The tournament will be played at Twin Rivers Golf Club, a 6,347-yard par-72 course, with 36 holes on March 16 and 18 holes on March 17.

“Two tournaments in a row should be good for us,” Iowa head coach Kelly Crawford said. “We played better our last two rounds this past week, and I expect us to keep that momentum going.”

Iowa will send seniors Tyrette Metzendorf and Becky Quinby, junior Alison Cavanaugh, sophomores Brianna Coopman and Laura Cilek, and freshman Chelsea Harris.

The tournament will be the second for the Hawkeyes this spring.

— by Peter Gustin

Men’s gymnastics heads to West Point

On Saturday, the Iowa men’s gymnastics team will compete in West Point, N.Y., against Springfield College, William & Mary, and host U.S. Military Academy. Iowa will be looking to capture its first win of the season in a meet involving more than two teams.

Ranked 11th nationally, the Hawkeyes will enter the quadrangle meet as its highest-ranked team in GymInfo’s weekly poll. William & Mary is ranked 13th, Springfield is 16th, and the U.S. Military Academy is ranked 18th.

Looking to lead Iowa will be senior Geoff Reins, who is coming off first-place finishes on both the vault and floor exercise against Illinois on Feb. 28 in Champaign. Those victories earned Reins Co-Big Ten Gymnast of the Week honors last week, with Penn State’s senior all-arounder Casey Sandy. The Hawkeyes fell to the Illini, 353.00-337.50.

The meet is slated for a 5 p.m. start in Christl Arena and will be Iowa’s final competition before the Big Ten championships on April 3 and 4 in Ann Arbor, Mich.

— by Jordan Garretson

Rowers face Badgers in Texas

The Iowa rowing team will open its spring season this weekend with a scrimmage against Wisconsin in Austin, Texas, beginning Saturday.

The event will be the Hawkeyes’ first chance to compete since the Rivanna Romp in November 2008.

Iowa head coach Mandi Kowal will prepare her team for a tough spring schedule that has the team heading to San Diego for the Crew Classic and then to a meet against Michigan and Michigan State before competing at the Big Ten championships in Columbus, Ohio.

This weekend’s scrimmage will serve as a warm-up for the women to get back into the stroke of things before returning to Austin next week for the Longhorn Invitational.

— by Jake Krzeczowski

Men’s tennis wins in Arizona

The Iowa men’s tennis traveled to Arizona for its annual spring trip to compete against Northern Arizona, Arizona, and Cal Poly. However once the Hawkeyes arrived in Phoenix on Wednesday, they were notified that Cal Poly would be unable to make the journey to Tucson for the March 16 dual meet.

Forced to find another team to play while in Arizona, the Hawkeyes arranged to compete against the Scottsdale Community College tennis squad Thursday. Playing on outdoor courts for this first time this spring season, Iowa won, 5-2, against the Fighting Artichokes.

“It was a pretty good performance for first time outdoors,” Iowa head coach Steve Houghton said. “We’ll have to get better for the match [today] and for the one on [March against Arizona].”

Iowa (7-1) continued its superior doubles play — No. 2 pair Greg Holm and Reinoud Haal won, 8-2, and No. 3 Tommy McGeorge and Will Vasos defeated their opponents, 8-4. Iowa’s top doubles pair Christian Bierich and Nikita Zotov, ranked No. 31 nationally, won their doubles match against Javier Millan and Sean O’Grady, 8-6.

Bierich and Zotov, however, struggled during their singles matches. Bierich was defeated (7-6, 6-4) while playing on the outdoor courts. Zotov won the first set before falling in three sets.
Iowa will play Northern Arizona (2-10) today at 1 p.m.

— by Amie Kiehn

Softball off to Florida

The Iowa softball team will travel to DeLand, Fla., today to compete in the Stetson Classic. The Hawkeyes (16-4) have been impressive lately, winning 10 of 11 going into the weekend. Iowa has outscored opponents 56-6 in that stretch.

As expected, senior Brittany Weil and junior Amanda Zust have been stellar presences in the pitcher’s circle after combining for the seventh-best ERA in the country a year ago. The duo boasts a 1.08 ERA through 20 games this season, thanks in large part to a 51-inning streak without allowing a run spanning eight games.

That streak — the second longest in school history — was snapped at the hands of No. 4 UCLA in extra innings at last weekend’s Long Beach Tournament.

Senior Erin Riemersma leads the Hawkeyes with a .344 batting average. Freshman Liz Watkins is tops in home runs (3) and shares the RBI lead (13) with senior Colleen McGlaughlin.

Iowa will remain in Florida for nine games over the next week. The team will return to Iowa City for the first home double-header of the year, March 22 against South Dakota.

— by Jon Linder


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