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GymHawks fall to Cyclones

BY ROBBIE LEHMAN | FEBRUARY 22, 2010 7:30 AM

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In Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday afternoon, the Iowa gymnastics team competed harder than it had all season by head coach Larissa Libby’s standards.

Unfortunately for the Hawkeyes, it still was not enough.

Iowa fell to No. 15 Iowa State, 194.475-193.825. While the GymHawks were excited about their strong performances, the defeat proved to be bitter.

“I felt like it was the first time they showed up as competitive,” Libby said. “For me, the most disappointing aspect is that while Iowa State is a fantastic team, I don’t feel like they beat us today. I feel like we beat ourselves. In my opinion, that’s the worst thing that you could possibly do.”

The Hawkeyes bested their average scores in all four events, and an Iowa gymnast also placed first in each event.

However, falls by veterans Houry Gebeshian (balance beam) and Rebecca Simbhudas (bars), as well as a blunder by freshman Kaitlynn Urano (bars) proved to be costly.

Sophomore Jessa Hansen narrowly missed capturing the all-around title, placing second with a 38.875 score. Iowa State’s Michelle Browning took first with a 38.900 total.

Iowa also entered the day trailing in the overall Cy-Hawk Series, 12-7. Despite the Iowa women’s tennis team shutting out the Cyclones, 7-0, on Sunday, Iowa State clinched the Cy-Hawk Series championship with the victory in gymnastics.

Freshman GymHawk Emma Stevenson said she was disheartened by the loss.

“We don’t really try to think about who we’re against, because it doesn’t matter,” she said. “We have a job to do. It shouldn’t matter who we’re competing against. We still have to do what we have to do.”

Stevenson was encouraged by her team’s confidence, though, and agreed with Libby that Iowa gave its best shot.

“We did make mistakes, but we didn’t lose by a lot,” Stevenson said. “Just because they’re ranked 15th and we’re 33rd doesn’t mean anything. We’re good competition, and we held ourselves really well out there.”

Simbhudas rebounded from her fall in the bars to place first overall in both the vault (9.800) and the beam (9.825). Gebeshian recorded the meet’s highest uneven bars score with a 9.825.

Hansen then finished the Hawkeye sweep by taking first in the floor exercise with a 9.825 score as well.

But there was some frustration on the side of the Hawkeyes with certain scores.

“I think we did what we had to do. The judges just didn’t give us the scores,” Simbhudas said. “I think everyone did her job, and I’m really happy about it.”

Iowa had only itself to blame, however. Libby said there were several positive things to build on during the meet, but she noted that Iowa is running out of time as the postseason creeps closer.

While the Hawkeyes signed autographs for a horde of Girl Scouts and fans an hour after the meet, Stevenson put the loss into perspective.

“We work really hard, and it kind of stinks when we don’t win,” she said. “But it’s also not about winning every time. It’s about what we can do as a team and how we progress throughout the season. I think we’re getting there."


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