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GymHawk seniors say goodbye to the Field House

BY MOLLY IRENE OLMSTEAD | MARCH 04, 2011 7:20 AM

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The seniors on the Iowa women’s gymnastics team will say goodbye to the Field House during the Senior Night meet against Northern Illinois at 5 p.m. Saturday. The GymHawks remain undefeated at home, but the Hawkeyes aren’t focusing on their record going into the meet.

The No. 16 GymHawks are focusing, as they have all season, on continuing to raise their team score. After consistently scoring in the 195-point range, the team members are happy with where they are, and they hope to maintain that momentum, head coach Larissa Libby said.

Seniors Houry Gebeshian, Andrea Hurlburt, Rebecca Simbhudas, and Arielle Sucich will be recognized after the meet for the four years they have competed wearing the Black and Gold.

Despite the ceremony, the GymHawks are treating the meet against the Huskies as “just another meet,” Simbhudas said.

“I don’t think I’m treating this weekend any different than any of the other meets,” Sucich said. “We all have to go out there, and do our normal things, and think about that until after the meet. I think once it’s over, it’ll become something else and something special.”



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Gebeshian, too, isn’t focusing on the Senior Night aspect — she aims to hit her routines. A returning Big Ten champion on beam, she has struggled on the apparatus throughout the season.

“I’m a senior, and I’ve let myself and my team down all year, so I need to pick it up now because there’s not much time left,” she said.

Until this year, the GymHawks competed in Carver-Hawkeye. After the change of venue, many of the gymnasts don’t consider the competition arena in the Field House main deck to be their true home.

Hurlburt, however, has emotional ties to the Field House that will make it hard to say goodbye. Hailing from Waterloo, she started competing in club meets at the Field House when she was 9.

Competing in the Field House one last time will attest to how much the beam and floor gymnast has grown up.

“I’m really excited to have the opportunity to just have fun and show off and smile,” Hurlburt said. “I’ve always been a little bit shy about showing off my gymnastics, and competing on floor this year has helped that, so I’m looking forward to the last time of competing in a place that’s so comfortable to me.”

As the GymHawks move closer to the conference championships, which will be held on March 19 in Minneapolis, Libby prepares to say goodbye to the senior class.

“This is the class that has seen it all with us, bad and good, and has stuck with us to really take this program to the next level,” she said. “This is the class that we made the change with, that has made a difference. It’s going to be rough to let them go.”

Libby bases her coaching philosophy on helping gymnasts to see the “big picture,” she said. During their years at Iowa, she hopes to instill life values in her gymnasts that will last, and this year’s senior class has demonstrated her philosophy perfectly.

“They finally, finally, finally have gotten it,” she said. “They get the big picture. They get what they’re supposed to do, they get who they’re supposed to be, and what they are and how great they are.”


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