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GymHawks look towards Michigan

BY MATT CABEL | FEBRUARY 01, 2013 5:00 AM

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Rankings don’t faze the Iowa women’s gymnastics team.

Going into the team’s meet against No. 3 Michigan on Saturday, the gymnasts will use the same mindset.

“Every opponent that we see, whether they’re 56th or first, the objective is to destroy them,” head coach Larissa Libby said.

While the GymHawks have only placed first in one of their three meets, the mindset is paying off. The team beat Rutgers and upset then-No. 22 Pittsburgh in a quad meet last weekend and earned second place with a score of 195.325 to Penn State’s 195.500.

The squad also came close to winning its meet against Ohio State, which was ranked 21st at the time. Libby stated that the team is tired of going into meets considered the underdog.

“They want to be taken as a threat, they want to be seen as a threat, and they should be,” she said. “They’ve put themselves in a good position for that.”

Despite the lack of first-place finishes, the team has improved its scores by about a point per meet. And the Hawks expect the trend to continue this weekend. After close finishes in all of their meets, the GymHawks are working on small details in preparation.

“We’re trying to fix the things we made mistakes on last weekend,” senior Emma Stevenson said. “Clearly we had a much better meet, a lot more consistency, which is awesome, what we’ve been working at — mainly just the little things: hand stands, landings, dance, stuff like that.”

Saturday’s contest will be the third away meet in a row for the GymHawks; they will return to Carver-Hawkeye Arena next Friday night. Stevenson believes that the gymnasts bond the most when they travel. She thinks that the confidence the team has gained over the last two weeks will transfer to this weekend.

“We’ve taken the road as sort of fun, trying to have fun with every place we go,” freshman Alie Glover said.

The GymHawks have improved the most on the balance beam. The team raised its score by more than a point between the Ohio State and Penn State meets, from a 47.65 to 48.95. Stevenson believes the team is capable of beating the higher-ranked team, noting that the Hawks beat Michigan during her sophomore year.

“The rankings thus far still don’t that much to me,” Stevenson said. “I feel like a lot of teams are coming into their own; people could start all the sudden showing up later in the second. Maybe they’re ranked first after four meets, but tell me how they are 10 meets from now. That’s when I’ll really be impressed. It’s anyone’s game this week, regardless of the rankings.”


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