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Injured GymHawks keep positive mindset

BY ROBBIE LEHMAN | APRIL 28, 2010 7:30 AM

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During every practice last season, Iowa gymnasts flipped, swung, and vaulted their bodies through the air in the Field House gym.

But in a season filled with breakout performances, three Hawkeyes had their training time cut short.

Toiling alongside their teammates throughout the year, junior Kelly Galau and sophomores Rachel Corcoran and Jennie Schurman didn’t tweak their routines. They rehabbed their respective injuries, a task that afforded a different vantage point on Iowa’s 2009-10 season.

“You notice a lot more when you’re out than on the floor and competing by yourself,” Corcoran said. “You see a lot more. You start to realize things that the coaches talk about and what they really see from their perspective.”

Sitting out wasn’t an easy thing to do, Galau said, but it yielded a few positives.

“It’s definitely difficult when you watch your teammates do everything that you want to do,” Galau said. “It’s hard to see them struggling in aspects that you know if you weren’t hurt, you could help them out with.

“But it’s been also rewarding because you know that everyone’s still there for you. When you get hurt, you can really see how much people care about you and how much you really do matter.”

Corcoran went down early in the season, tearing her ACL in a home loss to Illinois on Jan. 30 during her floor routine. A week later, Galau tore her meniscus on vault during Iowa’s home win over Ohio State.

Schurman’s year was entirely lost after she strained her Achilles tendon while tumbling in a floor routine in a preseason workout.

But while the trio nursed their injuries with the help of team trainer Jon Fravel and UI sports medicine physical therapist Mike Shaffer, they became closer, motivating each other with an optimistic approach.

“I feel like we’ve kind of formed a special bond because we’re all kind of in the same boat, going through the same thing,” Schurman said.

Not having the three gymnasts in the lineup proved to be an obstacle for head coach Larissa Libby, and the Hawkeyes struggled to find their groove early on because of the depleted roster.

“They were definitely key competitors in our lineup,” junior Houry Gebeshian said. “We needed them, but they’re pretty supportive outside the gym. They were really disappointed to be out and not able to help us, but they did everything in their power to keep us motivated. It was great that they were still here to help us out when we needed them, even though they couldn’t actually be in the lineups for us.”

Losing the trio meant losing six routines, minimum. The wounded Hawkeyes were disappointed, but their positive attitude never vanished.

“[They] have remained in the gym every day, fighting and staying focused on the most important thing at the time, which was the team,” Libby said. “That’s never a question for them. Next year, it will be helpful [to have them back].”


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